My earlier post Incorrect icon shown for a file type in Vista (March 31, 2008) tells you how to refresh the shell icons in Vista. In case the solution posted in that link does not help, you may want to clear the icon cache database. The icon cache can be cleared by deleting the hidden file named IconCache.db in the following location:


Note: %userprofile% represents the path to user profile folder.

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.

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  1. Katie
    said this on Tuesday, June 23rd 2015 7:38 pm

    This is the ONLY thing that worked for me. All the other advice was useless. Thank you so much!

  2. Mike
    said this on Tuesday, March 31st 2015 2:47 pm

    Great advice!
    This has ended my frustration over not being able to restore the Icons to the format as per the original source.
    Thank you.

  3. Phil
    said this on Saturday, February 28th 2015 5:52 am

    Everything works until I get to DEL IconCache.db /a

  4. jay el
    said this on Tuesday, January 27th 2015 1:25 pm

    Great! only one of my icons was blank and it was driving me nuts

  5. Anup
    said this on Friday, December 12th 2014 11:56 am

    Worked!! Thanks….

  6. Fwashy
    said this on Monday, December 1st 2014 11:03 pm

    Freakin’ Genius :D. Thanks

  7. Willis
    said this on Tuesday, November 11th 2014 12:59 am

    Absolutely Wonderful!

    Except for the ones (note pad) I changed to the closest I could find before taking your advice, they all returned to normal.

    Thank you!

  8. rick
    said this on Tuesday, October 14th 2014 6:42 am

    Oh hell yes this worked. When you’re typing the commands make sure to actually type %userprofile% and not your actual profile name

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