Vista icon

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Icons in Windows Vista

What is a Windows Vista icon?

August 15th 2005, updated on September 8th 2005

This article pinpoints the differences between Windows Vista icons and Windows XP icons and explains how did Microsoft extend the .ICO file format.

This article is based on observations made while working with Windows Vista and Windows 7. There is no difference between Vista and Win7 icons from the technical point of view.

To understand this article you should already be familiar with Windows XP icon format .

Windows Vista Explorer

Explorer in Windows Vista has a new ability - it can zoom the displayed items in and out. The zoom factor is set using a slider (on the panel in upper left corner) and it is continuous.

Explorer makes use of high-resolution 256x256 icons if they are available. The following screenshot of Windows Explorer shows, that Microsoft already created high-resolution version of several icons (Folder, My Computer, Network, and more. ). This ability is not limited to system icons as demonstrated by a custom 'example-vista-icon' in the lower row.

Slider on the panel in left upper corner controls zoom factor.

Icon format changes in Vista

The ability to put 256x256 image inside an icon is not new. It was possible in XP and even in previous systems. The problem is that an icon with all 12 formats would occupy more than 400kB on disk. This is considerably more than a

25kB for a complete Windows XP icon. This problem was solved by extending the icon format.

The breaking change in Vista icons is that images in icon may be stored as PNGs. With PNG compression, the size of an icon is reduced and because PNG is loss-less and supports 8bit alpha channel, the quality of icon is not lowered.

Truecolor versions of default folder icon from Vista.

The icon contains 12 formats: 16x16, 32x32, 48x48 and 256x256 pixels, all in 16M, 256 and 16 colors.

Large versions are compressed in Vista.

Only the large images are compressed in current Vista icons. Our experiments show, that Vista will gladly accept an icon with all images compressed, but this icon would be unreadable in Windows XP or previous.

For our experiments, I have prepared an icon that mimics the format of Vista icons. That is, it has 12 images ranging from 16x16 to 256x256 pixels in all color depths. Large images are compressed. You may download this icon from the icon gallery.

Editing Vista icons

At the time of writing this article, none of the major icon editors understands Vista icon format. This is no surprise as the format differs considerably.

We have prepared a special edition of RealWorld Icon Editor that fully supports Vista icons. This world-first Vista icon editor can open, extract, modify and save Vista icons. It is also possible to save the icons without compression for full compatibility with Windows XP.

Vista Icon:

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    Vista Drive Icon Download

    A simple and easy to use software utility designed to help users replace the standard drive icons of their operating system with a Vista-like display

    In case you're still using Windows XP with its default appearance, chances are some interface customizations could come in handy to refresh the looks of this classical operating system.

    If the glass and see-through effects don't really appeal to you, there's a more subtle modification you can try by changing the drive icons shown in My Computer. For this purpose you need a dedicated tool to get the job done hassle-free.

    Such an application is the one that goes by the name of Vista Drive Icon and will help you replace the traditional drive icons with more modern ones, inspired by the Windows iteration that came right after XP, namely Vista.

    In case you're wondering, these icons bring more than a mere visual improvement as they also show the free space available on each drive. This is done with the help of a bar placed underneath each icon, which displays the occupied space in blue and the available space in white.

    Vista Drive Icon replaces the old icons with the new ones automatically, so you just have to run the executable file and that's basically it. As always, it's better to create a restore point or make a backup before playing with the app, just to stay on the safe side.

    All things considered, if you want to bring something new and practical in your Windows XP without making changes in vital area of the system, you may want to start by adding Vista's drive icons with this easy to use application.

    CURRENT VERSION: FILE SIZE: 135 KB DEVELOPER: Artarmin RUNS ON: Windows All CATEGORY: C: \ Desktop Enhancements \ Icons Related

    Vista Icons - Introducing Vista Icons - How to create Vista Icons

    This article provides information on the following topics:

    Microsoft Windows Vista™ include many new features and enhancements. The most visible evolution will be the new Graphical User Interface (GUI). A first look at Aero™ (the name of the Windows Vista™ user interface) reveals a slicker interface with sharper graphics.

