What Are ICO Files & How to Recover Deleted ICO Files?

Learn to recover deleted ICO images after finding out what are ICO files and how to open ICO files in this passage. Besides, there’re some data loss prevention tips for you.


By Penny / Updated on April 3, 2024

Share this: instagram reddit

What are ICO files?

The ICO file type is commonly used to store icons that represent Windows programs, files, or folders. Furthermore, it contains one or more images in different sizes to ensure proper scaling depending on their usage. ICO files are similar to .CUR files are used in Windows OS, and .ICNS files are used in Mac OS.


In Windows OS, the ICO format is exclusively used to store icons for executable files.

These ICO files typically save images with dimensions ranging from 16x16 to 256x256 pixels. Previously, older ICO files were limited to including images up to 48x48 pixels, which was the recommended size by Windows.

With the advent of higher DPI screens, most icons store images up to 256x256 pixels to ensure compatibility and optimal display quality.

Are PNG and ICO the same?

Please pay attention that ICO files differ from PNG files. While PNG is a specific image file format primarily used for high-quality web images, ICO files could contain multiple images and serve a distinct purpose.

How to open ICO files?

Given that ICO files are primarily intended for Windows, you can open and edit them via various image editor applications such as Microsoft Paint, Microsoft Paint 3D, etc.

Please refer to the following clicks to open ICO pictures via Microsoft Photos if needed.

» Press Win + E to open File Explorer > under the Downloads tab > right-click on your desired ICO image > click Open with > select Photos.


Similarly, File Viewer Plus, IcoFX, Newera IconCool Editor, Newera IconCool Editor, ACD Systems ACDSee Photo Studio, Program4Pc PC Editor, IconEdit2, Inkscape, and GIMP also can open ICO images on Windows.

» For Mac OS:

  • Apple Preview
  • Lemkesoft GraphicConverter
  • Inkscape
  • GIMP
  • Snap Converter

How to recover deleted ICO images without backups?

Experiencing data loss can be quite frustrating. So can you recover deleted ICO images from Recycle Bin after emptying them?


Let’s follow the most straightforward approach: using reliable photo recovery software for Windows. Because only a third-party tool can eliminate the need for regular backups and offer a high photo recovery rate.

So why not give MyRecover a chance? This leading photo recovery software excels in recovering deleted and lost images (ICO, JPG, PNG, GIF, BMP, MPO, TIFF, etc.) from computer hard drives and other local storage devices.

Photo Recovery Software for Windows: 

✐ High-efficiency: Recover about 50 types of images, MS Office and WPS files, folders, compressed files, audio, songs, videos, and websites from HDDs, USB sticks, SD cards, etc.

✐ Advanced scanning method: MyRecover runs Quick Scan & Deep Scan automatically to search all the recoverable files. Specify the filename, saved path, date, or size to filter your needed files.

✐ Convenience: Retain the original filename, path, and format for the deleted files.

✐ Excellent compatibility: Support NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, and ReFS file systems and be compatible with Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, or Sever PC.

Download Software Windows 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download   
After photo recovery, please store your retrieved ICO pictures in your previously designated new location.
MyRecover free plan offers a 500MB data recovery allowance, enabling the recovery of unlimited files. For example, there’s no need for you to pay for retrieved ICO images within 500MB. 
Please consider upgrading MyRecover to recover a large number of deleted/missing images from local drives if you prefer a more cost-effective plan. 

Step 1. Install and launch MyRecover on your Windows> Hover the mouse over the drive saved deleted ICO files before, and click Scan.


Step 2. MyRecover will automatically run Quick and Deep Scan to scan your selected C drive and display all the recoverable files.

You can preview or filter your needed ICO pictures according to Document Type, Name, Size, Date, Path, etc.

  • Name: Type the filenames of your desired files to narrow the search area.
  • Date modified: Set the date (today, yesterday, last 7/30 days, etc.)
  • Size: Filter the file size (<128KB, 128KB~1MB, 1MB~ 512MB, etc.)


