If icons in your Windows 10 File Explorer look strange or broken, your icon cache might have become corrupt. This issue is very common for all Windows versions. In this article we will see what to do to fix broken icons and reset the icon cache.
To show icons faster, Windows caches them into a file. This special file contains icons for many apps and file types, so File Explorer doesn't need to extract the icons for known file extensions and apps. This allows File Explorer to work faster, but it has an annoying side effect. If the cache ever gets corrupted, Windows displays wrong icons. Some files in File Explorer and the Desktop can stop showing the right icons or get a blank "unknown file type" icon. Some shortcuts can display the incorrect icons. To fix this, you need to reset the icon cache.
Edit: there is a better way to reset the icon cache and fix broken icons. Read this article:
Unfortunately, there is no special button or option in Windows 10 to rebuild the icon cache. Despite this being a fairly common issue, Microsoft didn't provide any tool bundled with the operating system to fix it. To reset the icon cache in Windows 10, there are two methods available:
Option one. Delete the corrupted icon cache in Windows 10
- The icon cache file is hidden in Windows so if you have set hidden and system files to not show, you will have to show them. To do this, open Control Panel.
- Then, open Folder Options and go to the View tab. Select the option Show hidden files, folders and drives. Also uncheck the option Hide protected operating system files. Then click OK and close Control Panel.
- Press the Win+R keys together on your keyboard to open the Run dialog.
- In the Run dialog type %localappdata% and press Enter.
- Your local app data folder (C:\Users\<your user name>\AppData\Local) will open. Locate the iconcache.db file. Delete this file.
- Now restart the Explorer shell or log off and log on again.
You are done with the first method. If a logoff does not work, try restarting Windows after deleting Iconcache.db. However, your problem might be that the icon cache file on disk is not corrupted but Windows is still showing incorrect icons because it loaded the wrong icons in memory. In that case, try the next option.
Option two. Reset the in-memory icon cache in Windows 10 with a small freeware app
We will use a third party tool especially designed to refresh the shell icon cache.
- Download Winaero Tweaker.
- Run it and go to Tools\Reset Icon Cache:
- Now every time you want to refresh the icon cache, click the button "Reset Icon Cache".
Tell us in the comments which method worked for you or if you know of another way to fix corrupt icons. Note that despite these methods, your Windows 10 Start Menu might continue to not show some icons for desktop apps. This is a known problem with the Windows 10 Start Menu. On a number of systems, we have seen that the Start Menu shows blank/empty white icons for desktop shortcuts.
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