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7/1/05 Creating and storing icons for Internet Explorer Favorites

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / June 30, 2005 4:18 AM PDT

Many thanks to all those who participated in this week's topic. I encourage all of you who have more tips, software utility recommendations, methods, or questions regarding this topic to post below. The more ideas that we share, the more we can all learn from each other as a community. Take care and have a great weekend! For those in the United States--Happy 4th of July!

-Lee Koo
CNET Community


I've noticed that when I save pages to my IE Favorites,
certain sites have unique icons next to them. This is helpful
for identifying sites, since I have a lot of bookmarks. But
now they are disappearing and being replaced by the standard
IE icon. What is happening? Is there any way to keep the
unique icons that were originally attached? Is it possible to
customize the icon for each bookmark in my Favorites list?

Submitted by: Marc B. of Covington, Indiana


The unique icons are stored in the TIF (Temporary Internet Files) cache. When you empty the cache, the unique icons are deleted, and the default IE icon automatically replaces them.

Depending on your version of Windows, and the options selected, the TIF can be emptied by:

1. Rebooting or logging off
2. Clicking Internet Options> General > Delete Files
3. Using third-party software, such as Webroot's Window Washer.

In order to keep the unique icons that were originally attached, you would have to move the icon into a permanent folder:

1. Locate the icon by clicking Start > Find (or Search) > Files > fav*.ico.
2. Copy and paste the icon file to another folder, such as C:\my icons.
3. If you wish, rename the icon file to something meaningful. The extension should remain .ico.
4. Follow the instructions below to point the bookmark to the permanent icon file.

It is possible to customize the icon for any bookmark that you wish:

1. Right-click the bookmark, click Properties > Change Icon
2. Select an Icon from those displayed, or
3. Change the filename to another icon file and select an icon from those displayed, or
4. Click the Browse button, select another icon file, and select an icon from those displayed.
5. Click OK.

There is also a program that will allow you to save the favicons.ico (Favorite Icons) permanently in a different folder and reassociate your favorites with the stored icons:

FavOrg - Restore and Save Favorite Icons (Line 108)

Submitted by: Carl G.

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Honorable mentions
by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / June 30, 2005 4:18 AM PDT

There is a way to change the icons, Marc. First you have to find an icon for every bookmark that you want to change. These icons have to be in either an .ico (icon) or .bmp (bitmap) format in order to be allowed to be changed into an icon. Websites usually have their logo on the homepage so you can get those icons there. Just make sure you save it as a .bmp or ico.

First, you have to get the the .bmps. Right Click on a logo, click save picture as, and save it. Save it as something you can remember. Like if your bookmark is A.O.L, save it as aol.bmp. Also save it in a location you can easily access. This is important for later.

Secondly, you will need to go to this folder:
%root%\Documents and Settings\%username%\Favorites. Basically that folder is c:\documents and settings\%username%\favorites. I do not know if you have changed that directory, so that is why I have put the first one there.

Thirdly, you need to right click on a bookmark, then click properties. Then click the web document tab (if you are not already in it), and then click change icon. If you are doing the A.O.L. one, browse for the icon we just saved in step one. Hopefully you know where you saved it. Then click ok. There you did it!

Lastly, (if you have not done this already) just as a recommendation, make folders for you bookmarks so you can browse them more easily. You can do this in internet explorer by going to favorites>organize favorite>Create folder>.

Hope this helps,

Submitted by: Andrew A.



How to Customize Favorites Icons

It's VERY simple. Just "Right Click" on the Favorite link and choose "Properties" from the menu that will pop up. Then click the "Change Icon" button under the "Web Document" tab. Then click "Browse" and browse to any icon that you have stored on your own harddrive and select it. Then click "Ok" and then click "Apply." Viola!

If you don't have any icons, it's really easy to make your own using Win98/XP. Use your favorite graphics program and select ANY picture. Resize it to 32x32 (pixel size) and save it as a .bmp (Windows Bitmap) file. Then, select that new .bmp file that you just saved and rename the .bmp extension to .ico. Example: picture.bmp --> picture.ico (In Windows Explorer, select the file and press your F2 key or simply Right Click on the file and choose "Rename") This will create an icon file that you can use on folders, shortcuts, favorite icons and just about anything else.

Submitted by: Sugarat



The picture which seems to temporarily reside in your Internet Explorer "Favorites" window. The explanation.

Starting with Internet Explorer 5.0, Microsoft added a routine which looked for, stored and associated a small icon (say a 32 x 32 pixel picture in icon format) when a web page was bookmarked. This icon had to be named the "favicon.ico" and it had to reside on the web server with the web pages (the root directory) and not in some sub-directory where the served images of all types are generally stored.

