I try to keep the many and various areas of my work separated by the obvious means of creating lots of Windows folders and sub-folders. For easy access, I’ve prefixed the top five sub-folders with a number so that arranging by name places them at the top in my preferred order. Another or additional method would be to have the ability to change each folder icon to something more meaningful, colourful and ideally attractive so that it stands out from the standard yellow icons. Amongst others that aim to achieve this, I found ‘Folder Marker v3.2’, which is a shell extension utility to customise folder icons. I thought I’d give it a try.
Having installed Folder Marker, as you might expect from a shell extension, it met my first acceptance criterion which is the ability to use it from the context menu to change a folder’s appearance on-the-fly. A right click on a folder (or secondary mouse button click) and selecting ‘Mark Folder’ brings up a sub-menu that lists folder colours, favourite folder icons, more icons and the option to restore default. Click one of the listed icons and it’s job done, your folder icon will change accordingly (you may need to do a simple refresh).
A two click process
It gets better though; the icons in the context menu can be customised from the available icon sets which in most cases makes changing a folder icon a simple two-click process. Nice. Compare this with ‘Lovely Folders 4’, an excellent and similar utility, which requires at least six mouse clicks to change a folder icon. Folderico is also similar and appears to offer a context menu option but in fact this only works for 32bit Windows.
Folder Marker will also handle multiple folder changes, just select all of the folders in the normal way and click the required icon to change the whole group. Selecting ‘Apply selected icon to all subfolders’ does what it says. All very neat.
The menu item ‘More Icons’ opens up the main application to provide a wider selection of icons from tabs named as ‘Everyday, ABC, Main and User Icons’. The latter as it implies provides the ability to add your own icons. The Action menu includes ‘Customize Mark Folder’ menu item, which gives access to customisation of the icons available in the context menu.
Folder Marker is available in three versions, Pro, Home and Free. The main difference between the first two is that the Pro version targets the office worker and has support for changing network folder icons, it includes additional work related icons and the changes to icons can be made distributable or portable.
Folder Marker Pro is priced at $34.95, Folder Marker Home is $24.95 and both are available for download and trial at http://www.foldermarker.com
An additional 60+ set of (so called Vista) icons can be purchased for $19.95.
The reference to Vista (Windows 7 has been around for nearly 3 years) and the lack of any recent updates is a concern and would seem to indicate that maybe development has stopped on this product, which would be a shame. It’s also quite expensive for a shell utility (when there are freeware alternatives) and I think that the extra icons should be included in the basic price of the Pro and Home versions, otherwise it’s excellent and probably the best of its kind.
*”Mellow Yellow”, Donovan, Epic Records, 1966