Windows Icons are Missing

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Have you ever noticed that one or more of your Windows icons are missing, either on your desktop, start menu, task bar or notification bar? Me too! What the heck happened?

The short answer is that the Icon database file has become corrupt and thus Windows can't display the icons.

So, is there a way to make the icons reappear? The answer is YES, but with a few caveats. You have to be a computer gru (just kidding). However, you do need to be able to follow instructions and understand a few technical words and most of all, have patients (it's really not that bad). If you're a computer geek like me, this is pretty easy.

For Windows 10

Thanks to Windows 10 Forums for the answer.

  1. Close and save anything that you are working on before proceeding.
  2. Open a command prompt
    1. The easiest way is to type "cmd" in the search dialog box. There are other ways to do this.
  3. Type or copy and paste each command below one at a time into the command prompt, and press Enter after each command.
    1. ie4uinit.exe -ClearIconCache
    2. taskkill /IM explorer.exe /F
    3. DEL "%localappdata%\IconCache.db" /A
    4. shutdown /r /f /t 00

Here is the explanation of the commands

  1. ie4uinit.exe is an executable program file and it is known as the Internet Explorer repair tool.
  2. taskkill is a Microsoft OS process that you can call to kill other processes, in this case explorer.exe
  3. DEL is a command that deletes files/directories, in this case the IconCache database
  4. shutdown is a command that shuts down the computer.

For Windows 7

Thanks to Forums Overclockers I found this answer and it worked foe me.

  1. Close all folder windows that are currently open.
  2. Launch the Windows Task Manager (three ways and more to do this)
    1. Press the CTRL+SHIFT+ESC key sequences on your keyboard
    2. Right click the task bar and choose "Task Manager"
    3. Click on the Start Menu then choose Run then type in "taskmgr.exe."
  3. In the Task Manager Dialog box, click on the Process tab, then scroll around and find the "explorer.exe" process and right-click on it and select End Process.
  4. Click the End process button if asked for confirmation.
  5. From the File menu of Task Manager, select New Task (Run…)
  6. Click on the Start Menu again then choose Run and Type CMD.EXE to open the command prompt and click OK.
  7. In the Command Prompt window, type the following commands one by one and press ENTER after each command:

CD /d %userprofile%\AppData\Local (hit the enter key)
DEL IconCache.db /a (hit the enter key)
EXIT (hit the enter key)

  1. In Task Manager, click File, select New Task (Run…)
  2. Type EXPLORER.EXE, and click OK.