Windows 10 doesn’t let you customize folder icons out of the box. It also doesn’t let you add color tags like macOS does. If you want to change folder icon colors, you have to turn to third-party apps to do so. FolderPainter is a free app that lets you change folder icon colors. The app doesn’t give you a full color spectrum to pick colors from because that would only lead to clutter. You get a reasonable number of color presets to choose from.
Change folder icon colors
Download and run FolderPainter. When you run the app’s EXE, you’re given two options to enable. For our purpose, you need only enable the ‘Use Shift Key to Display Context Menu’ option, and click the ‘Add to Menu’ button.
Once you’ve added the option to the context menu, hold down the Shift key and right-click the folder you want to change the folder icon color for. The context menu will show a ‘Change Folder icon’ option with a sub-menu that lets you select the color of the folder icon. You have twelve colors to choose from, and you can reset it to its default color if you want.
The color ought to change right away however, if it doesn’t, right-click and select Refresh from the context menu. The new folder icon will be reflected in the File Explorer, as well as in any save or open dialog boxes.
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FolderPainter doesn’t need to run constantly which means that it won’t drag your system down. Windows 10 won’t have any trouble displaying the folder icon’s color however, you won’t be able to group folders by color. The context menu on Windows 10 simply doesn’t have that option and it isn’t added simply because you now have folder icons that are different colors.
If you want to remove the app’s options from the context menu, you need to run it again. Run the app’s EXE and then click the Uninstall button. It will remove all the options added to the context menu, and it will return your folder icon color back to the default yellow.
Since the app’s options only appear when you hold down the Shift key, it isn’t going to clutter the context menu, and more importantly, if someone happens to access your system it won’t be easy to discover how to reset or change the color set for your folder icons.
While the app is mostly harmless, you should remove it before you update Windows 10 to a major feature update as apps like this tend to cause problems with the update.