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Windows 7 icons - What do they mean?

    General discussion

  • I've looked everywhere for a graphical list with descriptions of the icons in Windows 7. In particular, Windows Explorer folder icons. Has anyone come across such a list?
    Wednesday, November 30, 2011 4:41 PM

All replies

  • I have found some, but what icons are you asking about?

    1. The ones on the desktop?
    2. The ones on the taskbar?
    3. The ones you see when looking at files and folders?
    4. Other?

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    Wednesday, November 30, 2011 6:02 PM
  • I'm hoping to find all of the above, but what got me started on this is the folders.
    Mike
    Wednesday, November 30, 2011 8:27 PM
  • Not sure exactly what you are asking for, but I have an idea that you are just seeing icons when you look in folders, and you want to know what they are. If that is the case, you can simply change the view to show the files and folders in a different way.

    Sorry if that's not what you meant, but in that case, could you explain your problem a little more detailed?

    ___________________________________________________________________

    Please vote my post as helpful if you think it was, and mark it as
    an answer if it answered
    your question. That will help others
    with the same problem finding the answer. - Thanks.

    Wednesday, November 30, 2011 8:33 PM
  • It's not really a problem. I just want to know what the different icons/symbols mean in Windows Explorer, ie. a folder with a lock on it, a folder with an arrow in one direction or another, etc..
    Mike
    Wednesday, November 30, 2011 8:47 PM
  • I found this page. It has a lot of icons and their meanings. Scroll down to see the folders:

    http://www.howto-outlook.com/howto/icons.htm

    ___________________________________________________________________

    Please vote my post as helpful if you think it was, and mark it as
    an answer if it answered
    your question. That will help others
    with the same problem finding the answer. - Thanks.


    Thursday, December 01, 2011 1:32 PM
  • Thanks, that gets us through the Outlook icons. My users and I like that site. I would still like to find a list of the icons in Windows Explorer.
    Mike
    Thursday, December 01, 2011 2:41 PM
  • Could you tell us the specific icons?

    There're thousands of icons, no such a completed lists of them.

    Regards,

    Miya


    This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights. | Please remember to click "Mark as Answer" on the post that helps you, and to click "Unmark as Answer" if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread.
    Friday, December 02, 2011 3:54 AM
    Moderator
  • It's not really a problem. I just want to know what the different icons/symbols mean in Windows Explorer, ie. a folder with a lock on it, a folder with an arrow in one direction or another, etc..

    You might find more pertinent info if you search for the terms "Windows Explorer overlay icons".  The word "overlay" helps describe them, and such a search may lead you to sites like this: LINK REMOVED BECAUSE OF REPORT OF POSSIBLE MALWARE

    Presumably a little lock overlay icon means that the file is not shared, but those show up under some unpredictable circumstances.  The best advice I've seen so far is to ignore them.

    Keep in mind that programs that you add to your computer - e.g., ClassicShell or Tortoise SVN - can add their own overlay icons that mean special things as well.  However, I believe that even if a particular file or folder may be eligible for several different overlay icons, only one can be shown.  Which one that is is anyone's guess.

    -Noel


    Sunday, December 04, 2011 10:44 PM
  • Noel, the site you sent me to tried to download bogus software on my computer.

    Mike


    Mike
    Monday, December 05, 2011 2:17 PM
  • Wow, sorry about that.  It was just one of the first Google results I got, and it didn't try to load anything on my system...

    But just for safety's sake I have removed the link from my post above.  Thanks for letting me know.

    -Noel

    Monday, December 05, 2011 2:46 PM
  • How's this for specific:

    In Windows 7, click Start button.  Click on "Computer". Click on "Network".

    Now on the window that pops up, what do the icons MEAN?  Were looking for a list of what the icons are suppost to represent.

    Need more specific?

    Under "Media Devices" there is an icon with a green circle with a white triangle inside.  Double clicking and right clicking give different results for the different items listed even though they have the same icon.

    Is it possible that their isn't any standard and that the icons were randomly picked by the various software developers at Microsoft?

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012 4:43 PM
  • In Windows 7, click Start button.  Click on "Computer". Click on "Network".

    Now on the window that pops up, what do the icons MEAN?  Were looking for a list of what the icons are suppost to represent.

