General Rebuild Icon Cache in Windows 11


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configuration_banner.png

The icons that display for files in Windows are saved in an icon cache so they can be displayed quickly instead of having to manually scan and slowly load them each time.

The icon cache can sometimes become corrupted causing the icons of files to display incorrectly or distorted. When this happens, the icon cache needs to be deleted to reset and automatically recreate it.

Rebuilding the icon cache will not help with the following icon issues:
  • The icon of a shortcut not displaying properly due to the target source of the shortcut was moved or deleted. You may need to recreate a new shortcut directly from the source (ex: program's exe) file to replace it instead.
  • All icons for a specific file extension display the wrong icon. This may be due to setting the wrong association for what app to open the file type instead. If so, restoring the default association of the file extension will fix this issue.
  • Thumbnails of pictures, videos, and documents.
This tutorial will show you how to rebuild the icon cache to clear and reset it for your account in Windows 10 and Windows 11.


Contents






OPTION ONE

Refresh Icons using Command


1 Open Windows Terminal, and select either Windows PowerShell or Command Prompt.

2 Copy and paste the ie4uinit.exe -show command into Windows Terminal, and press Enter. (see screenshot below)

3 If the refresh doesn't sort the icons, you can try Option Two or Option Three.

ie4uinit.exe-show.png






OPTION TWO

Rebuild Icon Cache using BAT file


1 Click/tap on the download button below to download the BAt file below.

Rebuild_Icon_Cache.bat


(Content of BAT file for reference)
Code:
@echo off
set iconcache=%localappdata%\IconCache.db
set iconcache_x=%localappdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer\iconcache*

echo.
echo The explorer process must be temporarily killed before deleting the IconCache.db file.
echo.
echo Please SAVE ALL OPEN WORK before continuing.
echo.
pause
echo.
If exist "%iconcache%" goto delete
echo.
echo The %localappdata%\IconCache.db file has already been deleted.
echo.
If exist "%iconcache_x%" goto delete
echo.
echo The %localappdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer\IconCache_*.db files have already been deleted.
echo.
exit /B


:delete
echo.
echo Attempting to delete IconCache.db files...
echo.
ie4uinit.exe -show
taskkill /IM explorer.exe /F
If exist del /A /F /Q "%iconcache%"
If exist del /A /F /Q "%iconcache_x%"
start explorer.exe
echo.
echo IconCache database files have been successfully deleted.
goto restart


:restart
echo.
echo.
echo You will need to restart the PC to finish rebuilding your icon cache.
echo.
CHOICE /C:YN /M "Do you want to restart the PC now?"
IF ERRORLEVEL 2 goto no
IF ERRORLEVEL 1 goto yes

:yes
shutdown /r /f /t 00

:no
exit /B

2 Save the BAT file to your desktop.

3 Save and close anything that you are working on before proceeding. The next steps will involve killing the explorer process and restarting the PC.

4 Unblock and run the BAT file.

5 Follow the instructions in the command prompt to rebuild the icon cache. If you do not restart the PC now, you will need to later to finish rebuilding the icon cache. (see screenshot below)

reset_icon_cache.png

6 If the icons are still not displaying properly after rebuilding the icon cache, then download and merge the .reg file for the .ico (ICO) option here to restore the default associations of .ico (icon) files in Windows.





OPTION THREE

Rebuild Icon Cache in Command Prompt


1 Close and save anything that you are working on before proceeding. The next steps will involve killing explorer and restarting the PC.

2 Open Windows Terminal, and select Command Prompt.

3 Copy and paste each command below one at a time into Windows Terminal, and press Enter after each command.

ie4uinit.exe -show

taskkill /IM explorer.exe /F

DEL /A /Q "%localappdata%\IconCache.db"

DEL /A /F /Q "%localappdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer\iconcache*"

shutdown /r /f /t 00

The last command will instantly restart the computer.


4 If the icons are still not displaying properly after rebuilding the icon cache, then download and merge the .reg file for the .ico (ICO) option here to restore the default associations of .ico (icon) files in Windows.


That's it,
Shawn Brink


 

Attachments

  • configuration.png
    configuration.png
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  • Rebuild_Icon_Cache.bat
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Wisewiz

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@Brink

Hi :giggle:

I've looked at the bat file for W10 and this one for W11, and I see no difference at all. Am I missing sthg, or does the rebuilding process work exactly the same way in both 10 and 11?

Thanks,

Dan
 

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@Brink

Hi :giggle:

I've looked at the bat file for W10 and this one for W11, and I see no difference at all. Am I missing sthg, or does the rebuilding process work exactly the same way in both 10 and 11?