To be totally correct the process the web browser follows is as follows:
(a) Try to Obtain the icon by first requesting the "favicon.ico" from the directory of the web page.
(b) Failing that,try to obtain the icon from the root directory of the website as above.
(c) Failing that use the default icon for the bookmark.

If the icon is available, it will be displayed beside the website name in the "Favorites" menu, the location bar in IE, and if you open the "Favorites" folder, it will be the icon used for the link to the site.

The newer versions of Mozilla, Firefox, Opera and Netscape also use the "favicon.ico" icon file.

Internet Explorer caches the "favicon.ico" file in the "Temporary Internet Files" folder, so if you don't empty the cache, you'll probably continue to see the icon. When you empty the cache however, the "favicon.ico" file is deleted and Internet Explorer reverts to the default icon for the bookmark.

Submitted by: Peter S



They are favorites icons. You can put them in your web pages by using the code <link rel="Shortcut Icon" href="X" /> in between the <head></head> tags where X is the name and location of the icon you wish to use. Internet Explorer stores it as the icon next to the link you save in your favorites. Because they are most often stored in temporary internet files, they disappear when you clear your history. If you want to keep the different favorite icons, you can find where they are stored on your computer and put it in another directory. Then you can go into the properties of the favorite by right clicking on the favorite. Click the change icon button, and go to where you stored the icon. Select your icon, and click okay. Then click apply and click okay. Voila!

Heather W
Topeka, KS

Submitted by: Heather W of Topeka, KS



The answer is quite simple, your favorites site doesn't suport those Icon's anymore...

If you click the favorites, right click your link, then select properies you will find a change Icon Button, you can use this to change the icon's for any of your web links.

Also, as a note, you may be able to recover those lost icons...

click tools then click internet options. after that click settings in the temporary internet area, then view files... now go to the adress bar and type "\content.ie5" this will bring you to a hidden folder, containing everything that IE downloaded...

hit F3 and click all files and documents... simply type "*.ico" into the file name field and it will search to see if the icon files are still on your computer.

Good Luck

Submitted by: DeJhon
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Other suggestions from our members
by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / June 30, 2005 4:18 AM PDT

The Favorites Icons are called Favicons and I.E.
stores them in a temporary file and dumps them on re-start. Then you end up with the little blue e.

The program I use to save Favorites Icons is "FavOrg"
from PC Magazine Utilities. It was made for I.E. 5 but works just fine on I.E. 6.,1759,9883,00.asp

When you run FavOrg, it scans the internet for each of your Favorites for Favicons and if there is one it will display it and lock it to your Favorites list.

If you want to display the icon on your desktop for instance, just right click on the favorite and wait a bit for the menu to pop up, select "Send To:", then click on "Desktop (create shortcut)".

There is a $20 fee for an annual subscription to PC Magazine Utilities, and you can download as many of their utilities as you want, but for $10 you have 30 days to download any 3 Utilities, or $6 for 1 download. Best to subscribe to one or more of their free newsletters and watch for a special subsciption combo offer that includes the one year Utilities downloads subscription with a one year PC Magazine subscription.

Sorry I can't recommend a program to create icons.
There are many out there, but I've never tried any.
I've heard from people who care about that sort of thing that Microangelo is quite good, but It's a $50 program.

Good Luck!

Submitted by: Charles A.



there is a free download called FAVORG which can be downloaded from here :

the reason that your "favicons" disappear is that they are stored in temp files. when you clean up those files those disappear too. my only complaint about this program is that is runs a long time if you have a lot of bookmarks. it goes to each website and gets a "favicon" if available.

Submitted by: Jim C.



The Internet Explorer icons you?re referring to are called favicons, they are small icons that you receive when you bookmark certain web sites that offer them. When you clear your browsers cache or your history is deleted the favicons may disappear, but there is a way to get them back. A freeware program called AM Deadlink will not only check your bookmarks for dead links and duplicates but also for favicons. Here?s the link

Submitted by: Joe S.



These "unique" icons are known as favicons. The link below will take you to CNets site where you can download a favicon finder which will search your bookmarks and download available favicons for them. The favicons will be saved to a folder of your choice where the bookmarks will be linked to them. There is also an explanation there as to why favicons are normally not permanent.

Submitted by: Gene S.



Marc, those special icons come from a file named favicon.ico on the website of the publisher. If that file isn't there, Windows chooses the default. You can change that default by right clicking on the link, and changing the icon. I use a program called AM-Deadlink I found at's downloads. It creates a small folder, and saves those special icons it finds, preserving them a little longer than Windows seems to. When they disappear, the program contacts the sites in your favorites list ten at a time, and quickly refreshes the special ones it finds. I've run it about once a month, but on my new computer bought about ten weeks ago, the favicons seems to be holding better, after one AM-Deadlink scan. If you do a web search about favicons, there are some good articles.
Hope this helped, and answered your questions.

