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TUTORIAL: Reset icon cache windows

What is the icon cache and why should I reset it?

If you have one of your icons that are not displaying as they should or are corrupt this might happen because your Icon Cache isn’t working correctly. Windows uses a Database file where it keeps all of the icons as a copy so instead of reading them out from their original place it has one place to get all of the icons, this makes windows show the icons faster.

how to reset your icon cache in windows

I’ve seen more tutorials where people explain you how to reset your icon cache, but most of the time they’re using Command Prompt and too be honest that isn’t too smart if you don’t know what you’re doing.

They say you cannot delete or reset the icon cache in windows unless you use the Command Prompt or some software specially made for resetting the icon cache.

Do not delete the files. Always re-name them and see if it worked before deleting an item.

Turn on ‘show hidden folders’ in the Explorer.

Click on view > Options > change folder and search options > view > scroll to ‘hidden files and folders’

icon cache corrupt windows
Icon cache corrupt windows

Copy the link below and search for the file iconcache.db.


icons not displaying correctly
Icons not displaying correctly

Right click the file and re-name for example to IconCache_OLD.db.

Restart your windows device and see if it has solved the caching problem. If not please continue.

If this didn’t reset your icon cache there is another place windows keeps the icon caches. 

Copy the link below and search for the files that start with ‘iconcache’ or ‘thumbcache’.


reset icon cache windows
Reset icon cache windows

Re-name them all or move them to a different directory. Please do not delete them.

Re-start your windows device and see if your icons are back to normal. If they aren’t please leave a comment.

Published by

Bas Wijdenes

My name is Bas Wijdenes and I work full-time as a Services Engineer. In my spare time I write about the error messages that I encounter during my work. Furthermore, I am currently occupied with Office 365, Azure infrastructure, and PowerShell for automating daily tasks.

10 thoughts on “TUTORIAL: Reset icon cache windows”

  1. Have you ever thought about creating an e-book or guest
    authoring on other blogs? I have a blog based on the same information you discuss and would really like to have you share
    some stories/information. I know my viewers would
    enjoy your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel
    free to shoot me an email.

  2. Hey there!
    Yesterday I installed Windows 10, its nice and all, but I have a massive problem:
    The Icons in my Start Menu (and also if I search certain programs with Cortana) are broken. Heres a Screenshot:
    I already tried resetting the iconcache, but it didnt help.
    Maybe you can ? Would be nice to get an answer 😉
    Yours, Jerome

      1. ​Hello Jerome,

        Thank you for contacting me.

        I have a few questions first:
        – Have you tried resetting the cache?
        – Do the icons work even without the usual icon?

        ​- What if you go to the setup.exe and make a shortcut on your desktop? Will the icon be back?

        What I think that happend is that maybe Windows 10 moved some of your program files to a different location and the shortcuts you’re reffering to are still linked to the old location.

        Thanks in advance!

        1. Thanks for your response!

          Yes, I actually tried resetting the cache but it didnt change anything.

          The Icons do work, just the picture isn’t there.

          The problem is, that the Icons in the original folders still exist, meanwhile in the Start Menu they don’t.

          I tried right-clicking them and “Open Application Path”, there the Icons still exist which you can see in my second e-mail I sent you.

          (Here another screenshot of what I mean: )

          Hope you get a better impression of my problem now 🙂

          Yours, Jerome

          (Oh and, thanks for the help ;))

          1. Hello Jerome,

            Could you try these steps:

            1. Close all folder windows that are currently open.
            2. Launch Task Manager using the CTRL+SHIFT+ESC key sequence, or by running taskmgr.exe
            3. In the Process tab, right-click on the Explorer.exe process and select End Process
            4. Click the End process button when asked for confirmation.
            5. From the File menu of Task Manager, select New Task (Run…)
            6. Type CMD.EXE, and click OK
            7. In the Command Prompt window, type the commands one by one and press ENTER after each command:
            CD /d %userprofile%AppDataLocal
            DEL IconCache.db /a
            8. In Task Manager, click File, select New Task (Run…)
            9. Type EXPLORER.EXE, and click OK.

          2. Hello Bas,

            Already tried that, but still nothing..
            The actual problem is that I have no idea where the root of that problem could be if it isn’t the IconCache or broken paths.

            But still thanks for your help, if you have another idea, please reply 🙂

            Yours, Jerome

          3. Do you think that issue would be resolved by a clan installation ?

            If so, could I somehow keep my programs and files ? And how ?

            Because my major problem is now I have no idea where the problem is located..

            Yours, Jerome

          4. A Clean installation will most definitively solve the issue, but you can’t keep your software doing a clean installation.

            I’ll try to google some more for you and ask a few colleagues about this.

            I’ll keep you updated.

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