Step 3. Under the Recycle Bin folder, select your wanted ICO images. Then click the “Recover x files” button.


Alternative ways to recover deleted ICO images

Apart from that, there’re other ways to recover deleted ICO pictures from Windows or Mac operating systems.

1. Restore accidentally/recently deleted ICO images from temporary storage places

Where do deleted files go? After deletion, Windows and Mac’s temporary storage place will automatically keep and save their accidentally/recently deleted files.

Before permanent deletion, it’s easy for you to restore ICO from Windows Recycle Bin or Mac Trash.

For Windows:

» Open your Windows Recycle Bin > right-click on the ICO image you want to retrieve > Restore it to its original saved path.


For Mac:

» Find the corresponding Trash Bin in the Dock > find the deleted ICO picture you prefer > right-click on it > choose Put Back.


2. Restore permanently deleted ICO images with backups

Windows and Mac OS offer built-in backup solutions such as Backup and Restore and Time Machine to prevent potential data loss at the source. Please refer to the respective way to recover permanently ICO pictures from Windows or Mac operating systems.

For Windows:

As the name reveals, backups are essential to restoration. Let’s take Backup and Restore as an example because this backup feature made its debut in Windows 7 OS.

Step 1. Type “System and Security” in the search bar to open it. Then select “Restore files from backups” under the Backup and Restore (Windows 7) tab.


Step 2. Click the “Restore my files” button.


Step 3. Select “Browse for files” to locate your needed ICO images > click Next.


Step 4. To retrieve your chosen ICO images to their original location or set a new saved path > click Restore.


For Mac:

Time Machine can automatically generate backups at regular intervals, including hourly, daily, and weekly backups. Let’s show how to restore ICO images from backups created by Time Machine.

Step 1. Open the window where you lost ICO pictures.

Step 2. Click the Launchpad icon in the Dock, find Time Machine, and click Enter Time Machine.


Step 3. Use the up and down arrows to locate the ICO pictures you want to restore.


Step 4. “Restore” your desired ICO files to their previous location.


Related suggestions

What are ICO files? How to open ICO files? And how to recover deleted ICO images? Please find the corresponding answers from the respective part if needed.

Moreover, there’re some pertinent suggestions for you to safeguard your ICO files and prevent data loss incidents.

  • Keep a reliable network connection and utilize a UPS (Uninterrupted Power Source) to prevent data loss during critical situations.
  • Install a reputable antivirus program to protect your ICO files from malware and threats.
  • Please store files that use different software types separately to reduce the risk of bugs or system crashes caused by conflicting applications.
  • Incorporate an AutoSave mechanism into your workflow for Microsoft Office files to minimize the risk of unsaved files due to system crashes or lack of discipline.
  • Manually save your data at regular intervals to enhance its safety.
  • Create multiple backups via your Windows backup features or free AOMEI Backupper Standard and store them on different storage devices.

In short, this free Windows backup software provides more flexible backup options and easier procedures than Windows backup features.  

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download
Key features of AOMEI Backupper Standard:✎...   
Enable to back up files, folders, partitions, disks, or systems to an internal/external hard drive, USB stick, Network, or Cloud drive.
Implementing intelligent backup strategies allows you to create daily incremental backups, effectively conserving storage space.
By scheduling backups, you can ensure the continuous protection of your valuable data.

Step 1. Launch AOMEI Backupper on your Windows PC. Under the Backup tab, select the “File Backup” option.


Step 2. Click “Add Folder/Add File” to add the folder or ICO pictures you prefer to back up.


Step 3. Click “Schedule Backup” to enable Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Event triggers or USB plug based on your needs. Then click the “Start Backup” button.



Penny · Editor
Penny works as an editor at AOMEI Technology, while she's a tester and editor for AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. She enjoys helping users with data recovery issues on Windows and iPhones using simple and practical solutions. Outside of work, she has a strong affection for pets, particularly giant pandas.