    But the changes are not only visual. Aero has been designed to comply with computer technology that will be delivered over the next decade. Many new features have been implemented in Aero to support the hardware changes to come.

    Windows Vista™ - A Resolution-Independent User Interface

    One of the most important enhancements of Aero is its ability to deal with the high-resolution displays of the future, and that feature a resolution-independent UI. At present, monitors generally have a resolution of 96-DPI (dots/pixels per inch). Simply put, 48x48 icons are displayed on screen in a half-inch square.

    Future LCD screens however will support resolutions up to 192 DPI. Therefore, to be displayed at the same size without quality loss, icons must include much larger images. That's the reason why Windows Vista™ introduces a new standard for Windows? icon size: 256x256 pixels.

    The screenshot below shows the Windows Vista™ File Explorer displaying icons using the maximum resolution available: 256x256. Of course the result seems a bit "large" on a 96-DPI screen, but keep in mind that this technology has been designed for future screens. The icon files have been created with Axialis IconWorkshop™.

    Windows Vista™ displaying 256x256 icons

    An additional option will permit you to display icons at smaller sizes more attune to medium-res screens (say 120-DPI) screens. In such cases Aero uses the 256x256 image and shrinks it the desired size without any quality-loss. The result looks really slick with real-time zoom!

    Windows Vista™ 256x256 PNG Compressed Icons

    Microsoft Windows Vista™ comes with a new format of icons supporting PNG compression and sizes up to 256x256. The standard Windows Vista™ icons now includes the following image formats (grayed formats are optional):

    Vista Icons packs

    Vista Icons packs (1 sets) Benefits of Using Vista Icons.

    Iconki.com features a wide array of Vista toolbar icons. With a variety of sizes, they provide high-end visual icons in a number of categories. From folder to application images, the icons are visually stunning and will enhance any toolbar.

    Iconki.com is a great website to browse and download toolbar icons. Available in a number of styles, these toolbar icons are essential in establishing a strong web presence. From sites to blogging forums, they offer professional impressions with a touch of class. The Vista toolbar icons also emphasize style, which consists of high-end visuals and full functionality. When developing an online venue, download icons that will showcase top-notch symbols. This will generate more hits, while allowing visitors to effectively navigate the site. The proper icon sets can market your products and services in an efficient manner. In addition, high-quality toolbar icons can also enable quicker searches and full range browsing.

    The Vista icon design bar facilitates a wide array of formats. From ICO and PNG to BMP and GIF, it's the perfect way to modify and create icon designs. The icon sets are available for download, and is compatible with Windows seven icons. The icon package also offers multiple sets, or individual purchases at $5 per icon. This is a unique way to integrate Vista style icons into your website. From business to creative platforms, download icons that will speak volumes about your website. With professional and streamlined icons, you can access a wealth of new opportunities.

    A visually impressive toolbar is what visitors look for. In addition to site information and graphics, icons that direct and deliver are paramount. The last thing you'd want is a frustrated user who cannot find the proper links. This can lead to poor site reviews and lesser hits. If you're advertising products search icons that can be integral in servicing client requests. From application downloads to file locations, icons can represent your site in its best light. Without these important objects, there would be no site direction or lead generation. In addition, icons can make a website more attractive and modern.

    Iconki.com delivers top of the line Vista toolbar icons. The icons come in an assortment of vibrant colors, styles, and designs. You can truly spruce up your Vista icon bar with these tools. From enhancing software functionality to site performance, easily attract more visitors with eye-catching icons. Windows seven icons can cultivate a stunning and attractive website. This is important for new ventures that want to establish market appeal, and strong online visuals. Vista toolbar icons are the perfect solution for all your web pages and forums.

