If your icons appear blank or look corrupted or do not refresh correctly, when they should, then it is quite possible that your icon cache database may have become corrupted on your Windows 11/10 PC. The same thing applies to Thumbnails too. If they do not display correctly, then they may have become corrupted. In such a scenario, you may need to delete the cache files in order to rebuild the Icon cache and clear the Thumbnail cache.
This post will show you the location of these cache files so that you can delete IconCache.db and thumbcache.db files, in order to rebuild the Icon cache and clear the Thumbnail cache in Windows 11/10.
Rebuild Icon Cache in Windows 11/10
The Icon Cache or IconCache.db is a special database file that Windows utilizes to keep copies of each icon handy. When Windows needs to draw an icon, it uses the copy from the cache instead of retrieving the icon image from the original application file. This helps in making Windows draw the icons faster. Things were different in Windows XP, and they are different in Windows 7/8. Things changed again from Windows 8.1 onwards. In Windows 11/10, you need to do the following.
If you needed to rebuild the Icon Cache in Windows 7/8, you needed to do the following:
- Open File Explorer > Folder Options > Views to show Hidden System Files.
- Next, go to C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local folder
- Delete the hidden IconCache.db file. Reboot.
- This action would purge and rebuild the icon cache.
But this is not enough in Windows 11, Windows 10 or Windows 8.1. You will have to navigate to the following folder:
Here you will see a lot of files like iconcache_32.db, iconcache_48.db, iconcache_96.db, iconcache_256.db, iconcache_1024.db, iconcache_1280.db, iconcache_1600.db, iconcache_1920.db, iconcache_2560.db, iconcache_exif.db, iconcache_idx.db, iconcache_sr.db, iconcache_wide.dd, iconcache_wide_alternate.db, etc.
Delete them all to purge and rebuild your icon cache in Windows 10. If you were to be able to delete some of them, you would now be able to see a new folder created named IconcacheToDelete, which will disappear when you reboot your computer or restart Windows File Explorer.
If you find that you are unable to delete these files, do the following.
First, close all open programs. Next, open Task Manager, look for the process Windows Explorer, right-click on it and select End process. Next, from the File menu > select Run new task. Type cmd.exe, check the Create this task with administrative privileges box and press Enter.
This will open an elevated command prompt window.
Now type the following commands one after the other and hit Enter:
cd /d %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer attrib –h iconcache_*.db del iconcache_*.db start explorer
This will rebuild your icon cache in Windows 11/10.
TIP: See how you can stop Windows from deleting the Thumbnail cache on every shutdown, restart or boot.
Clear Thumbnail cache in Windows 11/10
Windows Thumbnail cache or Thumbs.db files are hidden data-files in the Windows operating system, which contain small images, displayed when you view a folder in “thumbnail” view, as opposed to tile, icon, list, or detail view. Windows keeps a copy of all your pictures, video and document thumbnails so that they can be displayed quickly when you open a folder. In Windows XP you see these ‘hidden’ files thumbs.db files scattered all over the place. In Windows Vista and later, the thumbnails ‘thumbcache’ are stored at C:\Users\Owner\AppData\Local\Microsoft Windows\Explorer – which is the same where the icon cache files are stored.
If you want to delete and clear the Thumbnail cache, you will have to follow the same procedure as mentioned above, but finally, use these commands:
cd /d %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer attrib –h thumbcache_*.db del thumbcache_*.db start explorer
Please let us know if this worked for you and helped you resolve your problem.
TIP: FixWin 11 for Windows 11/10 lets you reset the thumbnail cache. You will find the fix under the System fixes tab.
Windows 10 users may want to use Thumbnail and Icon Cache Rebuilder, which lets you purge and rebuild Thumbnail & Icon Cache in a click.