Several weeks ago, Windows told me it wants to install a big update. I went ahead with it only to discover several unwanted effects after it had successfully finished updating and booting, mainly, where the icons of many programs and file types turned into the default "white page":

Blank icon example

This issue is also discussed here, and this is what I'd like some help solving.

I tried the solution related to resetting the icon cache, but it did not work for me. The other solution people suggested is reinstalling Office (and all other affected programs) - which I'm not too eager to do that unless it is absolutely the last resort.

Can anybody suggest a less time consuming solution than reinstalling most of the software on my system, to fix the blank icon issue?

Some other issues related to the update, which I did manage to solve, and consider as worth sharing:

  1. My system drive drive became almost entirely full (something I am very cautious about). For some inexplicable reason, it appeared that several programs, which were originally installed in D:\Program Files, were copied (not moved!) to C:\Program Files, while mangling the registry in the process (I say this because I suddenly started getting the "Open With..." dialogs for many different file types)

    I managed to solve this problem using a registry editor to change drive letters in installation paths.

  2. When running programs from the start menu, they would appear on the task bar with the following "generic icon":

    Generic start menu icon

    Apparently, my start menu got a bunch of new "AppName (1)" shortcuts, having the correct icon (and pointing correctly to D:\Prog...), while the "AppName" shortcuts (w/o the "(1)", pointing to the incorrect C:\Prog...) had the blank icon. Thus, the numberless shortcuts would produce the effect in the above image.

    In this case I just deleted the numberless shortcuts and renamed the numbered shortcuts to the deleted name. (This requires administrative privileges).


In my case what was causing this problem was a trick I used to reduce the storage taken by temporary install files (%SystemRoot%\Installer) on my SSD, per "How can I free up drive space from the Windows installer folder without killing Windows?". In short, this method involves moving the contents of the Installer folder to a different drive and creating a symbolic link ("symlink") in its place.

It turns out that the above can be reverted automatically and without warning during a Windows update, which is exactly what had taken place on my system when the Windows 10 2017 Fall Creators Update was installed. What happened is that the update broke the symlink by turning it into a regular folder, and so various files related to icons (most noticeably - MS Office) simply "vanished".

To fix this, I had to move the new contents of Installer to their alternate place and re-create the symlink.

The tool FileTypesMan by Nir Sofer helped me uncover this issue by telling me where the file type icon was being taken from.

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