For most file types, Windows can display icons. When the icon cache is full, you might see slow loading of file icons when you open a folder. To avoid that, follow the below steps to increase icon cache size sin Windows 10.
Generally, Windows automatically creates the icon cache for all files in your system. When you open a folder, Windows will grab the relevant icon files from the cache so that it doesn't have to generate the icon file on the spot.
However, considering that the default icon cache size is just 512 KB, it doesn't take much to fill up the cache. If that happens, you will see Windows trying to generate the icons on the fly. This makes the file loading in a folder look a bit slow and sluggish.
The good thing is, you can change the icon cache size by extending the cache size limit. Let me show you how.
Increase or Decrease Icon Cache Size
Though Windows has no quick options to change the icon cache size, you can do it via a simple registry edit. All you have to do is create and tweak a single value and you are good to go. Before proceeding, make sure you backup registry. The backup helps you restore the registry to a known good state.
1. First, open the start menu, search for "Registry Editor" and click on the result to open the registry editor.
2. In the registry editor, go to the following folder. To make things easier, you can simply, copy and paste the below path in the Registry Editor's address bar and press Enter.
3. Now, right-click on the "Explorer" folder and select "New → String". This action will create new value.
4. Name the new value as "Max Cached Icons" and press Enter to save the name.
5. After creating the value and giving it the name, double-click on it. In the value data filed, type "4096" and click on the "Ok" button.
In case you are wondering, 4096 is 4MB written in KBs. If you want to, you can increase it further. For example, if you want to set the cache size to 8MB you would enter 8192 (8 * 1024). Keep in mind that going over and above 8MB doesn't produce any better results. Above 8MB, it's just diminishing returns.
6. Close the registry editor.
7. To make the changes take effect, reboot the Windows system. If needed, you can also clear icon cache to get a fresh start.
That is all. It is that simple to change the size of icon cache in Windows 10. If the icons are loading slowly then it is better to increase the icon cache size. After all, it's just a simple tweak.
After making the changes, if you ever want to revert the settings back to default, either delete the "Max Cached Icons" value or change its value data to 512. In this case, 512 represents 512KB which is the default size.
Hope that helps. If you are stuck or need some help, comment below and I will try to help as much as possible.