Thanks,

Dan

Hello Dan, :-)

Correct. It's the same process as in Windows 10.
 

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ege914

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Can i recommend alternative way, First one is for Windows 11 and Windows 10 , second one is for lower windows versions:

ie4uinit.exe -show
ie4uinit.exe -ClearIconCache
 

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TizianoMad

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Here's the similar method I've been using for years which has been working great for clearing the cache manually, without restarting the system.



Manually Clear Icon & Thumbnail Cache :

  • Run the "Command Prompt" as administrator (in the [Search box], type "cmd").
  • Paste each command line -separately- and validate with [Enter]except the last one.
    Code:
    cd /d %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer
    attrib –h iconcache_*.db
    del iconcache_*.db
  • You will have to end the Windows Explorer processbefore validating this last command.
  • Make sure all File Explorer windows are closed, and open the "Task Manager" by pressing [Ctrl+Shift+Esc] simultaneously.
  • Scroll down the list until you reach all [Windows Explorer] process.
  • Select it/them, right-click and choose [End Task] : "It's going to be all dark!"
  • Close the "Task Manager".
  • Now validate the last del iconcache_*.db command, then close the "Command Prompt" window.
  • Access the "Task Manager" again with [Ctrl+Shift+Esc] keys, click on [File], [Run new task] then type "explorer.exe" and [Enter].
  • Light's back on ! Close the "Task Manager".


System icons are updated, but I'm not sure it includes the full windows app icons.
Most 3rd party apps seem to have their own icon cache file stored separately, and not necessarily next to their .exe file.
 

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atinfo

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I have some portable apps pinned to Start. They are on drive "D", which is encrypted (BitLocker). Auto unlock is disabled, and I do unlock the drive manually. This rebuild bat file works until I restart Windows and the icons appear as a blank icon after login (restart).

AIMP (portable) icon has never got this problem because its custom icon is on drive "C" (I have made an ICL file on drive "C" for some apps and folders). But I don't use a custom icon for these two apps (they use their original icons from their original path, drive "D").

I don't know why Windows doesn't cache these two apps' icon (NP++ and MS Paint Classic)!

ss1.png


I use a script (from WinHelpOnline), and it doesn't need a Windows restart. It sometimes works!
 

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  • Rebuild Icon Cache Script.zip
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Brink

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Hello @atinfo, :-)

It appears the icons will not show for the apps since they are located on a locked BitLocker encrypted drive.

I'm not sure why it doesn't keep the icon in the cache either. As a test, you could see if increasing the icon cache size below may help if it's not a security feature causing them not to be cached.

 

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atinfo

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Hello @Brink,

I have already done it with WinaeroTweaker. No difference.

ss2.png
 

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Brink

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Hello @Brink,

I have already done it with WinaeroTweaker. No difference.

In that case, it's probably by design since it's on an encrypted drive. It appears you'll need to have the drive automatically unlock to keep the icons showing.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom self build
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2 x Samsung Odyssey G75 27"
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 990 PRO M.2,
    1TB Samsung 980 PRO M.2,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    Seasonic Prime Titanium 850W
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    Thermaltake Core P3 wall mounted
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    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    1 Gbps Download and 35 Mbps Upload
    Browser
    Google Chrome
    Antivirus
    Microsoft Defender and Malwarebytes Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Motorola MB8611 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G phone
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Spectre x360 2in1
    CPU
    i7-1065G7 3.9 GHz
    Memory
    16 GB LPDDR4-3200
    Graphics card(s)
    Intel Iris Plus
    Sound Card
    Intel SST
    Monitor(s) Displays
    13.3" 4K UWVA AMOLED multitouch
    Screen Resolution
    3840 x 2160
    Hard Drives
    512 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
    Browser
    Google Chrome
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    Windows Defender and Malwarebytes Premium

atinfo

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In that case, it's probably by design since it's on an encrypted drive. It appears you'll need to have the drive automatically unlock to keep the icons showing.
Thanks. I think I have to add their icons to my ICL icon file on drive "C" and assign their icons from this file.
 

