Some desktop PC users often say my computer is slow to load icons. The icons of programs and files on Windows computer are stored in a system cache, so that the OS can quickly display them instead of having to load from source files. In case you have seen that Windows Explorer is slow to load icons, particularly when you start your system or open a folder containing plenty of files, increasing an icon’s size might help.
There is a registry hack to troubleshoot the issue, but before that, you have to make sure a few things are in correct. In case your icons are not correctly displaying, or not displaying at all, first you have to rebuild the thumbnail cache on Windows 7 or icon cache on Windows 10.
How to Rebuild Thumbnail Cache on Windows 7
This process involves finding the cache file and deleting it so that the operating system rebuilds it upon the next reboot. Try it in case slow loading icons are the only problem you face at the present time. You can also do it using the Disk Cleanup utility. For that, follow the steps mentioned below on your Windows 7 computer.
- Click on the Start button, type Disk Cleanup on the search box of the Start Menu, and click on the respective searched link to open the utility.
- Windows will open a dialog box prompting you to Select the Drive you Want to Clean Up. If your main partitioned drive is C: drive, then select it and click on the OK Wait for a few seconds for it to open.
- Under Disk Cleanup tab, make sure there is a tick mark in the Thumbnails If it does not have one, then select the checkbox and click on the OK button to run through the disk cleaning process.
Steps to Rebuild Broken Icon Cache on Windows 10
- Open the File Explorer and navigate to C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer. Note that your Windows user account is your <username> so navigate through the respective folder to open the Explorer
- Press and hold down Shift on your keyboard, right-click on the Explorer folder and click on Open command window here from the menu that pops up. This opens command prompt.
- To ensure it is in the right folder, run the command dir by pressing Enter Then, you should be able to see thumbcache and iconcache files with a .db file extension.
- Right-click Windows 10 taskbar and select Task Manager from the pop-up menu.
- In the next list, find and right-click Windows Explorer, and select End Task. Then, the desktop and Explorer will disappear. Close Task Manager and ensure that no program is running. You should only see the window of command prompt.
- In that, run the command del iconcache*. This will generally delete the respective files.
- Also, run the command dir to check the remaining iconcache In case you see one or more of those files listed on the command prompt, it means some programs are still running. Exit those applications running in the background and repeat the same steps again, if required.
- Then, press and hold down Ctrl, Alt, and Delete keys at the same time, and select Sign Off. Log back in; the missing or out of date icons should be recreated or repaired.
If not, follow the below steps to increase the cache size of an icon. This involves adjusting a setting on Windows Registry. If you are new to making changes in the Registry Editor, then be careful when on it.
- Click on Start and type regedit. Click to open the Registry Editor. If prompted, give the editor consent to make changes.
- Using its left pane, navigate through to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer
- Then, create a value in the Explorer For that, right-click on the folder, and select New and String Value. Name it as Max Cached Icons.
- Then change the value, which you created. Double-click the new value to open the window Edit String. In the Value data field, key in a fresh value for icon cache size. In place of the default size, it is suggested to type 4096 KB; you can adjust it later if you want to. Click on the OK button when you are done.
Then, close the Registry Editor. For the changes to take effect, you have to reboot your system. In case you want to configure the default icon cache size, you can either do so or delete the Max Cached Icons value. If even that fails to resolve the issue, or you are unsure of making registry changes, then feel free to get in touch with our computer tech support professionals for assistance.