Purge & rebuild the Icon Cache in Windows 8/7

If you find that one or more of your icons are not displaying correctly, or that your Icon Cache is corrupted, you might want to rebuild the Icon Cache. 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.

Rebuild The Icon Cache

In Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows Vista, this IconCache.db file is located at:

C:\Users\Username\AppData\Local\IconCache.db

Whereas, it is different in the older version of Windows i.e. Windows XP.

icon cache

If you find your Windows displaying icons on the desktop in the wrong manner you can purge & rebuild the Icon Cache In Windows.

If you need to rebuild the Icon cache, 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 will purge and rebuild the icon cache.

There is also another way to do it, should the above method not work for you.

Kill Explorer.exe process. In Windows 7,  click Start button > Hold down Ctrl+Shift & Right Click on an empty area in the Start Menu > Click “Exit Explorer”. In Windows 8, you may do so via the Task Manager.

Open the command prompt window, type each of the following and after every command, hit the Enter button:

cd /d %userprofile%\AppData\Local
attrib –h IconCache.db
del IconCache.db
start explorer

Your Windows Icon Cache would have been rebuilt.

You may also want to check out our freeware Icon Cache Rebuilder Tool to automate the entire process of repairing icon cache.

Windows 10 users may want to read – Rebuild Icon Cache, Clear Thumbnail cache in Windows 10.

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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.

44 Comments

  1. Dustin Gibbs

    Thanks Alot it fix my computer !!!!

  2. Ryan

    That worked for me also! Thanks much!

  3. Gopal Adhikari

    Instead of doing all that, you can just do: ie4uinit.exe -ClearIconCache

  4. nick

    doesnt work this little programm. The “REBUILD” Button is slightly grey and does not react. I could only click “Close” ….? strange

  5. Try running the Icon Cache Rebuilder Tool as Administrator.

  6. Abhimanyu

    Thanks a lot. This was the one that works in a sea of advice and information on the subject.

  7. Glad it helped you. 🙂

  8. Martin

    Hello, I have a problem with Adobe reader icons. I use Windows Vista Home Premium. After installing and uninstalling Acrobat Pro 5.0 (I needed to consolidate several pdf files), the icons of pdf files don’t show the miniature first page of each document but a smaller white icon with the red adobe icon in the middle. I have tried rebuilding the Icon Cache but that didn’t work. Before restoring the system using windows restore (is that a risky process?) I thought I might ask for assistance here. Thank you very much!

  9. Maghfoor Ahmed

    the rebuild app is not working and i cant find my loccal folder in appdata. windows 8.1

  10. In Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows Vista, this IconCache.db file is located at:
    C:UsersUsernameAppDataLocalIconCache.db. t there, I just checked up. You have to Show Hidden and System folders also via Folder options.

  11. Jimmy White

    Not in 8.1 it’s not… you have lots of different ones in

    C:UsersUsernameAppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsExplorer

  12. kocii

    MyWindows 7 Ultimate would not
    recreate IconCache.db. I had a problem with icons, and I used one of many
    tools that would delete the file. And when I rebooted my computer, all
    of the desktop icons were missing and the start menu won’t open. Also,
    the computer as it is is slower than usual.

    I’ve looked all over or solutions, nothing fixes my problem. I’ve
    restarted numerous times, changed color depth etc. I’ve looked – the
    file is not in the directory, and numerous tools can’t find it aswel.
    Window’s just doesn’t rebuild it.

    I don’t have a backup, or a repair disc, but from I’ve seen it doesn’t help anyway in this case.

  13. HighAltitudeObserver

    Just note that for whatever reason copying “attrib –h IconCache.db” copies an En-dash character instead of a minus for the -h. Bug in Firefox? Otherwise its works great, thanks.

  14. Steve

    Does the icon cache actually get re-built? It seems to me that users need to visit each folder of pictures in order to have windows re-add their icons to the cache?

  15. khark

    The rebuild icon is greyed out and the program does not work for me. I have run it as administrator.

  16. Eren Erdal

    Thanks. It’s worked for me !

  17. fatmouse24

    this did not work for me. I am missing both file icons(which are not shortcuts) and program icons (which would be shortcuts).