    Vista Toolbar Icons feature:

    • Multiple image formats - ICO, PNG, BMP, and GIF
    • Multiple icon sizes - 16x16, 24x24, 32x32, 48x48, and 256x256
    • Multiple color formats - 256 colors, and True Color with semi-transparency

    Vista Toolbar Icons are very popular and highly utilized. From the commercial to Creative spectrum, and search icons that will liven up any website or public forum. With plans to integrate newer icons, the sky is truly the limit for icons. Once you browse through the extensive icon listings, you will be amazed at the sharp graphics and high resolution.

    ***Note: To preview Vista Icons, please click on the screen shot of iconset.

    Vista Drive Icon - диски в стиле Vista

    Vista Drive Icon — диски в стиле Vista

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    Визуальный стиль Windows Vista (и идущего ему на смену Windows 7) не оставляет равнодушными даже ярых противников Microsoft. Многие отмечают, что представление информации на экране стало более понятным и удобным. Например, пред-просмотр миниатюр картинок, показ миниатюр запущенных программ, отображение занятого места на дисках.  Тем не менее многие не решились переходить на Windows Vista по причине весьма высоких системных требований, да и просто в силу привычки. Windows XP, по их мнению, работает намного быстрее, а его возможностей вполне хватает для комфортной работы даже на старых компьютерах. Именно поэтому Microsoft до сих пор не отказалась от поддержки этой операционной системы, выпуская обновления, хотя все время грозится это сделать. Если вы до сих пор пользуетесь Windows XP, то заметили, что отображение места на дисках не очень информативно. Хотите, чтобы оно было такое же, как и в Windows7/Vista?

    Что это такое?

    Как удалить VistaDrv

    VistaDrv.exe - это исполняемый файл (программа) для Windows. Расширение имени файла .Exe - это аббревиатура для исполняемых файлов. Необходимо запускать исполняемые файлы от проверенных производителей программ, потому что исполняемые файлы могут потенциально изменить настройки компьютера или нанести вред вашему компьютеру. Бесплатный форум с информацией о файлах может помочь вам разобраться является ли VistaDrv.exe вирусом, трояном, программой-шпионом, рекламой, которую вы можете удалить, или файл принадлежит системе Windows или приложению, которому можно доверять.

    Вот так, вы сможете исправить ошибки, связанные с VistaDrv.exe
    1. Используйте программу Настройщик Windows . чтобы найти причину проблем, в том числе и медленной работы компьютера.
    2. Обновите программу InfraOffice. Обновление можно найти на сайте производителя (ссылка приведена ниже).
    3. В следующих пунктах предоставлено описание работы VistaDrv.exe.
    Информация о файле VistaDrv.exe

    Описание: VistaDrv.exe не является важным для Windows и часто вызывает проблемы. Файл VistaDrv.exe находится в подпапках "C:\Program Files" или иногда в подпапках C:\Windows или в подпапках диска C:\. Известны следующие размеры файла для Windows 8/7/XP 132,096 байт (97% всех случаев), 132,608 байт, 237,568 байт или 159,744 байт.

    Важно: Некоторые вредоносные программы маскируют себя как VistaDrv.exe. Таким образом, вы должны проверить файл VistaDrv.exe на вашем ПК, чтобы убедиться, что это угроза. Мы рекомендуем Security Task Manager для проверки безопасности вашего компьютера.

    Using 256 x 256 Vista icon in application - Stack Overflow

    Today, I made a very nice function for extracting the 256x256 Bitmaps from Vista icons.

    Like you, Nathan W, I use it to display the large icon as a Bitmap in "About" box. For example, this code gets Vista icon as PNG image, and displays it in a 256x256 PictureBox:

    This function takes Icon object as a parameter. So, you can use it with any icons - from resources. from files, from streams, and so on. (Read below about extracting EXE icon).

