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  1. #1
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    Question Desktop Icons Displaying Black Squares

    Hi all

    For a few months now I have had this going on.

    If I restart my laptop as usual it requests my password and then continues to my administrator account.
    No other accounts on the laptop.

    The trouble is every time I do this all the icons on the desktop except the system icons (Explorer recycle bin etc)
    are just black squares.

    Over time and with trial and error I have found a cure for the problem but I still have to do this every time I restart the machine.
    Not a serious problem as I nearly always leave it in sleep mode over night.

    My remedy is as follows.

    Open
    C:\Users\Brian\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Exp lorer
    I select all the icon db files in this folder and place them in a temp folder I created in the Explorer folder.
    (I am reasonable sure just deleting them result in the same thing.)
    If done more than once it will throw up a text box regarding duplicate files already in the temp fold I just skip them all.
    Some of the selected files won't disappear but no matter.
    I then press CTRL, SHIFT and ESCAPE together which opens Task Manager.
    Then locate Explorer and select and click restart and lo and behold the icons re-appear correctly.

    Would be nice to discover what is causing this problem and a permanent fix would be good.

    Any ideas?

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    It sounds very much like the icon cache is corrupt. Rather than spend time duplicating here how to reset the cache, have a look at this How to Rebuild the Icon Cache in Windows 10 article and let us know if it fixes the issue for you.

    Hope this helps...

  3. The Following User Says Thank You to Rick Corbett For This Useful Post:

    Scott5 (2016-01-19)

  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Corbett View Post
    It sounds very much like the icon cache is corrupt. Rather than spend time duplicating here how to reset the cache, have a look at this How to Rebuild the Icon Cache in Windows 10 article and let us know if it fixes the issue for you.

    Hope this helps...
    Thanks for the response

    I have just followed the directions as stated and after the restart all the icons are Black Squares again.

    Am I correct in assuming that the .ico file referred to in that link is to correct the system icons only.
    The system icons are displaying correctly all the time it is the shortcut links to my programs which keep showing as black squares.

    it seems to be loosing the icons to display but still work as shortcut should and open the correct program
    so it knows where the program is located but not able to recover the icon.

    Odd or what !

    Just for info.
    I have the desktop set like the old windows not apps as my laptop has no touch screen.

  5. #4
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott5
    Am I correct in assuming that the .ico file referred to in that link is to correct the system icons only.
    The system icons are displaying correctly all the time it is the shortcut links to my programs which keep showing as black squares.
    The icon cache is used for all icons, not just the system icons.

    Your first post mentions your temporary fix of moving all the "icon db files" in C:\Users\Brian\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Exp lorer then restarting Explorer. Do you mean the thumbnail cache files? (thumbcache_32.db, etc.)

    I've seen another post elsewhere where the person had to delete both the icon cache and the thumbnail cache to fix the same problem. Try deleting the icon cache and thumbnail cache as well then restarting.

  6. #5
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    Not so easy to do.
    I did like I normally do and deleted all the files with .db in that folder but it doesn't actually delete them instantly because the are in use by windows explorer.
    I then followed the clear icon cache instructions but once again Black Boxes.
    So still unsure what is happening.

  7. #6
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    Rick can I ask you a question please.
    Can you tell me what files are in the folder "C:\Users\Brian\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Ex plorer"
    (of course your name not mine)

    along with a 30 x ???.db files.I have the following

    ExplorerStartupLog_RunOnce.etl
    ExplorerStartupLog.etl

    Just checking to see if this is normal.

  8. #7
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    .ETL files are the operating system's Event Trace Log files. As such, they are completely normal.

    What Windows 10 Version and Build are you using? (Right-click on the Start button, choose Run and enter winver.)

    What, if anything, happens to the desktop icons if you change resolution?

    Have you tried creating a new local account and logging in with it? (This will check whether it's a profile issue.)
    Last edited by Rick Corbett; 2016-01-19 at 15:34.

  9. #8
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    Hi Rick

    Windows version 1511 (OS build 10586.63) the windows.
    That was an interesting exercise.
    I created another local user account and all the icons where correct although the resolution was larger.
    Here is the interesting bit in the bottom left corner of the icon (Where the little arrow should be) are little black squares.
    Now I think about it this may have started when I followed a process on line to remove the arrows from the shortcuts.
    The reason mine are showing just black squares are actually the black square of the arrow but because of the resolution they are covering the entire icon.

    I will try and retrace my steps and reinstall the arrows and see what that does to the icons.

    Still no idea why it should produce black squares though.

  10. #9
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    Hi Rick
    It would seem that removing the arrows from the shortcuts was the cause.
    I have deleted the reg info that I created when getting rid of the arrows and have restarted the laptop twice and all the icons appear normal but now have the arrows on them.

    So with your help I have solved the problem but now have the arrows back and will have to stick with them unless you or someone else knows a way to remove them.

    I must thank you again for helping me diagnose and find the cause.

    The little arrows do annoy me though. Mmmmmmmm

  11. #10
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott5
    The little arrows do annoy me though.
    Have a look at this How to Change, Remove, or Restore Shortcut Arrow Overlay Icon in Windows 10 article. Sounds like you may need Option 2 using the transparent icon file without an outline.

    Hope this helps...

  12. #11
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    Hi Rick
    That's what I followed before and I see the info you mean regarding the transparent icon file.

    I have found the following on line and checked with virus checker.

    Ultimate Windows Tweaker 4
    I have down loaded and run it and only clicked the remove shortcut arrows option which it did instantly
    without having to apply any of the other settings.
    I have restarted my laptop and all the icons are without the annoying little arrow

  13. #12
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Pleased to hear that you found a solution that works (although I'm a little surprised that the TenForums article didn't work out for you) and will no doubt use your experience when I finally get round to personalising Win 10 for myself.

    Consider using the Thread Tools to mark this thread as Solved.

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