How to rebuild the icon cache on Windows 10 [Guide]

Windows 10 shows you file previews for certain file types in File Explorer. For other files, it uses a generic icon e.g., the yellow folder icon to represent folders. This icon isn’t just used for folders in File Explorer. You will see it used in other places as well. Windows 10 has an icon cache that it maintains and references each time it needs to display an icon. Unfortunately the icon cache can be corrupted and when it is, things break with the Start menu, the task bar, and even in File Explorer, among other things. To fix it, you need to rebuild the icon cache database. Here’s how.

Rebuild the icon cache

This will not result in any data loss but you should close all apps and files that you have open. If there’s any work-in-progress that needs to be saved, you should save it first.

Open Command Prompt with admin rights and run the following commands, one at a time. Once you see the blinking cursor in Command Prompt, and you’re able to type in it again, you can run the next command.

ie4uinit.exe -show  taskkill /IM explorer.exe /F  DEL /A /Q "%localappdata%IconCache.db"  DEL /A /F /Q "%localappdata%MicrosoftWindowsExplorericoncache*"

Now you need to run one last command however, this command will restart your system the second you tap Enter so again, save anything you need to.

shutdown /r /f /t 00

Once you boot back to your desktop, Windows 10 will start to rebuild the icon cache. What the commands have basically done is, they’ve deleted the corrupted icon cache which, on restart, Windows 10 will start to rebuild. Windows 10 can rebuild the icon cache if it’s been deleted however, it doesn’t delete it if it’s corrupted which is why users need to intervene to fix the bug.

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You might notice a few things are initially slow on Windows 10 after the reboot. Your operating system will gradually build the database and the slowness ought to go away.

This ought to fix a great many bugs that a corrupt icon cache causes however, there are some instances where it won’t do any good. If the icon cache was corrupted by another process, and it keeps corrupting it again, then you either need to find out what’s causing it, or you need to create a new user account. A new user account is a foolproof way of fixing problems with the Start menu, the taskbar, the Action center, and the icon cache. It’s much simpler than resetting Windows 10 because you don’t have to install your apps again.

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