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These wonderful icon overlays that give you useful information in the Windows Explorer are not showing up. a Screenshot of what I mean

It's the most annoying with Dropbox (I already read I just tried reinstalling Dropbox - no help. I have this problem also with the Link Shell Extension so I don't think that it is a dropbox problem specifically; and something is wrong in my OS. The OS is actually a pretty fresh clean-install...

OS: Win8 Pro 64-bit.

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Is there a way to do this programmatically, so that an installation program could notice the problem and fix it during install? – jordanpg Apr 30 '14 at 2:56
up vote 29 down vote accepted

Looks like you've installed too many tools which register Overlay icons. Windows has an ugly limit of only 15 overlay icons. I gave it up to request an increase in a newer Windows version.

Open regedit, go to

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\ShellIcon‌​OverlayIdentifiers and
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\explor‌​er\ShellIconOverlayIdentifiers

and count the number of items. Are you hitting the limit of 15?

If yes, then either uninstall or reconfigure applications that are shown here or remove the registry entries manually (backing them up of course).

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I had both installed on my Windows7 - and probably a lot of stuff more - the win7 was running for ~3 years... – klyonrad Jan 27 '13 at 2:09
open regedit, go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\ShellIcon‌​OverlayIdentifiers and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\explor‌​er\ShellIconOverlayIdentifiersand count the number of items. Are you hitting the limit of 15? – magicandre1981 Jan 27 '13 at 6:56
20 items.... it's gotten filled up with Skydrive. Arrgh! (I uninstalled another program and now it works) – klyonrad Jan 27 '13 at 9:04
Remaining question though: Would it be safe to manually remove Registry entries in that "folder" ? – klyonrad Jan 27 '13 at 9:08
this i save, but make a backup of the key first and next disable entries you don't need. I also have the issue and removed some TSVN entries. – magicandre1981 Jan 27 '13 at 19:39

you don't necessarily need to delete any keys, all you have to do is to rename these keys with a number in front of them in sequential order then restart the machine. The sequential numbers will make sure that your OS only counts the top 15.

Here is an example:

enter image description here

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This is just a fine example of Windows in all it's insanity. – klyonrad Aug 28 '13 at 11:25
That is almost certain to confuse the relevant apps or their [un]installers ... – SamB Dec 4 '14 at 19:19
It doesn't really help. Skydrive for example is once per week or so renaming it's icons. I don't want to do this regularly. – Trilarion Dec 22 '15 at 8:32
The workaround I found (and one that has worked for me for several years) is to add copies of the overlays I want to show up with names that are before all the others... e.g. ___CRD3333DropboxExt1. It's a very ugly hack, but does make the overlays stable. – Chris R. Donnelly Feb 1 at 19:33

My own experience is that not all 15 slots for overlay icons are available (at least in Windows 7 x64). Some of them are reserved for the system. It seemed for me that only 11 slots are free available for applications.

The problem of having only so few slots exists in Windows 7, Windows 8 and still in Windows 10.

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