I use Chrome's More tools > Add to desktop... feature a lot to pin webapp shortcuts to my desktop and taskbar and have them open in a separate chromeless window.

This works great, but when I pin the shortcut to the start menu, I get Chrome's default icon instead of the favicon.

The favicon is displayed fine on the desktop shortcut and on the task bar.

How do I get the favicon to appear on the start menu, too?

Should be a SharePoint icon

  • 1
    Chrome Apps are normal shortcuts (instead of .url files). Pinning URLs in this way would show the custom icon in Start screen. Before pinning, save the fav icon locally and apply to the .URL file.
    – w32sh
    Nov 9, 2016 at 12:33
  • Does that method allow you to open the URL into a new Chrome window without the window chrome (URL bar, tabs, etc.)? The shortcut that is created when you save a Chrome App points to chrome.exe and has a --app= flag. Nov 9, 2016 at 19:18

7 Answers 7


It looks like this issue is caused by a quirk in the standard way Windows 10 picks an icon for a tile. I found the following explanation by "Leo Vr" on the Chrome Help Forum:

The big Google-"icon" on the start-menu and the fact that for Google-apps all "icons" are the same are not caused by a fault, but are "according to spec". With the Windows 10 Threshold 2 update, Microsoft added the possibility to customize the tiles in the start menu a bit. Google uses this feature, which makes some of us unhappy.

This customizing is done by adding a file "VisualElementsManifest.xml" to the directory in which the executable resides. In our case it is the file "chome.VisualElementsManifest.xml".

When you add a program to the start menu, the following happens: - a shortcut for the program is made in the directory "....\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs". - a tile is made, based on this shortcut AND the before mentioned file "VisualElementsManifest.xml". This causes all shortcuts for the program "chrome.exe" to have the same big "icon".

What can we do about this?

  • in case the file"VisualElementsManifest.xml" is missing, the icon of the shortcut is used for the tile. In our case that is exactly what we want.
  • if we remove (or rename) the file "VisualElementsManifest.xml" at first nothing happens.
  • the tile is refreshed however if the shortcut is changed. (It is sufficient if the "lastwritetime" of the shortcut changes).
  • so I changed the lastwritetime using "powershell" (present in Windows 10 by default)
  • the command for this is: (ls "C:\Users\leo\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Chrome-apps\Google Maps.lnk").lastwritetime = get-date
  • of course the name of the shortcut needs to be changed to the one specific for your case.

This way I got the Google-apps icons to look the way I wanted. I hope it works for you as well.

Chrome apps with correct icons

"tfenster" in the same thread also provides this handy PowerShell script (which I had to modify slightly to get working) for updating all shortcuts in the Chrome Apps folder:

foreach ($file in (ls "~\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Chrome Apps")) {
     $file.LastWriteTime = get-date
  • Thanks a lot for the script. Here's the logged bug for this: bugs.chromium.org/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=732357 Jun 18, 2017 at 12:21
  • 1
    The VisualElementsManifest.xml normally shows as chrome.VisualElementsManifest.xml. But you have to go to this folder to find it: C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application
    – Martin
    Aug 29, 2017 at 15:06
  • 1
    This worked. Basically what you need to do is these steps: 1. Rename "chrome.VisualElementsManifest.xml" 2. Refresh the icon (Either manually or using the mentioned powershell script)
    – droidgren
    Oct 5, 2018 at 9:48
  • Alternately after renaming/removing the VisualElementsManifest.xml you can simply unpin and repin the shortcuts to the start menu. Mar 14, 2019 at 13:40

Here's an easier method that should work for most people:

I like Charles Roper's answer but it isn't helpful for those of us who don't have experience using the Windows Powershell.

(credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISvelu_dym4)

Basically, you create a copy of chrome.exe, rename it to chrome2.exe and then point all of your start menu shortcuts to this new exe file.

Once you click Apply your icons will display correctly.

Here's a step by step:

  1. Right click on one of your culprit icons in the start menu and go to More > Open file location
  2. From there, right click on the icon and select Properties
  3. Click the Open File Location button
  4. Click chrome.exe and press ctrl+c to copy and then ctrl+v to paste a new copy
  5. Rename this new copy to chrome2.exe
  6. Go back to your start menu and again go to More > Open file location on one of the icons
  7. Right click on each of your chrome app shortcuts, select Properties and change the Target field to point to chrome2.exe instead of chrome.exe

Note that there's no need to create a new copy of chrome.exe for each shortcut; just the one chrome2.exe will do.

