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Windows 7: Corrupt iconcache.db?

23 Sep 2010   #1

OEM Windows 7 Ult (x64) SP1
Corrupt iconcache.db?

New to forum, inexpert user, so please be gentle.
It is long, but I tried to provide all relevant info.

Problem: 2 desktop shortcut icons today suddenly reverted to "generic" shortly after starting up my system and after a routine definitions update by my security suite (KIS2011, fully patched). (And it may have been a coincidence.)

The MBAM real-time protection module was NOT running at the time, nor was SmartDefrag open, so neither program was loaded into the memory at the time.

Attached screenshot from desktop shows 2 "generic" icons where normal ones had been just a few minutes earlier. The shortcuts and the programs themselves still work fine, as they had for months on this platform. I have never seen this before.

What I tried:
1) Rebooting - no joy
2) Deleting the generic ones and creating new ones from start > all programs, but they are "generic" there, too, and only created new generic ones.
3) Confirmed that both programs have full FW and AV permissions.
4) Uninstalled SmartDefrag, rebooted, reinstalled -- reproduced the same problem -- functional, but blank shortcut icon.
5) Looked in C:\ProgramFiles(x86), and the icons for the main EXE files for these programs are generic there, too.

But here is what I REALLY don't understand:
1) If I open both programs (even from their generic shortcuts) the SYSTEM TRAY icon for both of them looks totally normal.
2) When I clicked on the "attach file" button at the KL forum to upload my screenshot of the desktop (see attached), the "File Upload" window ALSO shows totally normal icons. (see attached)!!!

Someone at the KL forum has suggested the following:
2 desktop shortcut icons revert to "generic" after KIS2011 update - Kaspersky Lab Forum
Rebuilding the Icon Cache Database
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%\AppData\Local
DEL IconCache.db /a
8. In Task Manager, click File, select New Task (Run…)
9. Type EXPLORER.EXE, and click OK.

to see change you may need to reboot.

I do have an automatic restore point on the system from ~01:00 this morning (before the problem began). But, rollbacks often seem to cause their own issues, especially with AV programs. So, I don't want to turn a "minor" cosmetic issue (for now) into a major functional/stability issue...

So, here are my questions for you, please, aside from what actually caused this:
1) Would this suggested process likely resolve the issue?
2) Might this process create other (worse?) issues, or is it safe?
3) Is there another solution?

I eagerly await your expert advice.
Thank you very, very much,


Attached Images
Corrupt iconcache.db?-9-23-2010-5-56-50-pm.png Corrupt iconcache.db?-9-23-2010-5-29-52-pm.png 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Sep 2010   #2

OEM Windows 7 Ult (x64) SP1
Added system tray shot w/normal icons

Added 1 additional screenshot for reference.

Attached Images
Corrupt iconcache.db?-9-23-2010-8-20-36-pm.png 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Sep 2010   #3
A Guy

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 SP1

Try the easy way 1st:

Icon Cache - Rebuild

A Guy
My System SpecsSystem Spec

24 Sep 2010   #4

OEM Windows 7 Ult (x64) SP1
solved - i think; thanks!

Thanks for the tip. Looks similar to what was suggested to me at another forum, substituting command line arguments for what were "manual" steps in the other person's instructions.

I ended up being able to solve it by R-clicking each shortcut > properties > change icon, and pointing them back to their respective program.

This restored the icons both on the desktop, and in the start menu.

I have not yet rebooted, so I don't know if the changes will stick.
So, I will save the info here for future reference.

The thread link you sent was very helpful explaining the causes, though I will probably never know exactly why it happened. The ONLY thing I had "done" on the system was boot it up (normally) and update my security suite (routine).

I also don't understand why the icons looked "normal" in the system tray and in the "file upload" window, but were "blank" on the desktop and in the start menu....

One of the mysteries of life... Thank you very much,

My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Sep 2010   #5
A Guy

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 SP1

Why is the mystery, but as long as it doesn't repeat itself, a mystery it will remain. It could have been the update, AV programs are deeply entwined in the system, and want control. If it indeed only the icon cache, it isn't a huge deal though, as it is easily reset. I hope your problem is solved, glad I could help. A Guy
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Sep 2010   #6

OEM Windows 7 Ult (x64) SP1
Same problem - need a bit more info, please


Successful steps:
1) I was able to restore the DESKTOP shortcut icons by doing a "change icon".

HOWEVER, they are still blank/generic in their source locatio,n and in start menu > all programs.
AND, I have not yet rebooted after correcting the desktop icons -- I have a feeling that they will revert back to generic when I do???

I see both the BAT file and the manual steps to rebuild the iconcache.db.

But I have some questions:

1) I assume this must be done from the command prompt -- one cannot simply close explorer.exe from the task manager and then manually delete the iconcache.db file (I know its location) and then reboot?

2) I was given instructions similar to yours at another forum, but it said to manually close explorer.exe from task manager, run the cmd instructions identical to yours, and then manually reboot -- would this also work?

3) Can I or should I create a backup copy of the existing iconcache.db before I attempt to rebuild it?

4) Do I need to "run as administrator" the cmd line (even though I am sole user with full rights)? (I think one of the OPs needed to do this to get it to work...)

5) Why are the icons "normal" in the system tray & in the "file upload" window, but generic/blank on the desktop (now fixed for the moment) and in their source location?

