The Case of the Vanishing Icons

One of the great entertainments that awaits you whenever you reinstall Windows is seeing what new and strange personality features your fresh install exhibits.

It happens almost every time, and usually within days, or possibly even hours, of the reinstall; some weird thing arises that you've never seen before, even if all you've done is reinstalled the same version of Windows on the same computer you were using before.

Munged icons are a pretty common Windows problem - the OS messes up the pointers to its cached icons file, so each class of file or folder gets a semi-random new icon. But this new install of mine just came up with a variation on that theme which is a new one on me.

Munged icons

Yes, it munged the Quick Launch icons!

(In case you're wondering: No, none of those icons match the programs they're connected to.)

No problem, said I. I opened TweakUI and used its "Rebuild Icons" option, confident that everything would now be fine again.

Very munged icons

Instead, I got this. Now all but one of the icons is invisible!

More "Rebuild Icons" attempts caused the single still-visible icon to change, and more and more icons on the desktop to disappear.

Well played, Windows! Well played!

6 Responses to “The Case of the Vanishing Icons”

  1. ratkins Says:


    There's new ones, you know. Quite nice. Glossy screens, 2.8GHz dual-core processors. As much disk as you can sensibly eat, plus Firewire 800 and even GigE if you're a glutton.

    You know you want to. All the rest of us ex-Amiga users are here, join us! Join us!

    [* Just Get A Freakin' Macintosh]

  2. cb Says:

    This will happen when you have too many items for which Windows tries to cache icons; why is there a hard limit at all? You *can* change the size of the icon cache, e.g. with one of those useful-once-or-less-often-per-install "Windows Tweaks" utilities that try to optimize memory cache and paging settings, among other micromanaging goodies. Cheaper than a Mac, anyway.

    Of course, real men collect shortcuts and junctions to executables in a directory in the path and start programs from the command line! c:\bin\Grunt.exe!

  3. icghost Says:

    I've seen this happen w/notebook USB port replicators, replugging solved the problem. In this case the VGA was coming from the replicator - something was getting whacked when Windows redrew the desktop on device activation. Of course it could be PC euphoria caused by that big new display :) Operator state of euphoria not withstanding...

  4. GeeJay Says:

    Hey Dan, lets play cards...because at the moment you can't take a trick...

    BTW not all Amiga owners went the Apple way....I went AppleIIE then Amiga (of which I still own 3) and then waited for the PC to (sort of ) catch up.....

  5. alphacheez Says:

    I don't know if you read, but they have been running some good stories on the history of Amiga which anyone here would probably get a kick out of.
    I'm a Mac guy, so that's how I get my less troublesome computing done. The Amiga seems to have been a viable option in it's day though. Too bad the Commodore executives seem to have been gits.

  6. Daniel Rutter Says:

    Oh, and even if I did switch to Mac OS, I bet I'd just end up clearing my font cache instead :-)!

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