System hacks: comprehensive repair Windows icon display error

If we see a blank or defective icon display in Windows environment, and it does not get better after refreshing, it is likely that the icon cache has been corrupted. Similarly, when viewing images, if the images themselves are intact but the thumbnails appear in a similar situation, it is also possible that the thumbnail cache is corrupted. In this case, you can clear and rebuild the cache and restore it by various methods such as manual, batch or third-party software.

1. Icon cache file cleaning and recovery

Trivia: Which file is called for icon display?

When Windows displays icons, instead of calling the icons of the program or file itself directly, it calls them from the icon cache file so that the icons can be refreshed more quickly. The icon cache is stored as a database file, IconCache.db, which stores copies of all icons.

If you need to rebuild the icon cache in Windows 7/8, first open File Explorer, launch the “Folder Options” window, and under the “View” tab, uncheck the “Hide protected OS Under the “View” tab, deselect “Hide protected operating system files” and check the “Show hidden files, folders and drives” option, click “Apply” and OK (Figure 1).


Finally, go to the “C:Users%username%AppDataLocal” folder and delete the file IconCache.db with the implied attribute. Restart the system and Windows will clear and recreate the icon cache.

If you are using Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, you will need to navigate to the “C:Users%username%AppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsExplorer” folder and you will You will see iconcache_32.db, iconcache_48.db and a series of icon cache files with db extension. Deleting these files will clear the icon cache in Windows. After deleting these files, you will see a new folder named IconcacheToDelete in that directory, which will disappear with Explorer or system reboot (Figure 2).


If some of these files can not be deleted, you can first close all open programs, and then open Task Manager, find the “Windows Explorer” process, right-click and choose to end the process. Next, select “Run New Task” from the “File” menu of Task Manager, type CMD.EXE in the New Task dialog box, check the “Create this task with system administration rights EXE in the New Task dialog box, check the “Create this task with system administration privileges” checkbox, and click “OK” to enter the Administrator Command Prompt window (Figure 3).


After that, type and execute the following commands in sequence (Figure 4).

cd /d %userprofile%AppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsExplorer

attrib -h iconcache_*.db

del iconcache_*.db

start explorer

This completely clears and rebuilds the Windows icon cache.


2. Image thumbnail cache cleaning and recovery

Trivia: Thumbnail files of different versions of Windows

The thumbnail files are different in different versions of Windows, Windows XP thumbnail file thumbs.db is scattered in various image folders. Windows Vista thumbnail files are stored in the “C:users%userprofile%AppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsExplorer” folder, which is the same location as the icon cache file. in the “C:users%userprofile%AppDataLocalWindowsExplorer” folder.


To clear and rebuild these thumbnail caches, a procedure similar to the one described above can be performed (Figure 5). This is done by executing the following command in an administrator command prompt window after ending the file manager process that is taking up .db resources.

cd /d %userprofile%AppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsExplorer

attrib -h thumbcache_*.db

del thumbcache_*.db

start explorer

3. Borrow third-party tools to clean and rebuild with one click

In Windows 10, we can also use a tool, Thumbnail & Icon Cache Rebuilder, to selectively clean and rebuild the icon cache and thumbnail cache with a simple selection and clicking action.


To delete and rebuild the icon cache or thumbnail cache, simply check the Delete Icon Cache option or Delete Thumbnail Cache option (or both) and click the Rubuild button (Figure 6).

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