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I just did a fresh install of Windows 7 professional on my father's Toshiba Satellite laptop and everything went smoothly except for the fact that certain desktop shortcuts appear as a blank white page.

I've tried:

  1. going in and changing the icon to many different things
  2. reloading the icon cache by deleting the IconCache.db file
  3. uninstalling his Free AVG as he heard the virus scanner might be preventing it (it wasn't and he put it back.)

The one thing these icons have in common is that they are shortcuts to some very old DOS executables. One of them is Word Star 2000 to give you an idea.

Does anybody have any other suggestions besides what we've tried?

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5 Answers 5

up vote 1 down vote accepted

From Fix Blank or White Shortcut Icons on Desktop.

To refresh and reset the icons cache, go to the following folder:

C:\Users\AppData\Local\

To see the hidden AppData folder, go to Organize -> Folder and Search Options -> View tab, and select "Show hidden files, folders and drives", and uncheck "Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)".

Once inside the folder, delete IconCache.db. Create a new file named IconCache.db, and set it to Read Only attribute in Properties (if the file is not read only, the cache won’t be reset). Then restart the computer. Remove the Read Only attribute of IconCache.db file, and the icons cache will be refreshed.
This step will restore the desktop shortcut icons to their lawfully icons.

EDIT

I tried it, and the same behavior is on Vista. Properties of such an icon has the same tabs as the command prompt (cmd), so I think the white page icon is a generic cmd prompt, and Windows treats these as shortcuts to cmd rather than themselves. That's why it's impossible to set their icon.

As another experiment, I created a shortcut to cmd.exe, then modified it to add the parameters of "-k old-prog.com". This time the icon-change worked, but the program didn't ! My conclusion is that the 32-bits cmd.exe cannot run these programs.

I think this is some weird effect of 16-bits emulation on Windows. Apparently the 16-bits cmd.exe doesn't accept icon changes. As 16-bits is now totally abandoned in Windows 64-bits, I don't think there is much point in reporting it to Microsoft.

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I don't believe I ever tried creating a new IconCache.db as read only, the site I found said simply to delete and reboot. I will give this a shot. –  SiegeX Nov 21 '09 at 16:38
    
Tried the reset cache as stated, no go. The shortcuts to MS-DOS icons remain blank =| –  SiegeX Nov 22 '09 at 10:17
    
Have you tried to recreate these icons from scratch? –  harrymc Nov 22 '09 at 10:19
    
Yes many times. The odd thing is that when I select a new icon, the 'Apply' button remains grayed out. I have a striking feeling this may be a bug as only shortcuts to MS-DOS executables exhibit this behavior and how many people still have shortcuts to those... –  SiegeX Nov 24 '09 at 8:12
    
Thanks for trying it out, I'm happy that you were able to reproduce it but sad that we're stuck with white icons. Oh well, I could think of worse things =) –  SiegeX Nov 25 '09 at 9:24

My solution : After trying most of what was recommended (system restore, registry edits, rebuilding iconcache.deb in several ways) none of which worked, I finally got my icons back !!! Go here: http://www.stardock.com/products/iconpackager/ and get the trial version of IconPackager, install it, use it to switch to any icon package, then switch back (if you want to) the standard windows icons. And voilà... all icons back. Best regards !

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I would guess that that program is resetting the cache as part of it's function. So this might just be the round about way to do the above. –  Matthew Scouten Oct 11 '10 at 5:45

Using IconPackager fixed my problmes! Great suggestion. Turns out it was also the cause of my problems too. Long time ago I tried it for the 30days. Then after that not only did my icons screw up my computer wouldn't boot anymore. IconPackager somehow screwed up my system from reading my bootcat.cache file and my system would bluescreen on reboot. Only way to fix this was to boot to recovery mode, delete bootcache.cache, replace it with a bootcache.cache file from another machine running Windows7. Then once booted I deleted iconpackager. I'd have to do this all the time. The only way aronund this problem was to upgrade to Windows7 Ultimate. Then I could reboot. But my icons were always white squares. So after months of being annoyed I found this page. I reinstalled iconpackager and on first run it said my trial period expired and would I like to restore the windows icons. Said yes and now they are working.

So iconpackager is the cause and solution to life's problems much like alcohol. But stay away from Iconpackager unless you need to fix this problem.

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Hi everyone I was having the same problem with icons in my bookmarks with blank icons and I was trying all the remedies to fix the cache that people posted on here, I also would like to say if they work then great. But I was thinking - what's not broke don't fix! I also had Firefox version (3.6.6) and it was not any better, had same problem with that also. MY SOLUTION: I then went to FileHippo.com and downloaded the older version Firefox (3.6.4) without uninstalling the beta version, after that I clicked on each icon and waited for the icon to appear and it did, :) then after that I closed the firefox and checked to see if they would still be there and to my surprise, there they were all icons appeared back again. So please do give this a try! Thanks to all that helped!

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down vote Please login or register to vote for this post. (click on this box to dismiss) My solution : After trying most of what was recommended (system restore, registry edits, rebuilding iconcache.deb in several ways) none of which worked, I finally got my icons back !!! Go here: http://www.stardock.com/products/iconpackager/ and get the trial version of IconPackager, install it, use it to switch to any icon package, then switch back (if you want to) the standard windows icons. And voilà... all icons back. Best regards ! link|flag
excellent choice it worked for me too thanks

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