    While I don't have the Media Devices you do, here is what I see:

    I can only guess that a "Media Device" would be something that allows you to access, view, or listen to media, such as an XBox or Zune or maybe a TV tuner.  Do you have devices such as these in your network?

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my new eBook: Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012 7:04 PM
  • Can anyone please tell me what this icon means. I have a lots of these appearing in different files and dont have a clue what it means.

    Tuesday, August 14, 2012 10:14 PM
  • How's this for specific:

    In Windows 7, click Start button.  Click on "Computer". Click on "Network".

    Now on the window that pops up, what do the icons MEAN?  Were looking for a list of what the icons are suppost to represent.

    Need more specific?

    Under "Media Devices" there is an icon with a green circle with a white triangle inside.  Double clicking and right clicking give different results for the different items listed even though they have the same icon.

    Is it possible that their isn't any standard and that the icons were randomly picked by the various software developers at Microsoft?

    Icons don't "mean" anything, they are just images that are intended to reveal their implications to you through their gui intuitiveness. If they don't they are not well designed. Having to have them listed and described in words seems somewhat counter to the original concept.

    That said, you can often intuit some of their intent by hovering the mouse over them.


    Al Dunbar -- remember to 'mark or propose as answer' or 'vote as helpful' as appropriate.

    Wednesday, August 15, 2012 1:14 AM
  • Can anyone please tell me what this icon means. I have a lots of these appearing in different files and dont have a clue what it means.

    "this folder restricted to members of the Blue Man Group"?

    But seriously, did these show up at about the time you installed a new application?

    If you see it on a shortcut, then open shortcut properties, then click the change icon button. you might get a clue from either the name of the file containing the icon, or the other icons located there. Also, if you right-click one of these folders, are there any unusual entries in the context menu?


    Al Dunbar -- remember to 'mark or propose as answer' or 'vote as helpful' as appropriate.

    Wednesday, August 15, 2012 1:19 AM
  • Came to this discussion as a result of same question initially asked. Question seems pretty straightforward to me, but it may be abstruse to the "experts" that have submitted responses/answers(?).  A hint of sarcasm seems to have crept in on some entries. In my situation I have an elderly friend who is attempting to become more comfortable with Windows 7 on his personal computer. He says that he would like to have an index of win 7 icons so that he could know in advance where he would be going if he clicked on one. E.g., if he sees an icon (on a tool bar) that he does not recognize he could go to his list and immediately know where that icon would take him.  Yes, he could simply click on the icon and open the file, but the back and forth, opening and closing of files can be a distraction to some individuals who may have limited experience, and perhaps not the greatest mental acuity.  Sometimes the answers to problems are simple, but not always so. And, sometimes answers do not exist, at least for the way in which the question is stated.
    • Edited by Tgambill Sunday, December 30, 2012 8:38 PM
    Sunday, December 30, 2012 8:36 PM
  • I've also been searching for a long time for a list of icons in Windows Explorer and what they mean --- something equivalent to this for Outlook:  http://www.howto-outlook.com/howto/icons.htm

    It's amazing how difficult it is to find the most basic information. Why bother even having different icons in Windows Explorer if no one can ever find out what they mean?

    Friday, November 08, 2013 6:00 PM
  • I agree with all the enquirers above. 

    1)  All icon-like things will never be intuitive or obvious (meaning-wise) to all people, so icons WILL ALWAYS need explaining if used for a wide audience.  Anyone who deals with "the public" directly on a regular basis knows this.

    2) Most people (or "The Public") can find several interpretations for the same sentence - (what better example than the person above - Mike - expresses what he wants to know about icons; it took several exchanges for M/soft to twig what he meant).  This is what it is to be human - ie we find other meanings! - therefore M/soft or Windows should endeavour to explain any iconography they use - somewhere.  It would usually be called 'a key' - as on maps; the symbols on maps are thought to be intuitive, but cartographers/designers always explain them as it's practical and sensible to do so.

    3)  Microsoft - please give us an icon 'key'!  Especially as to this/these specifics in Explorer(?): 

    4) Specific icons in File Explorer - ie in list of folders/files etc under my name as user:

    4a) I seem to have at least 2 'My documents' folders.  1 has the folder icon (yellow open book with sheet inside), another has the same folder icon but with an arrow pointing from bott left to top right. I have 'access denied' on this latter one.  What? How? Why?

