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Broken or missing icons in Windows 7/8


Q. Some of my Windows icons have disappeared and look like the default application icon. How can I fix this?

Here's an example of what it looks like:

windows 7 broken icon

A. This happens because the icon cache gets corrupted. There are several ways to fix this:

Solution #1:

1) Right-click on the desktop and select "Screen Resolution"

2) Under "Advanced Settings" select "Monitor" tab. In the colords drop down select a value other than what you have now (so if it is "True Color 32 bit" select "True Color 16 bit" and vice-versa).

3) Click "Ok" and and the icons should restore themselves.

4) Once the icons appear, you can repeat the steps 1-3 and revert back to whatever value you've had initially.

Solution #2:

You can also just delete the icons database:

1) Open Windows Explorer window and go to: %HOMEPATH%\AppData\Local

2) Right click on IconCache.db and click on "Delete".

3) (As recommended by Adrian): Start the task manager (ctrl + Shift + Esc) and kill explorer.exe process, then re-run it again


Comments (17)
Monitor Color Reset Worked!
17 Monday, 21 March 2022 13:11
I struggled and struggled with different methods to restore my desktop icons/the corrupted ones.
I used #2 method 1st. It did not work at all.
Switching the Monitor Color Mode back/forth did the trick.
Thank you it works
16 Friday, 03 December 2021 21:55
Thank you it works
It Didnt work
15 Thursday, 15 October 2020 20:19
thank you anyway...
thank you
14 Sunday, 27 September 2020 21:12
thank you
I started with the second solution. It helped immediately. Thank you.
Missing Icon
13 Wednesday, 09 September 2020 01:41
set to 32 bit color --> it work for me

thank ya....
Missing and/or corrupted destop icons
12 Saturday, 29 August 2020 20:44
Gary 7
Use "Syste Restore" it works everytime!
Solution #1: win 7
11 Friday, 22 November 2019 19:54
worked for me but cant go back to 32 bit w/o losing the icons again so will just live w/o em :)
Adrian is right!
10 Monday, 06 May 2019 08:57
ok how to do it in order.

1. del iconcache.db
2. open task manager
3. kill explorer.exe
4. still on task manager, file -> new task (run..)
5. type "explorer" and hit enter.
Icon Fix
9 Friday, 05 April 2019 22:21
I have windows 8.2 I found the above listed guides didn't work. I don't have 16 bit mode, nor do I have the iconcache.db. Here's what I did

1. Right click the broken icon
2. Select properties
3. Select Change Icon at the bottom of the options in the shortcut tab
4. Select the default icon from the pop up
5. Click OK
6. Click Apply

Broken or missing icons in Windows 7
8 Monday, 18 February 2019 18:26
Deleting iconcache and restarting does not work,
DONT REBOOT, nothing will happen, instead, after deleting iconcache.db start the task manager (ctrl + Shift + Esc) then kill explorer.exe process then re run it again.

after deleting iconcache.db start the task manager (ctrl + Shift + Esc) and del explorer.exe process,
click file, new task, type explorer and press enter,
does work
Worked for me
7 Thursday, 17 January 2019 09:06
R. Thomas
I had one bad icon. Changing the color from 32-bit to 16-bit and back again worked for me.
"then rerun it again"
6 Tuesday, 09 October 2018 09:14
What does that mean? I killed explorer.exe and everything but the windows I have up went away. What do I do now?
5 Saturday, 17 March 2018 03:42
David Roganson
Adrian's comment is the solution. Follow option 2 above, then do what Adrian said. Works March 2018, Windows 7 Ultimate. Thanks again Adrian!!!!
4 Sunday, 09 April 2017 10:03
if nothing of those solutions work then its a registry issue,
u can fix those easily with CC Cleaner, find a cracked version then go to registry in the program, scan and fix, then ctrl alt delete, find explorer.exe close it, then run> explorer and everything would be fine!
It Didn't Work...
3 Friday, 24 June 2016 09:42
I tried both solutions. Neither works. The first solution blacked my computer out for about 10 seconds and scared me. The changes did not stick at all. I have an Iconcache file but not Iconcache.db. I deleted it and restarted and the Icon was still b roken and the database file was back the next day.

There seems to be no way around resolving this weird issue. I also tried change icon and browse but I do not have a systems file at all and have ZERO options to change the Icon. NOTHING works. So frustrating. Not your fault at all.

Thanks for all your help though. My computer is just set up weirdly. I have Dell Latitude E4300 and it seems to have been built upside down lacking many features that it ABSOLUTELY NEEDS. Shame on the Developers.
Missing or Default Icons
2 Friday, 25 March 2016 05:59
Stephen Butler
Please help me:
I needed space on my C: drive (an SSD) so I cut the Windows\Installer file, pasted it to D: drive, did what I needed to do with the extra space (install a program) and copied the Installer file back. No problem, I thought, until I discovered that all the icons for Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat, Nero, Skype, Itunes and a few others were all gone and replaced with generic ones. I have tried all the fixes listed above and still the same. I even deleted all the User Choice registry keys from each and every file association with no luck. Any suggestions would be gratefully received. With thanks Stephen
Do not reboot.
1 Thursday, 27 November 2014 08:36
DONT REBOOT, nothing will happen, instead, after deleting iconcache.db start the task manager (ctrl + Shift + Esc) then kill explorer.exe process then re run it again

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