Chrome Application Shortcuts Windows 7 Taskbar icon fix icon resolution / size (and prevent Chrome from changing it back)

One of the great features of Google Chrome are “Application Shortcuts”. If you haven’t used these, they are a nice, convenient way to launch frequently used web apps from your desktop/taskbar in their own window. To create a new Application Shortcut, in Chrome click the wrench that expands options, then choose “Tools” and “Create Application Shortcuts…” from the tools sub-menu.

Here is a sample of 3 application shortcuts on my taskbar on Windows 7 (I outlined the shortcuts in red):

Although Application Shortcuts are a convenient feature, one of the annoyances of them is that they use low-resolution 32×32 icons. So, when you add them to your Windows 7 taskbar they appear pixelated and look bad. To further add frustration, if you change the icon, Google Chrome will often change it back automatically when you re-launch the program.

Here is how to change your Google Chrome application shortcut to use a high-resolution icon and preserve it so Chrome doesn’t automatically change it back.

  1. First, you need to find a higher-resolution icon of the application you are adding. You’ll want an icon at least 40px by 40px. I would recommend at least 64×64 or larger. The tricky part is you need an icon with the extension .ico. You can search on http://images.google.com to find a hi-rez image of what you want (just search for your program with ‘icon’ after it). However, most images online are .jpg or .png. You must convert the image to .ico. The fastest, easiest way to do this is to use an online converter such as (http://www.coolutils.com/online/image-converter/). NOTE: I do not endorse this particular site–use at your own risk. It’s just an example, but it worked well for me. You can also convert it using a standard Windows Editing program such as PhotoShop as long as you have the right plug-in.
  2. Once you have your .ico image, \save it to a folder in your computer you can keep…perhaps in My Documents somewhere, or possibly even in the Google Chrome folder (somewhere you can leave it and it won’t get deleted).
  3. Create an application shortcut on your desktop for the application you want to change the icon.
  4. Find the icon on your desktop, right-click and choose properties. Then, choose “Change Icon…” and change the icon to the .ico image you downloaded in step 2.
  5. Click OK twice to close out and save.
    KEY: This next step (step 6) is critical to prevent Google Chrome from changing the icon back. It is a workaround, but it works for me and is the only way I could find to keep the icons the same:
  6. Now, right-click on the icon and click “Properties” again (yes, you do have to close and re-open the properties window).  Click the “General” tab and then click the checkbox next to “Read-only” near the bottom. Click OK.
  7. Now, drag the icon down to your taskbar and you are done! You should now have a high-resolution image on your taskbar that will stay that way.
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13 thoughts on “Chrome Application Shortcuts Windows 7 Taskbar icon fix icon resolution / size (and prevent Chrome from changing it back)

  1. Great tip! The low res icons used to drive me back, and the fact that even after changing the icon manually was very annoying.
    Now if only Google could set this as default functionality in Chrome….

  2. Wow, thanks for this tip. I was getting so frustrated as the web apps I use have the default chrome Globe icon. Thanks!

  3. Had great hopes for this to change the low resolution gmail icon, but GMail keeps launching it’s own window with its own dynamic favicon showing how many mails you’ve got in your inbox….

  4. Great, thanks for sharing! Exactly what I was looking for (I was missing step #6 – set the shortcut as read-only. Clever hack).

  5. But what if it’s switching back to the low quality version once the app is opened? Any hack to fix that? Is it possible to keep the favicon unchanged no matter whether the app is open or close.

  6. Did you follow the instructions closely and mark the icon as “Read Only”? This should solve the problem even after the app is opened.

  7. This is the only solution out there that works, for some reason. I love it because I have both personal and work emails as application shortcuts, so I colored blue the old Gmail icon for work and left the red icon for personal.

    Thanks for figuring this out. It’s infuriating if you actually use the damn application shortcuts!

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