ico : Java Glossary

The CurrCon Java Applet displays prices on this web page converted with today’s exchange rates into your local international currency, e.g. Euros, US dollars, Canadian dollars, British Pounds, Indian Rupees… CurrCon requires an up-to-date browser and Java version 1.8, preferably 1.8.0_131. If you can’t see the prices in your local currency, Troubleshoot. Use Firefox for best results.

*.ico files are a Microsoft proprietary icon format. It supports transparency, but only square images in a specific set of resolutions. Each layer can have a different palette map or use 32-bit direct colour mapping. Icons can be standalone or embedded in executable files. They typically contain 16 × 16, 24 × 24, 32 × 32, 64 × 64, 128 × 128 and 256 × 256 format all packed into one *.ico file. Vista supports PNG-style image compression of the larger images.

A modern Vista icon contains the following resolutions.

Vista, W2008, W7-32, W7-64, W8-32, W8-64, W2012, W10-32 and W10-64 Icon Resolutions
mandatory  = mandatory  optional  = optional never  = never
Size 32-bit RGB (Red Green Blue) Colour
alpha transparency
256 colour 16 colour
256 × 256
64 × 64
48 × 48
32 × 32
24 × 24
16 × 16

Sometimes one or more of the resolutions are left out. Older versions of windows do not support the higher resolutions. Windows 7 and Windows 8 use the same formats. You can also use the new formats it old XP and Win2K system. They just ignore the sizes bigger than 48 × 48. There is no reason to avoid png compression in the 256 × 256 sizes. Adding extra sizes or leaving out sizes can cause the icons to display in the wrong size or with a black background.

Ico editors

You can use special *.ico editors, or create a set of png files then glue them together in an icon with a special utility.

Java does not support them, even for Java webstart icons.

In order of difficulty:

  1. Extract icon from exe. Usually free, e.g. NirSoft IconsExtract  NirSoft IconsExtract: free *.ico extractor
  2. Change folder icon. Utilities cost about  $20.00 USD
  3. Replace exe icon with one smaller or same size. Utilities cost about  $40.00 USD
  4. Replace exe icon with one larger. Utilities cost an outrageous  $100.00 USD

Real World Ico Editors

Icon Editors
Product Cost
CurrCon Applet needs Java 1.8 or later to display prices in your local currency.
Xara $89.00 USD Does 3D icons. Pro version exploits multi-core CPUs (Central Processing Units) for fast vector rendering. I suspect you need a separate program to split and compose icos from pngs.
IconBuilder $80.00 USD For Mac.
Axialis IconWorkshop $49.00 USD home, $70.00 USD commercial. difference Up to 256 × 256 for Windows and 1024 × 1024 for Mac. Makes Smart phone icons. Can create icons by combining predrawn component parts. This gives people without artistic skill the ability to create pedestrian but polished looking icons. handles alpha channel. Can automatically create all ico sizes from one image. Lifetime updates included.
Microangelo Creation $55.00 USD There are two companion utilities. There in no need for the On Display program. You can do all that without a commercial utility. Works with layers, much like Photoshop.
IcoFX $50.00 USD Up to 256 × 256 for Windows and 1024 × 1024 for Mac. 40 special effects. Also creates cursors. Also substitutes icons in exe files.
Icon Lover $50.00 USD What I use myself. See notes.
Metro-Style Icons $40.00 USD Windows Aero and metro style icons. From ahasoft, like Icon Lover. Has same bugs.
Stardock IconDeveloper $10.00 USD Up to 256 × 256 for Windows.
Free Icon Editor $0.00 USD Up to 48 × 48 for Windows.
the Gimp $0.00 USD General drawing program.
Image Magick $0.00 USD It is a library of code you can execute from the command line or from within programs you write.

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