Submitted by: Michael A. of Boston, MA



The problem with IE and favicons is very common. The problem is that IE stores the favicons that it downloads in your temporary internet files folder. The icons will continue to show up as long as you don't clear your temp internet files. A lot of people clear them and thus, throw away those favicons. Also, the only time the favicon will show up, is if you add it to your favorites list, and re-adding a bunch of links can be a waste of time.
I googled for a few minutes, and found this nifty little free app that installs into IE and allows you to configure IE so it stops removing favicons.
You can read about how to repair the favicons on this page:
Once Chip is installed, click on the little bird, click on Options. Then, just click on Repair Favicons. Your favicons will be stored outside the temporary internet files folder and preserved for future use. The toolbar can be activated and deactived when not in use.

Submitted by: Brad



There may be other ways to save the "favicons" as they are called but I use an older free little program called "FavOrg" which can be downloaded free from here. If you go through the options on it you can also have it update redirected links when the original link that you saved has changed. This program came out in around the year 2000 I believe.

Submitted by: Roddy32



its not that these unique icons/avatars/favicons disappear, MSFT apparently does not allow these unique icons to "travel" from it's browser's url bar when bookmarked into your/their IE favorites, only MSFT's standard icon.
assume this is another way MSFT can show its arrogance!
on the other hand, mozilla's firefox browser does allow the icons to "travel" when bookmarked. although oddly, not all can. for example, CNET's unique favicon appears on firefox's url browser bar, but when transfer to firefox's bookmarks, only the standard IE icon appears!!??
so, i have both answered marc b.'s question AND asking a question of the host - CNET.

Submitted by: sidney f. of manhattan



This same problem caused me to spend a few hours searching the net a few months ago. The reason for the missing icons can be attributed to IE not being very bright. There is however a small program that can fix you right up without requiring you to understand the reason or any particulars about the icons. It's called FavOrg. This program goes and finds the original Icons from the sites in your favorites list and saves them as files on your computer. That way, it doesn't matter that IE can't find the icons, since they are now saved locally.

Submitted by: Aaron T.



This happens when you delete the tmp-files of IE. The best way to keep the unique icons is to use the program (freeware) FavOrg version 1.4 which you can find here:,1759,1558477,00.asp

Submitted by: Robert D. of Munich, Germany



There is a great freeware program called "AM-Deadlink", which has the capability of checking for and downloading the unique "favicons" - All at the click of a menu option.

Obviously this program also checks for bookmarked URLs for errors (ie.
no longer exists, redirected, ok, etc).

Submitted by: Brenda C.

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IE Favorites Icons

Thank You !!! I noticed mine dissappeared awhile ago, but couldn't figure out why. Now I know, and how.

Thanks Again !!

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Saving Icons

when I right-click on my favories and then on "properties" there isn't anything mentioning icons, just an "advanced" button. What am I doing wrong?

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RE: Saving Icons
by vuturistic / July 1, 2005 11:27 AM PDT
In reply to: Saving Icons

When you right-click and select Properties, do you see two (2) tabs at the top of the Properties dialog box? One should read 'General' and the other 'Web Document'. The Change Icon button is on the Web Document tab midway down on the right hand side. Click on this button and it will allow you to change your icon.

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Speaking of Icons
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Icon file saving

Another method is to open Windows Notepad and then drag the favorites link that you want to the notepad.
The complete address will appear including the unique favicon address for the particular site.
Simply go to the favicon address, save the icon picture to a folder and change the icon at will.

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(NT) What about saving icons in Firefox?

I rarely use IE anymore. Same problem: some of my shortcuts have icons and some don't. Any suggestions?

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Favorite icons in Firefox
by JamesJ / July 4, 2005 8:51 AM PDT

I haven't used Firefox, but I am using Netscape 7.2 and they were both derived from Mozilla, so this probably applies to at least some degree. AFAICT, NS 7.2 doesn't save the favorite icons directly or let you set them (I wish it did). It does have an option to use them and, according to what I've read, that setting is supposed to tell it if it should only use them if they're in the cache or try to go out and get them if they're not in the cache. If you're familiar with the user.js file, you can add the setting to that. If you're not familiar with user.js, you should be able to find information on it easily enough on the Web (or Firefox may have a different/better way to put in user settings). According to what I've read, the possible settings are 0, 1 or 2, as described below. The user_pref line is the one that actually sets the value (in this case it's set to 1).

// Load favicons for the bookmarks:
// 0 = Do not display favicons (default).
// 1 = Display only if present in cache.
// 2 = Always load them.
user_pref("", 1);

If you don't get a more definitive answer here, I'd suggest you search the Web for something like firefox and favicon.ico and see what turns up. Firefox, and more recent versions of Mozilla, may have other options for handling favorite icons.


