Getting Associated Icons Using VB .NET

Environment: VB.NET


This step-by-step article describes how to use the SHGetFileInfo function to get the icons that are associated with files.

Create a Windows Forms Application

  1. Start Microsoft Visual Studio .NET.
  2. On the File menu, point to New, and then click Project.
  3. In the New Project dialog box, click Visual Basic Projects under Project Types, and then click Windows Application under Templates.
  4. In the Name box, type GetIconSample.

Use the SHGetFileInfo Function

  1. Add the following code at the beginning of the Form1.vb file:
  2. Imports System.Runtime.InteropServices
  3. Add the following code in the Form1 class after the INHERITS statement:
  4. Private Structure SHFILEINFO
            Public hIcon As IntPtr            ' : icon
            Public iIcon As Integer           ' : icondex
            Public dwAttributes As Integer    ' : SFGAO_ flags
            <MarshalAs(UnmanagedType.ByValTStr, SizeConst:=260)> _
            Public szDisplayName As String
            <MarshalAs(UnmanagedType.ByValTStr, SizeConst:=80)> _
            Public szTypeName As String
    End Structure
    Private Declare Auto Function SHGetFileInfo Lib "shell32.dll" _
            (ByVal pszPath As String, _
             ByVal dwFileAttributes As Integer, _
             ByRef psfi As SHFILEINFO, _
             ByVal cbFileInfo As Integer, _
             ByVal uFlags As Integer) As IntPtr
    Private Const SHGFI_ICON      = &H100
    Private Const SHGFI_SMALLICON = &H1
    Private Const SHGFI_LARGEICON = &H0    ' Large icon
    Private nIndex                = 0
  5. Add a listView control, a button control, and an imageList control to the form. The default names are ListView1, Button1, and ImageList1, respectively.
  6. In the Properties window of Button1, set the button text to Select a File, and then add the following code in the Button1_click event:
  7. Dim hImgSmall As IntPtr  'The handle to the system image list.
    Dim hImgLarge As IntPtr  'The handle to the system image list.
    Dim fName As String      'The file name to get the icon from.
    Dim shinfo As SHFILEINFO
    shinfo = New SHFILEINFO()
    Dim openFileDialog1 As OpenFileDialog
    openFileDialog1 = New OpenFileDialog()
    openFileDialog1.InitialDirectory = "c:\temp\"
    openFileDialog1.Filter           = "All files (*.*)|*.*"
    openFileDialog1.FilterIndex      = 2
    openFileDialog1.RestoreDirectory = True
    listView1.SmallImageList = imageList1
    listView1.LargeImageList = ImageList1
    shinfo.szDisplayName = New String(Chr(0), 260)
    shinfo.szTypeName    = New String(Chr(0), 80)
    If (openFileDialog1.ShowDialog() = DialogResult.OK) Then
         fName = openFileDialog1.FileName
         'Use this to get the small icon.
         hImgSmall = SHGetFileInfo(fName, 0, shinfo, _
                     Marshal.SizeOf(shinfo), _
                     SHGFI_ICON Or SHGFI_SMALLICON)
         'Use this to get the large icon.
         'hImgLarge = SHGetFileInfo(fName, 0,
         'ref shinfo, (uint)Marshal.SizeOf(shinfo),
         'The icon is returned in the hIcon member of the
         'shinfo struct.
         Dim myIcon As System.Drawing.Icon
         myIcon = System.Drawing.Icon.FromHandle(shinfo.hIcon)
         imageList1.Images.Add(myIcon)       'Add icon to
         listView1.Items.Add(fName, nIndex)  'Add file name and
                                             'icon to listview.
         nIndex = nIndex + 1
    End If

Run The Project

  1. Compile the project: On the Build menu, click Build Solution.
  2. Press F5 to run the project.
  3. Click Select a File, and then select a file in the Open dialog box. The name of the file and the icon that are associated with the file appear in the ListView control.


  • Removed "Auto" for SH_TYPENAME and SH_DISPLAYNAME to work.

    Posted by Legacy on 02/10/2004 12:00am

    Originally posted by: Gerd Hoeren

    Thanks very much for this example. I needed to use
    SHGetFileInfo to get the file type and had to remove
    the "AUTO" modifier on your function definiton. That is:

    Private Declare Function SHGetFileInfo Lib "shell32.dll" ...

    Private Const SH_DISPLAYNAME As Integer = &H200
    Private Const SH_TYPENAME As Long = &H400


    SHGetFileInfo(fileInfo.FullName, FILE_ATTRIBUTE_NORMAL, shinfo, Marshal.SizeOf(shinfo), SH_TYPENAME)


    • That is nice

      Posted by parvezhakim12 on 12/30/2004 06:51am

      If it works then why to bother


      Posted by parvezhakim12 on 12/12/2004 12:18pm

      This also belongs to Microsoft MSDN magzine. The idea of showing it here is to free developers from searching up the MSDN, and many changes have been made to that article where ever possible. This article is belongs to Microsoft and i do not have any intention to get involved in some legal problems, misuse it or distribute it. Parvez Ahmad

  • Use the SHGetFileInfo Function

    Posted by Legacy on 11/07/2003 12:00am

    Originally posted by: Lester Holt

    Excellent code and instructions.
    Thank You for great programmers!

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