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Brink

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Thanks. I think I have to add their icons to my ICL icon file on drive "C" and assign their icon from this file.
That should do the trick.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom self build
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2 x Samsung Odyssey G75 27"
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 990 PRO M.2,
    1TB Samsung 980 PRO M.2,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    Seasonic Prime Titanium 850W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3 wall mounted
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    1 Gbps Download and 35 Mbps Upload
    Browser
    Google Chrome
    Antivirus
    Microsoft Defender and Malwarebytes Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Motorola MB8611 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G phone
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Spectre x360 2in1
    CPU
    i7-1065G7 3.9 GHz
    Memory
    16 GB LPDDR4-3200
    Graphics card(s)
    Intel Iris Plus
    Sound Card
    Intel SST
    Monitor(s) Displays
    13.3" 4K UWVA AMOLED multitouch
    Screen Resolution
    3840 x 2160
    Hard Drives
    512 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
    Browser
    Google Chrome
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender and Malwarebytes Premium

StefanM

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ie4uinit.exe -show worked fine for me in Windows 10, but in Windows 11 so far I was only successful with methods involving shutting down explorer.exe.

BUT I NEVER NEEDED TO RESTART MY PC

This is my batch file that works in Windows 10 and 11:

Taskkill /IM explorer.exe /F
CD /d %userprofile%\AppData\Local
DEL IconCache.db /a
start explorer.exe

But can you help me by providing a working solution for Windows 11 which does not require killing explorer.exe?

The reason is, that when I kill explorer.exe some tray icons will disappear and won't come back before the next restart. This includes COMODO Internet Security tray icon.
 

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Brink

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Hello @StefanM, and welcome. :alien:

You can check COMODO's and other's settings to see if they may have a setting to always show their notification icon and not just when run at startup.

Otherwise, you should be able to manually run the apps to have their notification icon show again without having to restart.
 

My Computers

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  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
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    Custom self build
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2 x Samsung Odyssey G75 27"
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 990 PRO M.2,
    1TB Samsung 980 PRO M.2,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    Seasonic Prime Titanium 850W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3 wall mounted
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    1 Gbps Download and 35 Mbps Upload
    Browser
    Google Chrome
    Antivirus
    Microsoft Defender and Malwarebytes Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Motorola MB8611 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G phone
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Spectre x360 2in1
    CPU
    i7-1065G7 3.9 GHz
    Memory
    16 GB LPDDR4-3200
    Graphics card(s)
    Intel Iris Plus
    Sound Card
    Intel SST
    Monitor(s) Displays
    13.3" 4K UWVA AMOLED multitouch
    Screen Resolution
    3840 x 2160
    Hard Drives
    512 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
    Browser
    Google Chrome
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender and Malwarebytes Premium

StefanM

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Hello @Brink and thanks for the prompt reply.
All other apps I can manually restart, but not COMODO Internet Security.
That's why I need a solution for restoring those icons without the need for killing explorer.exe.
With COMODO it is not a notification icon. It is needed for any settings regarding firewall, antivirus, containment, ...

Any ideas how to get ie4uinit.exe running in Windows 11?
Any other switches I could try, maybe?
There is no help for ie4uinit.exe I could see in CMD.

Or an answer to why it isn't running properly in Windows 11?

Thanks and best regards,
Stefan
 

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Brink

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Hello @Brink and thanks for the prompt reply.
All other apps I can manually restart, but not COMODO Internet Security.
That's why I need a solution for restoring those icons without the need for killing explorer.exe.
With COMODO it is not a notification icon. It is needed for any settings regarding firewall, antivirus, containment, ...

Any ideas how to get ie4uinit.exe running in Windows 11?
Any other switches I could try, maybe?
There is no help for ie4uinit.exe I could see in CMD.

Or an answer to why it isn't running properly in Windows 11?

Thanks and best regards,
Stefan

I'm not sure either then other than to use option 2 or 3 that would restart the computer.
 

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    Motherboard
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StefanM

New member
Local time
10:22 PM
Posts
3
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OS
Windows 11 Pro
@Brink
Well, Windows 10 and 11, both, cure the problem automatically by re-assigning the corresponding icons to those shortcuts after some time. But...
...this can be one hour, and it also can be 24 hours.

Anyway, if I would know, how Windows does this job or how I could make Windows do that job...

One 'work around' would be to save all those icons to a folder located on the system volume and assign those icons to the corresponding desktop shortcuts permanently.

Another option would be a script or a batch file which kind of 'overwrites' those shortcuts with new ones, once the external drive with those apps has been mounted.

Simple re-assignment of those icons hasn't worked for me, yet. Unless I find a way, some day...

There are quite a few more options.

But what actually is needed, is resetting/rebuilding the icon cache without killing explorer.exe, without those side effects that is.

Thanks anyway for your input. Maybe you'll find a solution sooner than me!?!?
Then, just let me know.

Best regards,
Stefan
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
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