6) Could rebuilding this iconcache.db (either manually or with the BAT) cause any harm? IOW, could it fix one problem and create another?? (I am very squeamish about harming my system, especially for what is pretty much a cosmetic issue.)

Thank you very, very much!!!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Sep 2010   #7

64-bit Windows 10 Pro

Hello MM,

Deleting the iconcache.db file will not hurt anything. The file will automatically be recreated when you restart Windows 7. This way it's a new fresh file to rid any corruption in the database from the deleted copy.

You can use either option in the tutorial, but the steps must be followed exactly for it to work.

Anytime the source from which you created a shortcut from is moved or deleted, then all of the shortcuts from it will no longer work. This is why shortcuts should be created directly from the source EXE file and not from other shortcuts since the exe files usually do not get moved or deleted.

Hope this helps,
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Sep 2010   #8

OEM Windows 7 Ult (x64) SP1
Makes sense - couple more ??

Hi, Shawn:

Thanks for the explanation -- it makes sense.

I'm on my laptop now, away from the desktop, so I don't have the display in front of me. And I have not rebooted the desktop since successfully changing the desktop shortcuts back to normal -- so I don't yet know if this fix "stuck" or not.


Just to clarify (sorry if I wasn't clear earlier):
1) The original normal shortcuts WERE created by the programs when I first installed them. They were fine for months. They just mysteriously reverted to blank/generic after an otherwise uneventful and routine boot and security def update yesterday. And they still worked normally -- it seems to be just an appearance issue.
2) I was able to restore them on the desktop by opening the properties for each, & using the "change icon" step, pointing them back to the source EXE file & the default icon. They seemed to look & work fine after that.
3) If I open either application, the icons they place in the system tray were/are normal, even before I had "fixed" the ones on the desktop.
3) BUT, they are STILL blank/generic when I look at them in the explorer start menu > all programs, even though I completely uninstalled/rebooted/reinstalled 1 of the 2 programs in question (which did not fix the issue).
5) HERE'S THE RUB: Last time I checked in C:\Program Files(x86)..., in their respective folders, I think the EXE files there were ALSO generic (for MBAM, the mbam.exe was generic, while the mbamgui.exe was normal).

SO..... If I rebuild the iconcache.db following your tutorial, and Windows is going to find the "generic" icons at the "source" to rebuild the database, that would seem to suggest that it won't fix the problem???

Also, the iconcache.db file on the system when I checked it just prior to shut down this AM was ~4.7 MB in size -- that seems large. Is this normal???

Given my system specs, approximately how long will it take W7 to rebuild this upon the next restart (after attempting the steps in your tutorial)???

Sorry to ask so many questions using such inexpert terminology -- I'm trying to learn, even as I don't really understand how all this happened in the first place.

I will be back at the desktop tomorrow and will take this up again then.

Until then, I most sincerely appreciate the assistance from you and "Just a Guy".

My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Sep 2010   #9

64-bit Windows 10 Pro


It will only take a split second for the iconcache.db file to be restored. As you you view icons, that is when the they are freshly loaded back into the cache. You most likely will not notice it taking anytime at all to do so.

4.7 MB is not big at all. Mine is 5.73 MB, but it just depends on how many icons are stored in the cache by how many folders you open that have icons in them.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Sep 2010   #10

OEM Windows 7 Ult (x64) SP1
Still dealing w/this

Hi, Shawn:

Yesterday, I booted system (cold boot) after being away for weekend.
BOTH desktop icons were "normal" and worked fine, so I opted not to rebuild the iconcache.db just yet.

Today, I came home from work and powered up, only to find that the MBAM icon was normal, but the SmartDefrag 1 had gone back to "generic", though it was still working.

This time, "change icon", pointing it back to the actual program source file EXE and the "default" icon (where it looked normal) did NOT work. (Even though it had worked fine last week.)

I tried uninstalling the program, using its uninstaller. I also deleted the IoBit folder from appdata. I then reinstalled the program, allowing to to create a desktop shortcut -- got a generic one again.
(Perhaps I should have rebooted after the uninstall, before reinstalling the program???)
Tried 1 last time to "change icon", but it didn't work. It offers me the normal-looking icon as the default, but selecting it does nothing to change the one on the desktop.

So, I'm more or less back to the beginning, but this time it ONLY AFFECTS 1 PROGRAM.

The tutorial says that it's not to be used for *only* one icon, so -- again -- I am squeamish.
Recreating the 1 icon from the source file doesn't seem to be working like it did before.

1) Is this REALLY just a mildly corrupt iconcache.db?
2) Why did fixing 1 program seem to stick, but the other did not?
3) For the tutorial, I assume that I insert my profile name "MOXIE" where the instructions say %userprofile% when entering the command line instructions?

Thanks to McAfee I had to factory image an otherwise rock-stable, new system ~6 weeks ago (their version update caused BSOD and worse for many of us).
It cost me weeks of time to install a new security suite (learning curve), install and update all my programs, and get everything back to "normal".

Since I know little about computer workings, I am just petrified that this "minor" symptom with icons reflects something more serious, e.g. profile corruption??

I just worry that it will fix 1 problem and possibly create another...
Repair discs and backed-up data aside, I just can't bear the thought of going through an OS reinstall after all this.

I guess you're gonna tell me that I just need to "do it", when it comes to rebuilding the iconcache.db, right?

I'm sorry, I KNOW I am being incredibly high-maintenance for what likely seems like a trivial matter for the experts,

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Corrupt iconcache.db?

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