Problem Changing Icon Image 10.8.3

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vienna01

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To change an icon, I use "get info"
Then I drag the replacement icon over top of the existing icon in the get info screen.
Sometimes[rarely] I get the expected behavior: The image I want to use is now the icon associated with the file[such as the ico for an app.
That only happens with some images downloaded or saved from the internet.
Those images have ,jpg or png extensions or sometimes no visible extension.

Most of the time the image that becomes the icon is not the picture I expected such as an apple, a key or a book.
It is the letters JPEG or PNG in a white rectangle with a tiny picture that is the icon for the preview app.
I
I have attached three image files.
A screen shot of an apple image that is correct "correct icon apple.jpg". Made by dragging the file "cyanapple" onto the "get info' screen top left.
A screen shot of the incorrect image "JPEG" plus preview-like picture. Made by dragging the file "yubikey2.jpg" onto the "get info" screen Correct Icon apple.jpg cyanapple.jpg incorrect icon.jpg yubikey2.jpg
 

DeltaMac

Tech
You appear to have an inaccurate idea about how to copy a file's icon to another file.

Open the Get Info window on the file that has your source icon (that's the icon that you want to use)
Click the file's icon in the Get Info window, then press Command-C (which copies the icon to the clipboard)
Open the Get Info window on the destination file (that's the one with the icon that you want to change)
Click that file's icon (again, in that file's Get Info window), and press Command-V to past the icon.

Just so you know - none of those 3 files that you attached have usable icons on the files. All show generic icons for .jpeg files - as you already said.
 

Curiosity

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You can also use a normal image that is saved by itself, and copy that into the clipboard, then paste it over the image in Get Info.
 

vienna01

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You appear to have an inaccurate idea about how to copy a file's icon to another file.

Open the Get Info window on the file that has your source icon (that's the icon that you want to use)
Click the file's icon in the Get Info window, then press Command-C (which copies the icon to the clipboard)
Open the Get Info window on the destination file (that's the one with the icon that you want to change)
Click that file's icon (again, in that file's Get Info window), and press Command-V to past the icon.

Just so you know - none of those 3 files that you attached have usable icons on the files. All show generic icons for .jpeg files - as you already said.
The attached images were not those I used in real use of my OSX system. The images attached to my posting were extracted from screen captures. I had trouble finding and capturing the real image examples.

I think I understand your comments. Unfortunately I think I did not explain my problem correctly.

When I try to change the displayed icon, it works perfectly for some attempts. That is: If I want to show an apple as the icon and I place the apple image onto the "GET INFO" screen I do get the picture of an apple as the icon.

Often however if I place an image on the "GET INFO" screen; for example a PEAR; the icon that appears with the object is not a pear but is a rectangle with the letters "JPEG" and a very tiny image that happens to be the icon for preview.app. Restating: Instead of getting an icon that is a pear, the icon is a picture of JPEG plus a magnifying glass and 2 photos. That is the image for preview.app's icon.

Another problem that happens infrequently, that MAY be associated with the above is:
Sometimes I will get the representation for an object[the icon] as a transparent rectangle with the name of the object below the rectangle as normal. For this strange behavior there is no ICON displayed, just the text. Whether this is somehow the same problem is a mystery. I am able to fix that problem by pasting images onto the space where there should be an icon on the "Get INFO " screen.

I hope this helps explain my problem better than I did before.

Thank you very much for your response thus far.
 

vienna01

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You can also use a normal image that is saved by itself, and copy that into the clipboard, then paste it over the image in Get Info.
I have restated my problem in response to the first reply in this thread.
Yes, I understand that Using Command C is capturing/copying onto the clipboard and Command V is pasting from the clipboard.

When you say "can also use a normal image", what do you mean?
Do you mean a JPG or PNG file?
Yes, these file types often work for me as icons.
Thank you.
 

DeltaMac

Tech
(I wish I could explain this more clearly.)

Your file (.jpg, .png, .bmp, .gif, .bmp, .doc, .txt, etc., etc.) is whatever it is.
The icon for a particular file may not necessarily reflect what the file actually is.
If there is no custom icon, or the system for some reason doesn't know what the icon is, it will display a generic icon, determined by the file's type.
the icon is a picture of JPEG plus a magnifying glass and 2 photos. That is the image for preview.app's icon.
That guess is incorrect. The icon displayed is a generic icon used by the system to show (in this case) a .jpeg file, and is NOT the same as the Preview's app icon.
A .tiff or a .png file will NOT have the letters JPEG, but will have TIFF or PNG on the icon - because that is the file type.
The generic file icon LOOKS like the Preview app icon, but it's not.
The Preview app will display a lot of different file types, so Apple uses an app icon similar to the system's generic file icon for graphics files, probably because that's what the Preview app is mostly used for.

So, for your files, your OS X system tries its best to show an icon, either reflecting the file's type (the generic icon), or a preview of the file's content (a thumbnail, displayed as the file's icon), or, a custom icon for the file itself (if one exists). There may be other icons for a particular file that the system may also show. Sometimes, the system doesn't succeed in displaying the correct icon, for a variety of possible reasons.
In your case, the file does not accept a custom icon that you are trying to add to that file - probably because your system needs some maintenance. Might be helpful to rebuild the Launch Services database. That's very easy to do with a utility like OnyX. (Maintenance tab/Rebuild/LaunchServices, then click Execute). You will probably want to do other cleaning of the System and User caches. Again, OnyX does that quite easily.
 

vienna01

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Thank you DELTA MAC
I now understand what was happening.
Yes, I should have said it looks like the icon for preview.app.
Yes, it sometimes displays other text such as TIFF or PNG as you said.

What kind of file should I use so that the system will recognize it as an icon and therefore not display the generic icon with the text[jpeg,tiff,png etc]?

Is there a document, book or such that explains those kind of details about behavior of the OS[ such as how it handles icons it can't recognize].
I would like to start learning about those things.


Since I have asked this question, I won't close the thread yet-because I don't know if you are able to re-open it.
YOU HAVE PROVIDED THE DEFINITIVE ANSWER TO MY ORIGINAL POST
THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR SHARING YOUR EXPERTISE.
 

DeltaMac

Tech
I think that you should keep in mind that a file is not an icon (except those files that have the file-type of .icns, which are standard Apple icon images)
Searching out "how do I change a file's icon" will likely lead you in the right direction.

But, from what I see, if you can use preview to open, or view your graphics file, be it a .jpg or .tif or whatever, then you should be able to copy the file's icon, and paste it in the icon section of the get info window - or dragging the file to the icon section, as you first mentioned, should work, too.
SO - a good test is opening the file that you want to use in Preview, as a first test.
Also, rebuilding the Launch Services database, and then finally restarting your Mac.
I would always restart after redoing the Launch Services (LS), so those would be partners, so to speak.

To directly address your question about which files SHOULD you use, so the system will recognize the icon?
Use a file that works... :D

I'm not trying to be insensitive about your question - but, if you find a file that you want to use, and it doesn't work to paste an icon - then you need to try a different file (different icon)

Finally - always restart - and try the LS rebuild, as that's one of the primary processes that chooses which icon the system will display for a particular file type.
Anyway, try the restart, too, before you decide that a particular icon didn't work - You may find that the icon appears properly after the restart.........
 

vienna01

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Thank you very much. I will rebuild Launch Services. I will use the preview.app to test images to see that they can be used as icons.
You have been very helpful.
I am closing the thread now.
 
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