How to Clear Icon Cache and Fix Black Background in Windows 10

From time to time, the Windows icon cache can become corrupt or broken. In those situations, the icon will turn black or shows black background behind the icons. If that’s the case, clear icon cache in Windows. Here’s how.

Generally, Windows dynamically builds the icon cache as needed. Once the icons are built, they are stored in a cache database folder. The next time you visit the same folder, Windows can just show the icons from the cache. Showing icons from cache is much faster than dynamically generating theme.

However, there will be times when Windows shows a black icon or black background behind the actual icon. This happens because either the icon cache database is broken or corrupt. The good thing is, you can clear and rebuild icon cache with a few simple steps.

So, without further ado, let me show you how it’s done.

Clear Icon Cache and Rebuild It

Though we are using big words like database, all you have to do is delete a few cache files and Windows will automatically rebuild the icon cache as and when needed.

However, there is one catch. Since icon cache files are actively used by the File Explorer, we cannot delete them directly from the File Explorer. Rather, we need to use a couple of commands. It’s pretty easy. Just follow the steps as is and you will be good.

1. First, open the start menu, search for “Command Prompt” and select the “Run as Administrator” option. You can also select the same option by right-clicking on the Command Prompt result.


2. In the Command Prompt window, use the below command to go the folder where the icon cache files are stored.

 cd %homepath%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer 

Related: Wondering what’s the %homepath% in the above command? It’s an environment variable. Here’s a list of useful Windows environment variables.


3. Since the File Explorer is actively using the icon cache files, we first need to stop File Explorer. To do that, use the below command. Don’t worry when your screen goes blank. It’s completely normal.

taskkill /f /im explorer.exe

4. After stopping File Explorer, we can safely delete the icon cache files. Execute the below command to do so.

del iconcache*

The above command will only delete the icon cache files. Once deleted, you will not see any message as long as there is no error.

5. Finally, restart explorer using the below command.


Wrapping Up

That is all. It is that simple to clear icon cache in Windows 10 or other versions of Windows. As I said before, you don’t have to manually rebuild the cache. Windows will dynamically generally the cache when you first visit a folder.

Hope that helps. If you are stuck or need some help, comment below and I will try to help as much as possible.

If you like this article, do check out how to remove the arrow overlay icon from shortcut icons and how to clear recent files from File Explorer.

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