enter image description here

  1. The path to the Icon is valid (Ex. "C:\MyIcon.ico")
  2. The path to the Target was valid (Ex. "N:\My Folder\MyApp.exe")
  3. I did not touch the shortcut file at all
  4. I renamed the folder on the file system (Ex. "N:\My Folder2\MyApp.exe")
  5. Icon disappears (see below)

enter image description here


The same situation does not cause icon to disappear on Windows 7. This is a problem because the target in on a network drive, and when user is not connected to network, or VPN, the icon disappears, even if the icon file is stored and referenced locally.

Is this just a problem with Windows XP? Or is there anything that I can do to avoid the icon disappearing when disconnected from network?

  • What happens if you open the Properties of the shortcut and select Change Icon? Does it show and select the correct icon? What happens if you select the icon and click OK, does it update it? (Actually, I don’t think you can change the icon if the target is invalid because the new icon does not take effect until you click OK or Apply which won’t work if the target is invalid…)
    – Synetech
    Mar 17, 2011 at 19:20
  • 1. Yes it shows the correct icon. 2. Correct, you can't change the icon if the current Target is invalid, so I can't test that.
    – JohnB
    Mar 17, 2011 at 21:29
  • You didn't ask, but fixing the Target to a valid path makes the icon reappear.
    – JohnB
    Mar 17, 2011 at 21:31
  • 1
    Hmm, maybe it’s just a limitation in XP. It might even have been by design: whenever the target is invalid, it doesn’t show the icon because the shortcut is broken, so having the icon is irrelevant because the shortcut doesn’t link to anything.
    – Synetech
    Mar 17, 2011 at 21:51

1 Answer 1


I believe that Synetech is right.

It's by design in Windows XP to make shortcut icons disappear when the target of the shortcut is invalid.

When the target becomes invalid again, the icon reappears.

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