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Posted 17 Jan 2009
Licenced CPOL

Extracting Icons from EXE/DLL and Icon Manipulation

, 17 Jan 2009
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How to extract icons from EXE/DLL, split/merge icons, and get icons associated with files.


This article describes how to extract icons from an executable module (EXE or DLL), and also how to get the icons associated with a file.

In this article, you will find how to get the icon image that best fits the size you want to display. You can also find how to split an icon file to get its image.


Icons are a varied lot—they come in many sizes and color depths. A single icon resource—an ICO file, or an icon resource in an EXE or DLL file—can contain multiple icon images, each with a different size and/or color depth.

Windows extracts the appropriate size/color depth image from the resource depending on the context of the icon's use. Windows also provides a collection of APIs for accessing and displaying icons and icon images.

The code I introduce will help you extract icons from executable modules (EXE, DLL) without the need to know the Windows APIs that are used in this situation.

The code will also help you in extracting specific icon images from an icon file, and will help you in extracting the icon image that best fits a supplied icon size.


If you want to understand what is going on in this code, you should know how to call APIs from C# code. You also need to know the icon format, about which you will find here: MSDN.

Using the code

First, you need to add a reference to TAFactory.IconPack.dll, or add the project named IconPack to your project.

Add the following statement to your code:

using TAFactory.IconPack;

Use the IconHelper class to obtain the icons as follows:

//Get the open folder icon from shell32.dll.
Icon openFolderIcon = IconHelper.ExtractIcon(@"%SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll", 4);
//Get all icons contained in shell32.dll.
List<icon> shellIcons = IconHelper.ExtractAllIcons(@"%SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll");
//Split the openFolderIcon into its icon images.
List<icon> openFolderSet = IconHelper.SplitGroupIcon(openFolderIcon);
//Get the small open folder icon.
Icon smallFolder = IconHelper.GetBestFitIcon(openFolderIcon, 
//Get large icon of c drive. 
Icon largeCDriveIcon = IconHelper.GetAssociatedLargeIcon(@"C:\");
//Get small icon of c drive. 
Icon smallCDriveIcon = IconHelper.GetAssociatedSmallIcon(@"C:\");
//Merge icon images in a single icon.
Icon cDriveIcon = IconHelper.Merge(smallCDriveIcon, largeCDriveIcon);
//Save the icon to a file.
FileStream fs = File.Create(@"c:\CDrive.ico");



This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Abdallah Gomah
Team Leader AGI
Egypt Egypt
Abdallah Gomah
Master in Computer Science, 2013, Faculty of Computers & Information, Cairo University (Egypt)

- Working as a developer since I graduated from the faculty.
- Like coding in C++ aloso like to code in assembly.
- Have a great experience in coding with .NET (C#/VB), but I prefer the C# notation.
- Had written a lot of applications Desktop and Web.

I love playing football as much as I love the programming.

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QuestionLittle help needed please Pin
Member 89109501-May-12 5:00
memberMember 89109501-May-12 5:00 

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