Loading any PNG resource as an hIcon. Vista introduced PNG encoding for icons. There is an API that will convert PNGs to valid hIcon handles. API Declaration follows:
Private Declare Function CreateIconFromResourceEx Lib "user32.dll" ( _
pbIconBits As Any, ByVal cbSize As Long, ByVal fIcon As Long, _
ByVal dwVersion As Long, ByVal cxDesired As Long, _
ByVal cyDesired As Long, ByVal uFlags As Long) As Long
Let's say you have the entire PNG image format in a zero-bound byte array, maybe loaded from file or form a resource, or within an actual ICO/CUR file. The API only needs to know where in the byte array that the PNG format begins. No icon directory or other icon header information is required.
hIcon = CreateIconFromResourceEx(pngData(0), UBound(pngData) + 1, 1, &H30000, 0, 0, 0)
Of course, you would destroy the hIcon when it is no longer needed.