ICO File - opening and understanding

Did your computer fail to open an ICO file? We explain what they are used for and recommend software that we know can open or otherwise handle your .ICO files.

What is an ICO file?

Files that contain the .ico file extension are image container files that store icons that are used by different Windows applications, such as the Windows folder icons, file icons and program icons that appear on a user's desktop.

The ICO file is not an image file itself. It is a container file that stores two bitmaps and the image mask that is used to create the icon that is saved in the file. ICO files can be modified to create custom icons for a Windows interface and are sometimes downloaded with Windows desktop themes.

ICO files are similar to CUR files, but they have a different identification byte in the file header.

How to open ICO files

You will need a program compatible with the specific file you are trying to open, as different programs may use files with file extension ICO for different purposes.

While we have not verified the apps ourselves yet, our users have suggested 10 different ICO openers which you will find listed below.

Suggest another file format using extension ICO

While we know of one file format using the .ICO file extension, there may be more. It is widespread that different programs use files with the same file extension for very different types of data. Please let us know if you are aware of a different kind of .ICO file.

Various viewers for this file format

These apps are known to open certain types of ICO files. Remember, different programs may use ICO files for different purposes, so you may need to try out a few of them to be able to open your specific file.

Free File ViewerFree File ViewerUser submitted
Pixillion Image ConverterPixillion Image ConverterUser submitted
Photo GalleryPhoto GalleryUser submitted
IrfanViewIrfanViewUser submitted
AVS Photo EditorAVS Photo EditorUser submitted
Ashampoo Photo CommanderAshampoo Photo CommanderUser submitted
Picexa ViewerPicexa ViewerUser submitted
GIMPGIMPUser submitted
qkseeqkseeUser submitted
Ulead Photo ExplorerUlead Photo ExplorerUser submitted
We have not verified any software that we know for certain will work with ICO-files on Mac. If you know one, please use the 'Suggest a program' link below and tell us about it!
We have not verified any web services that we know for certain will work with ICO-files. If you know one, please use the 'Suggest a program' link below and tell us about it!