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Icon Overlay Issue

TortoiseSVN and TortoiseGit both use the same nine icons, Dropbox uses eight, and if you have OneDrive installed (which you will if you use Windows 8 or above) then it uses three. And Windows itself uses a few to indicate offline files or enhanced storage. That’s 22 icon overlays.

The problem is that each of these applications uses multiple overlay icons but Windows only uses the first 15.

The icon overlays can be found in the following key:


It turns out you can safely rename the folders which will reorder the icons.

  • Navigate to the above location in the registry.
  • Export (backup) the ShellIconOverlayIdentifiers folder in its entirety, in case you need to restore it later.
  • Rename the folders so that the ones that you want are in the first 15 sorted alphabetically (Use spaces or numbers, or 'x' to push to the bottom).
  • Restart Explorer (Right-click > restart, in Task Manager).

Attempt to stop applications from changing the order (this is likely to cause problems when adding a new program that uses overlays):

  • Go to the registry key ShellIconOverlayIdentifiers
  • Right click > Permissions… > Advanced
  • Now disable inheritance, take ownership of this key and check “Replace all child permission..”
  • Once you are the owner of the key you can permanently remove OneDrive / Dropbox or whatever keys you do not need.
  • To secure this key from future edits make it read-only for the SYSTEM user.

Can also try to use ShellExView to disable unused Icon Overlay Handlers.

Annoyingly both Dropbox and OneDrive have also resorted adding spaces in front of their names to exploit this, instead of getting microsoft to fix the 15 limit.


win/icon_overlay_issue.txt · Last modified: 2018/05/25 15:30 by derek