Creating recognizable icons is a supreme royal pain in the boo-tocks. There is no analytic Process to follow that consistently yields decent icons. All you have are some vague guidelines from the usual style guides (e.g., Windows and Mac), which cover more the graphic style of the icons than the semantics.
In my experience, if an immediately obvious icon doesn’t pop to mind, then there is no naturally intuitive icon for your users. This means highly effective icons are pretty much limited to standard icons that everyone has memorized (such as the floppy disk to mean Save), and icons for concepts very closely related to physical objects and attributes (e.g., a printer image to mean Printer Properties or a red rectangle to mean “color this red”). Otherwise, any icon you come up with, even after substantial research and testing, is probably going to have mediocre performance at best.
For most things in the UI, it’s best to use icons to reinforce what the text labels say, not serve as the primary label by themselves. Be satisfied with an icon image that is vaguely associated with the concept. The icon’s greatest potential usability benefit is to help experienced users more quickly recognize the action or object. For this purpose, it’s more important to have distinct icons than meaningful ones. This means the right icon depends on the other icons it will be seen with. For example, a printer icon for Printer Properties will be problematic if you also need an icon for Print Document. Generally there is no one “good icon for Feature X.”
If you must create icons with recognizable meanings for inexperienced users, then you must iteratively test them on your users. For the most part, I see little point in going on a web site like this and asking, “What’s a good icon for Feature X?” and picking the one with the most votes (unless maybe one answer has some actual testing behind it). Instead, take a bunch of suggested icons from various sources and test them all systematically. Test each in the context of other icons that will appear with it. Test for both recognizing the meaning of the icon and recognizing what it’s supposed to be a picture of. Be prepared to go through multiple iterations for some icon designs just to get the picture right.
And I don’t envy you.