How to Refresh the Icon Cache Quickly Using IE4UINIT.exe

We saw how to clear the icon cache and let Windows rebuild it, in post Completely Clearing and Rebuilding the Icon Cache Database which applies to all versions of Windows including Windows 10.

Here is a quicker way to just refresh the icon cache, using a neat little command-line, which works in Windows 7, 8 and 10.

Refreshing the Icon Cache Quickly

Using the IE Per-User Initialization Utility (IE4Uinit.exe), you can quickly refresh the shell icons.

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

ie4uinit.exe -ClearIconCache

In Windows 10, run this command instead:

ie4uinit.exe -show

Here is a small video clip to demonstrate this.

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

Using NirCmd

If you’re using the excellent NirCmd utility, it can be used to refresh the shell icons. It supports two options to refresh the icons.

1.  Nircmd.exe sysrefresh command initiates a general system refresh. You can use this command to refresh your system after changing your system settings in the Registry (e.g., Changing desktop icons size, environment variables, etc.,)

{Refresh Type} is optional. You can specify one of the following values: “environment” – for refreshing the environment variables, “policy” – for policy settings, “intl” for locale settings.


nircmd.exe sysrefresh 
nircmd.exe sysrefresh environment 
nircmd.exe sysrefresh policy

2.  Nircmd.exe shellrefresh command initiate a general refresh for Explorer shell (user interface). This command can be useful if you make a change in the registry related to the shell file types (e.g., change file type icons, taskbar icon), and you want that your changes will take effect immediately even without restarting the Explorer shell.

Note: If you’re looking for information on how to completely clear and rebuild the icon cache, check out this post How to Rebuild the Icon Cache in Windows Vista, 7, 8 and Windows 10.

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. :)

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.

10 thoughts on “How to Refresh the Icon Cache Quickly Using IE4UINIT.exe”

  1. 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.

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


Leave a Comment