The Overlay Icons Nightmare – TortoiseGit, SVN, Dropbox War Solved

If you have installed the Dropbox and the TortoiseGIT or the TortoiseSVN on one computer, you had to met the nightmare with Overlay Icons. Even you want to see Tortoise Icons, the Dropbox aggressively remove them and pushed all own Icons to you instead icons what you really want to see.

This battle is caused by one old Windows OS limit, when just first 15 Overlay Icons on the list is handled and shown by Windows Explorer. All other Icons are suppressed, because the Windows OS is not able to display them. This can brings problems to you when some program (Dropbox is famous about that) aggressively re-order icons and try to move own icons on the beginning of the list.

Some time ago was enough to open Registry Editor and rename some records related to Overlay Icons there. I added 01, 02, 03… prefixes to items what I really want to see. But it stopped to work several moths ago. Dropbox has started to rename these items dynamically by adding spaces before item names. When you add one more space to preferred item names, Dropbox added one more. Strange. Now working solution was to change access rights to these keys, but it’s more complicated and time consuming. Additionally, not all users can or are able to do these modification manually. What is worse restore the original state and rights can be complicated and problematic if necessary.

I resigned on these fixes for some time, but I had an idea about the script to automate the task and allow to do this anywhere and when I want and need. But my favorite Python is not available on Windows machines by default and bat files are not enough powerful to provide the task.

Some time ago I have started to use PowerShell for different Windows automation tasks, especially on my Windows 2016 Core server. And then i have discovered language which is able to handle the Overlay Icon problem easily. So I have written script which is able to reorder Overlay Icons by my needs and protect these changes against Dropbox modifications.

You can find this script on my GitHub page here:

I believe that many users will find the script useful and it helps them win the Overlay Icon battle for a while.

Of course is possible that some tools will start to be more aggressive and avoid the protection which the script used. If you find this, please let me know through the GiHub. I’ll try to update the script again. Of course if I’ll be able to and find time for that.

For, now, enjoy Overlay Icons what you want, and not what you hate 🙂

Posted by:

Zdenek Polach

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