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Firefox icons
by jeffbrown975 / July 7, 2005 9:41 AM PDT

I use Firefox, and I find that I have to save the site as a favorite, then i have to go back to the site from the favorites list, for the icon to change to the site icon.

then there is no problem seeing it in the list.

this assumes of course that the site HAS an icon to download (many do not!)

Jeff Brown

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How do you get the favorite icons back

Well, I lost the unique icons for some sites. How do I get them back. There are no icon files in my Temp Internet File folder.

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by cdgoldin! / July 8, 2005 3:09 AM PDT

"Well, I lost the unique icons for some sites. How do I get them back. There are no icon files in my Temp Internet File folder."

It appears that the "Favorg" program mentioned by several posters earlier will do just that. It's a free download.

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Retrieving your lost IE favorites icons
by edenney / July 27, 2005 7:55 AM PDT

Assumably you still have the links in IE, you're just missing the icons. The easiest way to recover your lost icons is just to click on the link and then add the site as a favorite again. IE will prompt you to overwrite the current favorite and will replace the default IE icon with the correct one. IF IE does not prompt you to overwrite the favorite it means that something in the name of that favorite has changed (the full text has to be identical in order for IE to see it as a duplicate). If this happens, the new favorite with the correct icons will be added to the bottom of your favorites, simply delete the old link and reorganize the new link if you're not satisfied with it being at the bottom of the list.

It takes all of about 5-10 seconds to go through these steps so unless you have hundreds of IE favorites it shouldn't take more than a few to several minutes to replace all of your icons. This process of course assumes that you're trying to replace the official icons associated with a website, not custom icons you've created yourself.

Once you've retrieved your lost icons you'll still need to follow the recommended procedure for storing IE icons. Since the temporary internet files folder is just that, temporary, hopefully Microsoft will figure out a better way to store these icons so that they won't be arbitrarily discarded unless the user deletes a favorite.

Good luck!

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Keep web icon from turning into IE

Download a program called FavOrg from It will keep the original icons. Jimmy.

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what about customizing {Folder} icons on desktop?

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Folder Icons On Desktop
by Daviddude / July 2, 2005 1:52 PM PDT
In reply to: Icons

Highlight the icon, then right click it, then choose properties, then choose the customize tab, then choose the change picture button in the middle of the window that pops up, and pick the icon you want it to be.

I did this to change the "Unused Desktop Shortcuts" folder on my desktop.

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customizing icons on desktop folders
by yother33 / February 19, 2008 5:32 AM PST


I know you can right-click the generic icon, pick Change Icon, navigate to your own icon, etc., but when I do that on one of my computers, running XP Pro, it won't take it. The generic icon blinks and that's it. There must be a setting buried somewhere to keep this from happening, or is it just another Microsoft $$#@$#!! bug?

Anyone have any experience with this?


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You said: "4. Follow the instructions below to point the bookmark to the permanent icon file", but I didn't see where those instructions were (sorry!). How do I do that? Thanks!

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creating and storing icons

I also have this problem and still can't figure out how to correct it.
I'm using XP and I will admit I need a little more help in creating these files to store the icons in.
I also use Norton System Works and find when I go through some of there tasks it changes my icons to the explorer icon.
Also I had two icons that were on my desktop, that reverted to the explorer and now I can't get them to change to the originals.
Thanks for all the help you can give.

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Creating such an icon

What code do websites use to place such an icon in display in IE? I'd like to get my site to provide the same when it's bookmarked.

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Organizing bookmarks
by Ulha / July 2, 2005 11:52 PM PDT

I wondered why that was happening. This site is brilliant for solving problems. Slightly offtrack but still on bookmarks, would someone please explain how to organize them alphabetically, other than by manually moving each one. Since I changed OS and lost all old bookmarks (was that inevitable, too?) any new bookmarks are listed in chronological order. If I rearrange them manually they won't stay that way. Using IE v.6 - perhaps some setting needs changing? Many thanks.

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Organizing Favorites
by Daviddude / July 5, 2005 11:14 PM PDT
In reply to: Organizing bookmarks

Open up Internet Explorer and click on the Favorites Menu, then Right Click your mouse button anywhere on that menu and choose Sort By Name.

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Organizing easy!
by Ulha / July 6, 2005 2:58 AM PDT
In reply to: Organizing Favorites

Thanks so much for bothering to answer, you must think I'm a complete novice - don't use the right mouse button very much. But I will now. By the look of that menu, probably could also have saved all those bookmarks that got lost when I had system upgraded. (Which is why I'm doing them all again ...)

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7/1/05 Creating and storing icons for Internet Explorer Favo

Your solution does not work, as I tested it looking for the Google ico file which is currently stored in my Favorites list and it can not be found.

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What about the icon in the address/URL?
by DiedreC / March 11, 2006 1:07 PM PST

Your suggestion on the bookmarks worked quite well. Is there anything similar that can be done for the icons next to the URL in the "Address" field?

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