You’re aware of the various ways to clear and refresh the icon cache in Windows, such as clearing the iconcache.db, using TweakUI (in Windows XP) and using Default Programs. Here is a quicker way to refresh the icon cache, using a neat little command-line, which works in Windows 7.

Editor’s note: This command-line might work in Windows Vista SP2 / Server 2008 SP2 as well if you install Internet Explorer 9, although I haven’t tried it. I decided to leave the work to our readers :)

Refreshing the Icon Cache Quickly

Press WinKey + R to bring up the Run dialog. Then, run the following command and hit ENTER.

ie4uinit.exe -ClearIconCache

Here is a small video clip to demonstrate this.

Incorrect icon shown for .txt file, fixed immediately after running the above command.

Email SubscriptionPrefer an E-mail subscription?

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


  1. Ivan Lychkov
    said this on Monday, December 1st 2014 3:43 pm

    Thanks a lot! It works on Windows Server 2012.

  2. Wally
    said this on Wednesday, October 15th 2014 5:06 am

    This can be done even easier using Easy Context Menu:

    1. Shift + Right Click
    2. Choose ‘Rebuild Shell Icon Cache’


    Best of all it’s portable freeware. Download here:

  3. Someone
    said this on Wednesday, December 4th 2013 5:44 pm

    Thank you. I was wondering why the Wireshark installer was executing C:\Windows\system32\ie4uinit.exe -ClearIconCache at the end of the install process.

  4. Anon
    said this on Wednesday, November 27th 2013 3:04 am

    THANK YOU! A straight-forward command that doesn’t involve rebooting or killing explorer.exe. Worked with Win7, IE11.

  5. Anon
    said this on Tuesday, November 19th 2013 6:55 pm

    Doesn’t seem to work on Windows 8.1/IE11? Did MS morons break it again?

  6. Mike
    said this on Tuesday, January 22nd 2013 4:52 pm

    This one actually worked, while “How to Rebuild the Icon Cache in Windows Vista and Windows 7” didn’t. The problem was that some of the icons in my taskbar were replaced with the default icon for a program, because the icons pointed to a network drive that I map manually after Windows starts.

  7. said this on Thursday, November 22nd 2012 5:57 pm

    […] Srinivasan, the author of TheWinHelpOnline Blog, discovered that it is possible to ask Windows to refresh the icon cache by issuing the following […]

  8. Dave
    said this on Thursday, November 15th 2012 8:03 am

    Nice tip!

  9. said this on Saturday, October 27th 2012 5:39 pm

    @anon: Yup. But *might* work in Vista SP2 with IE9.

  10. Gaurav (Anon)
    said this on Saturday, October 27th 2012 5:16 pm

    Nice tip!! Interesting that it does nothing on XP even if ie4uinit exists for ages. :)

Leave a Reply