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Windows 7: No icon for XML files

26 Mar 2011   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 SP1
No icon for XML files

For unknown reasons (maybe install/uninstall of some programs) my XML default icon associated to "XML Editor" is now the generic white icon, though doublickicking on it is ok (it opens IE9)...
I've tried ANYTHING:
- my registry keys for XML and xmlfile (in HKLM, HKCU, Classes_Root) are okay, already compared to a working machine. (I've also tried Default File Type Associations - Restore unsuccessfully).
- trying to restore the default application from "Default Program" panel doesn't solve the issue.
- cleaning icon-cache was useless (Icon Cache - Rebuild)
- SFC /scannow reports no issues
- uninstalled and reinstalled IE9 final didn't change
- repairing Office 2003 installation didn't help

What do you suggest?
Please, help me.... these are those little Windows things that can drive someone crazy....

I've noticed 2 wierd things too: the favicon for XML documents in IE9 x86 is correct, with IE9 x64 it's not and shows the same generic icon I see from explorer (!?).
It looks like a x64 vs x86 issue (explorer is a x64 task, but IE9 x86 shows the correct icon...).
When I change program association for XML files to (e.g.) Word or Worpad or IE9, a generic "ansi txt" icon is used as I expected, but if I switch back to default "XML Editor" it still shows the blank one...
I don't use CCleaner and similar dangerous programs that can corrupt the registry.

Attached Images
No icon for XML files-immagine.png 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Mar 2011   #2
Hopalong X

Windows7 Pro 64bit SP-1; Windows XP Pro 32bit

Icon Cache - Rebuild

I'm not sure if this is what you are looking for.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Mar 2011   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 SP1

Thank you but no, this doesn't solve my problem.
I can't understand why Explorer fails to associate the correct icon, like x86 programs do...

EDIT: I can confirm that all x86 programs do show the correct icon for XML files. Only x64 apps (just like explorer itself) show the generic empty one...
My System SpecsSystem Spec

28 Mar 2011   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 SP1


The bug is caused by Office 2003 (and 2007 I suppose) Installation that overwrites the registry to use a 32bit only IconHandler for XML, HTML, MHT etc. files!


You need this free tool (or similar to edit filetypes): Default Programs Editor and system default tool RegEdit.


1. Open RegEdit (from Start enter "regedit" and run the found program) and go find Computer\HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\xmlfile registry key
2. Modify the subkey 'DefaultIcon' from (Default), REG_SZ="%1" to ...=%SystemRoot%\System32\msxml3.dll,0
3. Delete the subkey Computer\HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\xmlfile\shellex\IconHandler and then close RegEdit.
4. Run 'Default Programs Editor' you've just downloaded as administrator.
5. Go to 'File Type Settings', 'Icon' and search "xml" extension (if it fails 1st time, search again and it will re-build the list). You should find "Document XML" listing .rels, .xml (or just .xml). Select it and press button 'Next'.
6. Press button 'Browse...' and insert as the resource dll %SystemRoot%\System32\msxml3.dll. Double-click on the first image in the DLL and the Browse window will auto-close.
7. Press the button 'Save Icon' in Default Programs Editor, still open, window.
You're done!

You should see again the usual little-world icon for XML files! Enjoy!

It may happen the same for HTML, MHT etc. files, forced to use a 32bit IconHandler by Office 2003/2007! You have to do the same (i.e. delete IconHandler subkey) for those Computer\HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\mhtmlfile (or \htmlfile etc.)! Should be enough, no need for Default Program Editor. You may need to reset also IE as the Default Program to make HTML, MHT etc. icons back.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Apr 2013   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate

My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Apr 2013   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

I am having the same problem... Except the open with "xml editor" is no longer there .... how can i restore the xml editor so i can change the icon
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Aug 2013   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 7 Ultimate

Thank you Hexaae for easy to follow instructions; it worked perfectly.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 No icon for XML files

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