How to Rebuild Icon Cache in Windows 10

Imagine Windows 10 without app or image icons. Yes, you are right; it would look quite dead. Icons give life to the User Interface of every operating system, whether it is Windows, iOS, or Android.

Windows 10 saves the icons for the files in icon cache and uses this icon cache to display them. This way, the icons can be displayed quickly as Windows does not have to scan for each icon file and load them every time the file icon has to be shown.

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However, there may be times when you have a problem with icons or thumbnails not displaying correctly. This usually happens when you have updated an application. Instead of showing the updated icon which came with the upgrade, Windows show you the old icon or a blank or damaged icon appears.

When this happens, you have to remove the icon cache so that a fresh one is created with the updated icons. Though, keep in mind that usually, Windows do this work automatically, every time a new icon is recognized.

In this guide, we will discuss how to refresh icon cache in Windows 10 that would fix every issue you are facing with the icons.

  Windows 10 Tutorial: Add Useful Icons To Your Desktop

Where are Icons Stored in Windows 10?

In Windows 10 icons are stored in cache files located at the following path:

 C:\Users\<your username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer

Put your desktop’s name in place of <your username>

If you find some folders in the path, enable Hidden items from the view so that hidden folders can be accessed. You would find the following cached files of the icons:

• iconcache_16.db

• iconcache_32.db

• iconcache_48.db

• iconcache_96.db

• iconcache_256.db

• iconcache_768.db

• iconcache_1280.db

• iconcache_1920.db

• iconcache_2560.db

• iconcache_custom_stream.db

• iconcache_exif.db

• iconcache_idx.db

• iconcache_sr.db

• iconcache_wide.db

• iconcache_wide_alternate.db

Now, to reset the icon cache, you have to delete all these files first. Remember, not even a single cache file can be ignored because we don’t know which among them is causing the icons problem. However, deleting these files is not straightforward, like removing any other file on the computer. Try yourself deleting any file, some of them would get deleted, the others would display this error:

Delete icon cache error message

The reason for this error is because some applications are using those icon cache files in the background. 

Rebuild Icon Cache in Windows 10

As already mentioned to rebuild the Icon Cache, first, we have to delete the old cache files. For that, we can use three methods. You can perform any method that works for you.

Method 1: Using Windows PowerShell

  1. Before proceeding any further, close all the work and applications that are currently running.

  2. Navigate to the folder where old Icon Cache files are present: C:\Users\<your username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer

  3. Now you have to open the PowerShell window here. For that press and hold the Shift key and perform a right-click.

  4. From the Context menu, choose the “Open PowerShell window here.”
    Open PowerShell

  5. A PowerShell window would be launch for that path.
    Powershell Window

  6. To ensure you are on the right folder, enter dir command on PowerShell console. If you see the icon cache files and other files of the folder, you are on the right path.

  7. Minimize the PowerShell window, right-click on the taskbar and open Task Manager.
    Open the task manager

  8. Look for Windows Explorer, right-click on it and select End Task. File Explorer and Desktop would be invisible.


  9. Exit the Task Manager and again switch to the PowerShell window. Close all the running applications except PowerShell before moving forward.

  10. Enter the following command on the console: “del iconcache*” and press the Enter keyIt would perform the deletion operation on all the files starting with “iconcache”.

  11. Again run dir command to check whether all icon cache files are deleted or not. If all applications were closed, you would have faced no problem, and icon cache files must have been removed.

  12. Restart the system. The icon cache should have been rebuild.

Method 2: Using Command Prompt

Note: The last command in this method will instantly restart the PC, make sure you have backed up all your important data.

  1. Press Windows + R keys, type cmd, and press Enter.
  2. In the command prompt, enter and execute following commands one by one.
  • ie4uinit.exe -ClearIconCache
  • taskkill /IM explorer.exe /F
  • DEL “%localappdata%\IconCache.db” /A
  • shutdown /r /f /t 00

Method 3: Using File Explorer

You can also try deleting the IconCache.db file using File Explorer:

  1. Open a File Explorer.
  2. To show hidden files, click on View tab and then click on Hidden Items.
  3. Go to C:\Users\(Your User Name)\AppData\Local and delete IconCache.db file.
  4. Empty Recycle Bin and restart your computer.
How to Rebuild Icon Cache

Note: These steps will not work if the icon file for the application has been deleted or moved.

Rebuild Icon Cache FAQs

1. Why do my icon pictures disappear?

The reason icon pictures of your application or documents disappear because the icon cache might have corrupted or new icons are not updated on the icon cache.

2. How do I restore shortcut icons?

To restore the shortcut icons, go to “Desktop icon settings” by searching on the Windows search and click on Restore Default.

3. Is it safe to delete IconCache DB?

YES, it is safe to delete the iconcache.db file. It does not cause any system failure. Moreover, it automatically generates itself again, and eliminating it can solve the icon errors in Windows 10.

1 thought on “How to Rebuild Icon Cache in Windows 10”

  1. why do you need to FORCE reboot ? … just for the MF FUN, RIGHT, let’s have some ppl lose their work be cuz you “help” with some (meaning of life) icons, RIGHT ?


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