    It runs on any OS. because it does not use any Win32 API, it is 100% managed code :-)

    IMPORTANT! If you want to load this icon directly from EXE file, then you CAN'T use Icon.ExtractAssociatedIcon(Application.ExecutablePath) as a parameter, because .NET function ExtractAssociatedIcon() is so stupid, it extracts ONLY 32x32 icon!

    Instead, you better use the whole IconExtractor class, created by Tsuda Kageyu (http://www.codeproject.com/KB/cs/IconExtractor.aspx ). You can slightly simplify this class, to make it smaller. Use IconExtractor this way:

    Note: I'm still using my ExtractVistaIcon() function here, because I don't like how IconExtractor handles this job - first, it extracts all icon formats by using IconExtractor.SplitIcon(icoAppIcon), and then you have to know the exact 256x256 icon index to get the desired vista-icon. So, using my ExtractVistaIcon() here is much faster and simplier way :)

    Windows Vista Icons

    Windows Vista Icons

    Describes changes in .ico format in Windows Vista and explains how to compile Vista icons into your applications.

    Windows Vista icons contain hi-res 256x256 pixels images.


    This article describes the basic differences between Windows XP and Windows Vista icons and explains how to use Vista icons in your applications.

    Vista icons

    Four years ago, Microsoft extended the .ico format and allowed 32bit RGBA images (with 8bit alpha channel) inside .ico files. These icons are known as Windows XP icons and are easily recognized by their smooth antialiased edges.

    Beta 1 and Beta 2 of Windows Vista indicate that Microsoft is going to make another change to the .ico format. Icons in current Vista builds differ in two aspects from Windows XP icons:

    • Vista icons contain large high-resolution 256x256 images
    • The large images are stored using PNG compression

    The use of PNG compression is a breaking change. Windows XP and previous are only able to use those images from an icon that are not compressed.

    The icon format allowed to use 256x256 images before, so why did Microsoft introduce the PNG compression? We can only guess, but since the uncompressed icon with all Vista formats occupies more then 400kB, the answer is obvious.

    Windows Vista Explorer uses the hi-res image and dynamically resamples them to required resolution.

    Problems compiling Vista icons

    If you try to compile a Vista icon into application resources using Visual Studio resource compiler, the tool aborts with error and refuses to accept the icon in Vista format. This error is reported from all versions of Visual Studio including VS 2005.

    How to use the tool

    The tool accompanying this article is able to replace or add an icon to an already compiled executable. It has an easy command line interface and can be configured to run as a post-build step in Microsoft Visual Studio.


    The command will replace or add icon.ico to executable.dll. The icon will be replaced if you specify icon_ID. otherwise it will be added to the list of icons.


    The tool does not modify the executable directly. Instead it uses Win32 API for resource manipulation and works under all NT-based systems. There should be no compatibility problems, because it links the static version of C runtime.

    The implementation is pretty straightforward, the tool:

    • Reads and analyzes the icon
    • Enumerates icon resources in the executable (icon resource is actually a bit more complicated than other kinds of resources, because it consists of an icon directory, that holds the references to images, and the actual images)
    • Optionally removes the icon that is being replaced
    • Adds the new icon into the executable
    Points of Interest

    I used the tool on itself and the compiled executable already contains a Vista-compatible icon (the one on the picture).

    • 1.0 - posted on May 4th, 2006

    Vista is still in beta phase and Microsoft will likely resolve the problems with resource compiler by the time Vista is released making this tool obsolete. (What compiler is Microsoft using to compile Windows Vista anyway?)

    Still, Microsoft may not issue a patch for all versions of their development environments and there are plenty of third party Windows compilers, so the tool may find its place even after Microsoft addresses the issue.

    Windows Vista delivers stunning visual capabilities and the new, hi-res icons are an inseparable part of it. Exploring and exploiting new concepts of Vista is an exciting experience, especially for someone like me, who is involved in development of icon authoring software.