My start menu icons look like this:

Enter image description here

I'm using Windows 10 from Windows 7.

How can I make the normal icons appear (not just the shown generic blank icons)?

  • What exactly is your question? You can right click a program and select Pin to Start to make them appear in your screen. You can drag the right edge to the right to make the menu bigger and smaller (and in the current state if there are no icons).
    – LPChip
    Aug 11, 2015 at 20:51
  • 4
    My question is how can I make the icons appear? at the moment they're just blank as you can see.
    – Jeff
    Aug 11, 2015 at 20:52
  • Are the applications installed on Windows 10? Note that CPL has the correct icon. Try installing Notepad++ in Windows 10 and see if you get the icon. Aug 11, 2015 at 22:01
  • @DrMoishePippik No, they were installed in windows 7. I'll try reinstalling, thanks
    – Jeff
    Aug 11, 2015 at 23:37
  • @DrMoishePippik Did not work, icons are still blank. Any other suggestions?
    – Jeff
    Aug 12, 2015 at 4:06

5 Answers 5


I use Windows 10 Creator Update 1703 and after moving a folder I had some blank icons too.

I tried a lot of things like the "IconCache.db" deletion procedure without success...

The only solution I found that refreshes the start menu icons is to change the link files (*.lnk) "last update date" attribute.

Create a "RefreshMenuIcons.bat" file containing:

@echo off
for /R "%APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\" %%f in (*.lnk) do copy /b "%%f"+,, "%%f" 1>nul
for /R "%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\" %%f in (*.lnk) do copy /b "%%f"+,, "%%f" 1>nul

Run the "RefreshMenuIcons.bat". That's all; there is no need to reboot.

If you want to run it from a command prompt, you have to use this syntax:

for /R "%APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\" %f in (*.lnk) do copy /b "%f"+,, "%f" 1>nul
for /R "%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\" %f in (*.lnk) do copy /b "%f"+,, "%f" 1>nul

For more details about the commands used see Updating the Date and Time Stamps on Files on Microsoft web site.

  • 2
    worked just fine
    – Saad
    Oct 5, 2017 at 15:11
  • 3
    Started the .bat as administrator; worked like a charm.
    – Mononess
    Dec 5, 2017 at 0:09
  • 1
    I did this, and it even made it worse. The problem used to be only on half of my icons, now it's almost on all of them :(
    – Emax
    Mar 15, 2018 at 6:21
  • Worked perfectly for me on Windows 10 v1803 Jul 6, 2018 at 10:03
  • 1
    Worked when run as an administrator. Aug 24, 2018 at 18:13
  1. Through File Explorer go to

    C:\Users\*Your USER ACCOUNT*\AppData\Local
    or use the environment variable
    (make sure hidden files/folders are visible)

  2. Delete iconCache.db (hidden file)

  3. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc
  4. Restart Windows Explorer (alternatively, you can reboot the PC)
  5. The icons should be back to normal. This will resolve the issue, but not the root cause - so you may have this problem again... Welcome to the new Windows 10...

If you know how to create a .bat file - you can simply use this (copy/paste removing the - and space before each new line):

ie4uinit.exe -ClearIconCache
taskkill /IM explorer.exe /F
DEL "%localappdata%\IconCache.db" /A
shutdown /r /f /t 00

Copy/paste the text to a .txt file - rename the .txt to a .bat - run the batch file, and the icons will be restored. ie4uinit.exe is the Internet Explorer repair tool which should still be on your system (Windows standard executable file).

  • 20
    This didn't work.
    – Jeff
    Aug 18, 2015 at 4:12
  • 5
    This does not work Aug 25, 2016 at 19:36
  • 2
    This did fix the problem for me but you mentioned this resolves the symptom not the cause - what is the cause of this?
    – mlhDev
    Nov 23, 2016 at 16:43
  • Worked. I'm guessing the root cause was Code Writer or Amazon Music, which are the latest 2 programs I pinned. More likely the former, since it is new and probably buggy.
    – Ixalmida
    Apr 25, 2017 at 19:03
  • 2
    I don't know why no one knows about %USERPROFILE% Windows environment variable. Sep 5, 2018 at 9:26

Well, I just restarted the explorer using task manager and the icons came back.

How to do this

You can open task manager in two ways:

  1. Press CTRL+SHFT+ESC or
  2. Right Click on the task bar and choose Task manager.

Then click on More Details at the bottom left if it doesn't shows the Processes tabs.

Scroll down the list of processed to find Windows Explorer. Select it and click on Restart at the bottom right.

Note: Your desktop and task bar will be gone for a moment when you this. They will reappear automatically. When all icons on the task bar has appeared, click on the start menu to see if your icons has come back.

  • 2
    nope, it didn't come back. i even restart computer and it didn't come back
    – GusDeCooL
    Aug 31, 2017 at 3:38
  • This worked for me. It's interesting to point out that all the other answers here and on the interwebs go into elaborate detail to try and fix the problem and all involve either restarting the computer and/or Explorer when the real fix is just the Restart Explorer step. Just do that as matrix says, I think the other fixes are just spring water solutions
    – Deleted
    Jul 1, 2018 at 2:34
  • This worked for me, but my problem was that only some of the start menu icons were gone. For users dealing with all of their icons being gone, this may not solve the problem. Oct 21, 2018 at 3:21

I am having the same problem and I found that some of my programs don't even allow "Change Icon" to work (it is greyed), but if it does allow it then changing the icon to some system icon and then back to what it was initially set at will get the icon to display properly. It seems like this means it is definitely a cache issue, just not the normal ones (since I tried deleting those to no avail).

So, this isn't a general solution, but it might help get some of them back.

OK, turns out my problem was completely caused by Stardock IconPackager (a product that is not currently supporting Windows 10). I found the solution in their forums. Important text below. This completely fixed the problem for me.

Go to 'Start' open run command, type in Regedit. In the new window of Registry Editor go to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shellex and delete the subkey/folder 'IconHandler'

  • Finally a useful solution. I just uninstalled IconPackager for good.
    – Raknos13
    Jan 13, 2020 at 23:21

I found a fix for this. If you have ever used a StarDock product this may be what affected your icon cache, either way this worked for me.

You can download a free trial of StarDock IconPackager from cnet or download.com

Install it, then run that. Once in the program go to Settings - then at the bottom first click Repair Shell Icons, then wait til that finishes and then click Repair Icon images. This brought back all my start menu icons in Windows 10 as well as any broken elsewhere.

  • I have stardock installed, i'll try this
    – Jeff
    Sep 20, 2015 at 18:28
  • UPDATE: this did not work, repair shell icons would ask me what processes i'd like to fix (i did all,) and nothing would happen. No loading screen or anything. Same with repair icon images. No loading screen or anything. Icons still blank, very annoying.
    – Jeff
    Sep 20, 2015 at 19:06
  • Stardock IconPackager is showing as unsupported on Windows 10. Oct 27, 2015 at 20:15
  • 1
    Actually, I found a fix in the StarDock forums. Completely fixed it for me: forums.stardock.com/390822/page/1 Oct 27, 2015 at 20:32

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