Good luck!

  • The only problem with this is when chrome.exe is replaced in an update. You have to recopy it. It might be a better idea to create a hard link as chrome2.exe. Feb 14, 2020 at 0:09

Alternately, create a .URL shortcut to a site. Move the file to C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

Then from All apps list, right-click on the shortcut and click Pin to Start. enter image description here

  • 4
    Unfortunately this opens a new tab in a normal Chrome window. I need a separate chromeless window. Nov 9, 2016 at 19:19
  • This doesn't work for me. It just shows the Chrome icon. How do you create the URL shortcut?
    – Vapid
    Jan 30, 2019 at 10:43
  • 1
    @VapidLinus Right click on your desktop > New > Shortcut > use the website URL for the path. This should be the answer as it is the fastest and most convenient solution. Dec 27, 2020 at 3:55

Found another nice way to customize the Startmenu Links with the Tool TileIconifier The Tool is Open-Source and works well in almost every Shortcuts except MS Office.

You can get it Here.

  1. I created app shourtcuts with right click on Chrome on my desktop in a folder called "Google Apps"
  2. For each app shortcut, I grabbed their icon to a seperate folder called "icons" (for ex. %USERPROFILE%\Desktop\Google\icons\Gmail.ico)
  3. Again for each app shortcut, I changed to icon to the grabbed ones (gmail to gmail, maps to maps etc. they each had same icons as before but not the same ico file)
  4. I added this folder to C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs
  5. I changed VisualElementsManifest.xml's name to VisualElementsManifest.xmlbkup so I didn't delete it but system couldn't see the file to do its job.
  6. On the start menu right click and pinned apps and it WORKS. final result

I tried many of these options, but the only one that worked for me was this solution by g33kio:

The reason the icons are wrong is because the shortcuts refers the chrome.exe with the options on the end to launch the app. The only way to fix this is for chrome to create bat files, or actual exe files to lauch the apps with the associated icons. There is a work around, but you have to do it for each app and it's not an easy process.

You need to get to the normal icons that are used for google Apps. You can do one of two things:

  1. Click Start -> All Apps -> Chrome Apps
  2. Right Click on one of the short cuts and go to More -> Open File Location


  1. Open Explorer and type the following into the address bar:
  2. %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Chrome Apps

Now follow the instructions below:

  1. Open another explorer window
  2. %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Web Applications
  3. You'll see a folder for each app you have installed
  4. Open one of the folders
  5. You should see an icon file and another md5 file (if you do not see the extensions you'll need to click view and then check the box next to file name extensions)
  6. Right click in white space and then click New -> Text Document
  7. Open the text document and type one of the following: 64 Bit Version: "%PROGRAMFILES%\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" --profile-directory=Default --app-id=[ID] 32 Bit Version: "%PROGRAMFILES(x86)%\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" --profile-directory=Default --app-id=[ID]
  8. Replace [ID] with the name of the folder you created the desktop application in minus the crx
  9. Example: _crx_gbchcmhmhahfdphkhkmpfmihenigjmpp would be --app-id=gbchcmhmhahfdphkhkmpfmihenigjmpp
  10. Save the file.
  11. Now right click on the file and click on rename.
  12. Change the name of the file to the app name followed and replace .txt with .bat
  13. Now right click on the bat file and drag it to the explorer window opened in the first part
  14. Click on create shortcut
  15. now right click on the new short cut and click on properties
  16. Click change icon and browse to the folder where you created the bat file and select the .ico file
  17. Finally rename the short cut to whatever you wan to appear in windows start menu
  18. The new shortcut will appear in the start menu under all apps, you can pin it to your start menu from there

When you are changing the properties in step 15, set Run to Minimized, or it will flash a command prompt window when you open it.


Even easier answer that makes sense and works! Steps:

  1. Open Start Menu, right click on offending chrome icon, select "open file location."
  2. Right click on selected app, select "properties."
  3. Select the "Change Icon" tab, select the appropriate icon, and click OK
  4. Select "Apply" then "OK"
  5. You're done!


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