    4b) Similarly I have 3 'My pictures' files; all have the same icon (Yellow folder with picture coming out of it) and I can access 2 but not the 3rd.  So whereas it seemed the arrow meant I couldn't access a folder, not so according to these 3 identical 'My pictures' icons

    4c) Other file icons also have this arrow: Cookies, Recent, Nethood

    Explain please!

    Saturday, November 09, 2013 3:17 PM
  • I too would like to know what this icon specifically means.  On my Windows & computer it is on a folder that I might of shared once using Google Drive, but when I right click I see no reference to Google Drive.  Perhaps it was Google Docs.   
    Tuesday, November 12, 2013 4:29 PM
  • I was trying to find out what a folder icon, with an arrow from lower left towards upper right, meant too. I think all the others answering did not know either. I did some googling and came up with the following link:

    http://www.vaughnemiller.com/2012/05/07/what-the-heck-are-directory-junction-points/

    What this icon seems to indicate, is that this is a type of link, which replaces the directory name with another path.

    This is an entry from a command line using dir /A

    07/13/2009  08:53 PM    <JUNCTION>     Documents and Settings [C:\Users]

    This type of link is called a JUNCTION. I a program tries to save something at "Documents and Settings" they will be redirected to "C:\Users". Apparently this is to allow programs using old operating systems, XP or example, to automatically store data in the new locations used by the current OS. I am not an expert, just found this, on the web, so my description may not be exact.

    Go to the link, shown above, to get a fairly detailed explanation.

    Hope this helps.

    Tuesday, January 14, 2014 2:38 AM
  • Follow up on the Windows Explorer Icon Question as opposed to Windows 7 Icons - they appear to be different: Drag a Windows desktop Icon into an Explorer File and see how it changes automatically.

    I would like to resurrect this discussion because I have an icon in Windows Explorer which appears to have a meaning but I am not sure what it is.

    I suspect this is an icon that was assigned by Windows for some reason when I created or changed the file but I cannot remember what special properties this folder has.

    This is an interesting discussion because no one appears to have identified what the STOCK icons Explorer uses.  For example the following is a snip of the icons automatically created by Windows and Explorer

    All of these were created automatically by the various programs which created or modified them.

    It is possible to change the icons properties to something different, however it appears that each icon is generally designed to have a special meaning.  For the most part the icons are self explanatory and do an excellent job at helping identify the purpose and content of each folder.

    However not always or perhaps senility has obscured what the spyglass icon I am curious about represents.

    So I have two questions:

    1.  What does this icon represent?

    2.  Can anyone find a listing of the Stock Windows Explorer Icons and meanings.  And hopefully post a link for all future viewers of this thread?

    It is possible that this icon is not a stock explorer icon but I am skeptical that is the case.  My guess based on the eyeglass is that it has some special search characteristic which I have forgotten.

    Thanks for any help with this.

    • Edited by MikeEngr Sunday, June 05, 2016 5:11 PM
    Sunday, June 05, 2016 5:05 PM
  • I have not found a comprehensive list of icons and explanations yet, at least not one that covers the icon that I have a  question about. 

    Users have My Documents folder point to their share on the SBS 2011 box. But user Eric called to complain that under the list of folders bearing everyone's name, his would change My Documents and other users, who need to save to his folder, could not find it. He's rename it to Eric and that would stick for "awhile" then it would change back to My Documents. 

    Today I remapped him a bit differently and hope it sticks. In the process we noticed that some user folders have a different icon. Most are a vertical yellow file folder, while his and a few others are a vertical yellow folder with a file poking out. 

    What is the difference in folders?

    Thanks!

    Charlie O'Hearn

    http://www.plexus-it.com

    Charlie OHearn 7325 Sale Ave West Hills CA 91307


    Thursday, June 30, 2016 11:39 PM
  • As a complete SWAG, maybe those with a file poking out have an actual file in the folder, vs. others who have only subfolders in there?

    I think people here are looking for technical rigor in a Fisher Price world.

    Not that they shouldn't be...  But that's not where Windows' head is at.

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBooks:  

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options
    Not feeling enough love to make one for Windows 10

    Tuesday, July 05, 2016 7:12 AM