Windows users want to feel pretty too!
December 14, 2005 1:37 PM   Subscribe

Help me get pretty icons like the Mac people have. So there's this set of icons that's OSX only. I use XP. I've got an unzipper, and I've got a converter. But I don't know what I'm doing wrong, or if it's even possible for me to convert them without access to a Mac.

I can open the .sit file the icons are in just fine, but it will not unzip. The icons are stored in individual folders, with a .ds_store file but I can't figure out what the extension is. Here's what it looks like in Stuffit. Am I SOL? Do I need to beg favors from Mac friends to convert them for me? I just want my desktop to be all shiny like the Mac peoples'.
posted by calistasm to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) looks like these guys might be able to help you...for a fee, of course.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:07 PM on December 14, 2005

That converter has documentation about converting from Mac to Windows -- have you tried what it says?

Here's some background. It looks like the originator of that file made a folder, then added a custom icon to it. On the Mac, the icon itself is stored in the resource fork of the "Icon[CR]" file inside of the folder. Typically this file is invisible.

(The last character at the end of the filename is actually a carriage return... seems stupid, but it must have made sense to somebody at the time. This mechanism dates back to MacOS 8 or perhaps even 7.)

So you need to get the Icon[CR] file out of the .sit archive, then open it with your software (if it will let you).
posted by xil at 3:08 PM on December 14, 2005

Try WinZip (link to free trial) instead of Stuffit to unzip your files, assuming they're not corrupt.
Other utilities that might be of use, once you've opened up your icon image files, are IconDeveloper or IconPackager.
posted by rob511 at 3:12 PM on December 14, 2005

If you can post a link to the icon set, I'd be willing to convert it straight away to pngs or icos for you so you could at least use the icons while you figure out how to get to them through Windows.
posted by SemiSophos at 3:30 PM on December 14, 2005

I think xli has it -- what you need to research is a way to recover the resource fork for Windows.

This page seems to indicate that Stuffit can do this for you, but it is pretty vague about it. (And it looks like you may be at that point now).

This page will give you an idea of what the heck a resource fork is.

It looks like all you need to do is open the Icon^M file, as xli says. Rename it, if at all possible. When developing an icon file on the Mac, before it goes into the resource fork, it looks like the extension used is "icns." Thus, you might see if you can rename the file "Icon.icns" and see if you can open that.

But I'm not sure if that "^M" (carriage return) will give Windows fits -- they can be a real pain in the ass to deal with on Unix.

Another note, on the site IconFactory, some of their icon packages, which are primarily intended for the Mac, come in Windows-friendly formats.

I'm not an expert on this stuff, but have bumped into it before and have always been curious, so I'm just giving some of what I've found online.
posted by teece at 5:24 PM on December 14, 2005

When developing an icon file on the Mac, before it goes into the resource fork, it looks like the extension used is "icns." Thus, you might see if you can rename the file "Icon.icns" and see if you can open that.

This won't work. The format of a resource fork and an .icns file are completely different. The latter is quite old (going back to the original Mac OS), but .icns files were new with OS X.
posted by xil at 5:29 PM on December 14, 2005

argh. The former is quite old.
posted by xil at 5:30 PM on December 14, 2005

Best answer: Here's my tutorial on how to convert OS X icons to Windows format, using all free applications.

In addition, here's the official tutorial on how to do this posted at the Aqua-Soft forums. (Aqua-Soft is a community for Windows users who enjoy making their PCs look like Macs via themes, icons, and other mods—so you might want to check out the site just in general.)

For both tutorials, you should make sure you get Stuffit Expander 7.5—available free here. If you don't use that version, you won't be able to properly open/convert all the files you get.

Let me know if you have any further questions—I've been converting Mac icons for several years. You can see how to contact me via the site listed in my profile, or just comment again in this thread.
posted by limeonaire at 5:36 PM on December 14, 2005

Response by poster: Holy shit it worked. Thank you, limeonaire! For some reason, the extraction works only when drag-and-drop mode is enabled in Stuffit Expander. Otherwise, it just makes 0-byte files that are not very icon-y. I am a happy camper, and my computer is all spiffed up.
posted by calistasm at 2:10 AM on December 15, 2005

Well, there's this, too.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:41 AM on December 15, 2005

Yay. Glad to help.
posted by limeonaire at 8:49 AM on December 15, 2005

Or even more germane, this.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:15 AM on December 18, 2005

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