Rebuild icon cache to fix incorrectly displayed icons

The icons used in Windows are saved in an icon cache, which has been invented to optimize the display of icons, so it doesn’t have to open every exe-/dll-files and scan for icon images all the time.

This caching can become corrupted and lead to garbled/fuzzy/wrong icons:

  • An icon are changed to a different random icon
  • Several icons are drawn on top of each other
  • An icon becomes all black

There are different solutions that might help:

  • Restarting the computer will solve the problem for most people
  • Recreate the Icon-Cache by changing icon size (Another way is to Rebuild Icons in Tweak UI):
    1. Open Control Panel and double click Display-applet
    2. Select Appearance-tab and in Item-dropdown select Icon
    3. Increase Size and press Apply-button
    4. Decrease Size back to old value and press Apply-button
    5. Press Ok-button
  • Increase the limitation for the iconcache with this STRING value:

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \Software \Microsoft \Windows \CurrentVersion \Explorer]
    Max Cached Icons = “2048” (Range = “100”-“4096”, Default = “512”)

  • Recreate the Icon-Cache file by deleting it
    1. Delete the hidden file ShellIconCache (Win9x/NT4/2k):

      C:\Windows\ShellIconCache or C:\Winnt\ShellIconCache

      Note in WinXP each user has their own file that is called Iconcache.db:

      C:\Documents and Settings\Your User Name\Local Settings\Application Data\Iconcache.db

      Note in Vista each user has their own file that is called Iconcache.db:


    2. Close down all explorer.exe processes using the Task Manager (Or else it will create a faulty file during logoff/restart)
    3. Use the Task Manager (CTRL+SHIFT+ESC) to launch the explorer.exe again (Or press CTRL+ALT+DEL to perform a restart/logoff)
    4. When the Windows Explorer (explorer.exe) starts again, it will recreate a correct Icon-Cache file
  • Uninstall Tweak UI (If installed) using the Add/Remove applet in the Control Panel.

    To uninstall by command line (WinNT+):

    rundll32.exe syssetup.dll,SetupInfObjectInstallAction DefaultUninstall 4 %Windir%\Inf\Tweakui.Inf

    To uninstall by command line (Win9x):

    rundll.exe setupx.dll,InstallHinfSection DefaultUninstall 4 C:\Windows\Inf\Tweakui.Inf

More Info MS KB132668
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