Rebuild Icon Cache, Clear Thumbnail cache in Windows 10

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 in on your Windows 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 10.

Rebuild Icon Cache in Windows 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 Windows 8.1 onwards. In Windows 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 and delete the hidden IconCache.db file. Reboot. This action would purge and rebuild the icon cache.

But this is not enough in Windows 10 or Windows 8.1. You will have to navigate to the following folder:

C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer

Rebuild Icon cache in Windows 10

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 theme, 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.

icon-cache

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.

run-cmd

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

Clear Thumbnail cache in Windows 10

This will rebuild your icon cache in Windows 10.

TIP: See how you can stop Windows 10 from deleting Thumbnail cache on every shutdown, restart or boot.

Clear Thumbnail cache in Windows 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.

Windows 10 users may want to use Thumbnail and Icon Cache Rebuilder, which lets you purge and rebuild Thumbnail & Icon Cache in a click.

If your desktop or explorer icons load slowly when they start the Windows PC, you may want to increase Icon Cache size and see if it helps you. This post will show you how you can stop Windows 10 from automatically deleting Thumbnail cache. See this post if your Desktops icons are slow to load.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.

25 Comments

  1. Domingo Gómez

    Thanks very much! I’ve been a few hours searching for a solution but your automatic method solved it! You are the best!

  2. guizao03

    i don’t have the explorer folder

  3. Elio Bou Kanaan

    Hello I have done as you said to rebuild the icon cache and thumb cache but I didn’t see the IconCacheToDelete folder appearing; I was just able to delete them directly. Is that normal?

    PS: I can’t find the iconcache.db in the users appdata either

  4. Chuck

    Good job! I still had to change security settings and ownership on a few icons to get them to display their icons, but that wasn’t working before I did this. Thank you!

    P.S. I noted that those two iconcache files (*_16.db and *_idx.db) would not delete, even from the elevated cmd prompt (as your image showed), but it still worked.

  5. phinn

    This doesn’t work at all. All I see is “access denied” all the way down the street in CMD and yes I’m running as administrator.

  6. phinn

    Wow… between running this and CCleaner on the same reboot it’s actually fixed.

  7. Heather

    It’s called File Explorer (formerly Windows Explorer, depending on Windows version). Try searching for it. Once you find it, put it on your Desktop or Taskbar. I use mine all the time so I keep it close.

  8. This didn’t work. Even from the command line, Windows won’t let me delete those files.

  9. Tobias

    I’ve got the same issue, I was not able to delete those files.
    I just tried this rebuilder and it did not work either, still got a lot of blank thumbnails.

  10. Zu Zu

    I had one particular icon that kept blanking itself. Following your instructions involving the command line fixed it. Pleasantly surprised.

  11. Tom Bunyon

    This fixed my Start Menu’s folder icons.

  12. Jay Rodney R Besario

    how or is it possible to convert is to .bat ?

    cd /d %userprofile%AppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsExplorer
    attrib –h
    thumbcache_*.db
    del thumbcache_*.db
    start explorer

    also why always ” access denied ”

  13. L1Q

    Now this is real usefull. Thanks!

  14. Bob Kingsley

    Your little icon rebuilding program has fixed a long-standing problem (i.e. several l-o-n-g months!) on my Win10 PC – folders not displaying properly, never finishing a refresh, eventually becoming unresponsive and requiring a File Explorer restart via Task Manager, usually with no improvement. I ran the program, rebooted – and hey presto! Folders load faster than ever before, and the processor’s no longer running under such a heavy load all the time! Brilliant! Thanks so much 🙂 Recommended to all my Facebook friends!

  15. Bob Kingsley

    Further to my above post, some clarification: after a day or so, it started happening again. I found the ultimate culprit to be my remote backup service Carbonite, which by default overlays the icons of the files it’s backed up with little dots to indicate the backup state. Disabling this “feature” has now cured the problem completely – it’s not happened again since I disabled it, and then cleared the icon and thumbnail caches using your handy tool 🙂

  16. Sky Lee

    It is not working. Access denied while run the 2 scripts.

  17. Derek Lyons

    this was great helped alot was thinking my pc was messed up for a minute

  18. Tammi

    I just used the procedure you described to rebuild my icon cache in Windows 10. Worked like a charm. I was a bit nervous since I really don’t know anything about computers. But those little red x’s were driving me crazy on every icon. Thanks for the great advice.

  19. Thank you! Could you please also educate us on how to make windows 10 work like windows workgroup of the old days, ie. without constant denial of access to critical networked folder and need to reconfigure security etc? 2) Can you show us how to whitelist a bunch of 20 office computers so that they don’t look for security problems on each one , everytime we try to access a file inside a shared folder? Sorry…Each iteration of windows and each of the “Creators Updates” brings in a fresh harvest of connectivity problems in windows

  20. uesr

    hello sir.
    i have a problem with my desktop icons.
    it only shows the text but there is no icons. however the text is still clickable.
    i have tried the method on this page but it does not work.
    can u help me sir?

  21. uesr

    nevermind sir. i have been trying a lot of stuff and fix but they did not work for me.
    but then, it fixed itself yesterday when i was simply switching from medium icon size to large size and to medium again.
    to anyone who has the same problem n fixes are not working, can try this method.
    hopefully it will sort out

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