  18. Dennis Jungbauer

    Test the answer/method Gopal Adhikari posted. Worked fast and great for me! 🙂

  19. Dennis Jungbauer

    Try the method Gopal Adhikari posted. Worked fast and great for me! 🙂

  20. fatmouse24

    I also tried this and it did not work.

  21. Flavis

    any of those solutions worked for me…. finally my solution was:

    1. edit the iconcache.db
    2. check WHERE is supposed to be the office’s icon files (wordicon.exe, pptico.exe and xlicons.exe)
    3. since that folder does not exist, I created it and copied those files from office14 folder

    now it is working fine

    I also had .PDF file with same issue and same solution for it.

    I hope this can help anyone.

  22. Wolf Fandom

    That happened to me too.

  23. FuelX

    Thank you this is exactly what I was looking for! On Windows Vista’s desktop and in Windows Explorer, I had icons resizing themselves erratically. This was an instant fix; I did’nt even have to reboot!

  24. sam mob

    Just right click on desktop –> Click Personalize –> Click Change desktop icons –> Restore default & OK

  25. stewartlevinson

    Worked, then did not work.
    Downloaded, set up and went well.
    Headed off at the pass by a Windows update (Win 7).
    Then REBUILDER

  26. Thanks! Deleting the iconcache.db file seems to have worked for me under Windows 10 as well.

  27. aballe junalee

    thank you

  28. Robert Beckman

    Thank you! This is the best and easiest-to-understand solution I have found for this problem.

  29. Diane Hibble

    I tried this and it the “rebuild” is still greyed out…

  30. Big_Boss

    When I open up Illustrator, it gives me the blank page icon, but when I open a saved file it opens up fine, also, my desktop icon is fine. It’s just when I open it up, on the task bar, the icon disappears, any advice?

  31. Marty

    On Win7, just use “ie4uinit.exe -ClearIconCache” (included in Windows). This refreshes the icon cache instantly without needing to reboot nor kill explorer.exe

  32. You can use this app to refresh Desktop, Start Menu and Taskbar icons without restart Explorer : https://github.com/crazy-max/IconsRefresh

  33. WyrdestGeek

    I like that it’s simple.

  34. Kote

    ie4uinit.exe -ClearIconCache

  35. Mikaela Arsenault

    I am getting an extra Google Chrome icon and I cannot seem to get rid of it.

  36. Abhishek Pandey

    awesome… fixed instantly after restart !!!! Thank You

  37. Spînu Daniel

    Thanks you , worked <3

  38. Rapta

    You don’t need to reboot in the first method by the way. After you’ve deleted the file, just go into task manager, end the “explorer.exe” process, then click File -> New Task (Run…) and type in explorer.exe and hit OK.

  39. coyote

    Note: When using the Command Line method on Win7Pro, after I clicked “Exit Explorer” it was by no means clear how to open a command prompt window (the screen was totally black, and my keyboard lacks a Windows key [for Win-R]). But Ctrl-Alt-Del offers the Task Manager, in which one can select File | Run

    Oh, and it didn’t work for me anyway.

  40. Online Reader

    To avoid having downloaded file (not program) shortcuts
    display as blank white rectangles, you MUST set a browser as a default browser.
    Afterward, all downloaded files will display an icon of the default browser regardless
    of which browser was originally used to download the file.

    Setting a default browser does not prevent use of more than
    one browser. It simply means that if you want to use a browser other than the
    default browser, you will need to open
    the selected browser when you want to browse the Internet.

    If you want to open any file which has been downloaded,
    simply select which browser you want to open that file if you want to use a
    browser other than the default browser.

  41. K_D_Queen

    I’m going to make this issue even more complex— i get the network drives are disconnected pop up along with the icons missing, when I try to search for iconcache.db it returns not available or not found

  42. K_D_Queen

    What would be the reasons the icon cache doesn’t rebuild itself? Mine doesn’t and even when I switch over to the administrator account the icons aren’t visible.

    I even am missing thumbnails and file folder icons as well. So far I’ve tired everything and nothing works.

    This started when my computer downloaded and attempted to install a windows 10 update, but I’m running windows 8.1pro.

    I’ve spend 8 hours a day working on this for three days now and no solution has proved viable.

    I’m not in a position to wipe my system clean. Too many documents and files.More than a terabyte worth to be honest.

    I’m going to try the icon cache rebuild tool and let you know how it works.

  43. zytozid

    same here

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