Fix: Incorrect icon shown for a file type in Windows 10 and earlier

Recently I received a query wherein the user has installed Foxit Reader. Later, he set accidentally associated .zip file type with Foxit Reader via the Open with dialog. Later they got the association problem straightened out by running the .zip association fix from the File association fixes page. However, the .zip file type was still showing the Foxit Reader icon, although the association settings were correct.

incorrect icon shown for a file type in windows

Fix Incorrect icon shown for a file type

Usually, the icon should be refreshed after a restart. If that does not happen, you can force a shell icon refresh by performing a task that triggers the SHChangeNotify API. For example, you can use Default Programs or Default Apps and change the program defaults (e.g., Google Chrome or IE as the default) in order to refresh the shell icons. Follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings, Default Apps
  2. Click on the Photo viewer and select a different program from the list
    windows photo viewer default apps - settings
  3. Again, click on the Photo viewer and select your preferred program this time.

This refreshes the shell icons automatically.

In earlier versions of Windows, use the Default Programs applet.

  1. Click Start, Default Programs
  2. Click Set your default programs
  3. Select your web browser, email client or any other item in the list.
  4. Click the Set this program as default button.
  5. Click OK.

This should fix the .zip file type icon.

Whenever the file association settings are changed or new association is created via the registry or script, the system might not be aware of the change. Programs use the  SHChangeNotify API call specifying the SHCNE_ASSOCCHANGED event, in order to refresh the icons without requiring a reboot.

One small request: If you liked this post, please share this?

One "tiny" share from you would seriously help a lot with the growth of this blog. Some great suggestions:
  • Pin it!
  • Share it to your favorite blog + Facebook, Reddit
  • Tweet it!
So thank you so much for your support, my reader. It won't take more than 10 seconds of your time. The share buttons are right below. :)

Other Methods to Refresh the Icons and Thumbnails

About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 10 consecutive years from 2003 to 2012.

9 thoughts on “Fix: Incorrect icon shown for a file type in Windows 10 and earlier”

  1. I’ve been looking for a solution for like, 2 hours now.
    I accidentally associated .dll files with the editor, and now every .dll file had the corresponding icon.
    THIS finally helped me solve the problem – the simple ways are always the best.

  2. The easiest way to force a refresh of the icon cache is to change the color depth of your desktop. Switch from 32-bit to 16-bit and back. That will always force a rebuild of the icon cache.

  3. I used to face this issue at times which is definitely frustrating. However THANKS to Schmock i know how to fix it easily without even rebooting.

  4. Good day, I got to the point of extracting an exe fix vista file on my desktop but I can not get the merge option when I right click on the reg file.


Leave a Comment