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Blank icons after disk cloning

Posted on 2010-01-06
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Last Modified: 2012-05-08
After a successful boot drive clone using XXClone (which I've used many times quite successfully) I noticed that icons for MS Office and Adobe Acrobat files (and maybe others) are now blank. This is not the case for any multimedia files, program files or shortcuts to programs; just documents, spreadsheets, PDF's etc. including shortcuts to such files. In addition to this anomaly, when I attach files to an Outlook message the icons displayed in the attachment box in the new message are also blank.

I copied the volume serial from the original drive which usually prevents applications like MS Office from wigging out after a drive cloning but for some reason in this particular instance MS Office and Adobe got fussy. The program associations are fine - if I double-click any of the affected files the correct associated apps launch; it's just the displayed icons that are affected

I ran TweakUI's icon rebuild feature but it did not help. However, if I kill and then restart Explorer.exe it corrects the problem until I launch/close a window that triggers a complete explorer refresh. The problem affects views of file icons in all folders either local or network, but as with the desktop I can temporarily fix it by bouncing explorer.exe.

I've used this method to restore missing icons in the systray when I knew a program was resident but not showing up in the tray, but I've never seen this happen with explorer in general like this.

Any ideas?
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Question by:Nozmoking
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Expert Comment

by:mr_E
ID: 26195392
**** I got something similar happens once:
I solver setting admin rights to the user account with the problems, so windows finish to configure some internal things, I reboot a couple of times and after I set back the rights to normal user account and windows works normal.

* You can try to create another user account just to check if the issue occurs.

* Maybe reinstalling office can solve your issue.
Because this is a cloned disk, I believe that reinstalling office can help.

* Some kind of redirected folder (Documents) can create issues with icons.

* And last, the worst and safest path can be to reinstall windows, but if you have software that can't be reinstalled (licensed or need to pay for re-installing) this can be a very bad scenario, hope is not your case.

Regards.
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Author Comment

by:Nozmoking
ID: 26204186
Update - the user account on the workstation in question is an administrator equivalent. I renamed the IconCahce.db file (which still bears the modified date of the day of the cloning) and Windows did not rebuild it either when logging off/on or changing the display color depth. This tells me that Windows is reading the IconCache.db file when I bounce explorer.exe but strangely enough it isn't being updated. This scenario doesn't seem to make much sense nor does it seem to have any discernible link to the disk cloning process.
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Author Comment

by:Nozmoking
ID: 26204325
Update(2) - I logged into the workstation through another admin account that has not been used for quite some time and the same issue exists EXCEPT that bouncing explorer.exe does not fix the blank icons. The IconCache.db file for that account has a modified date of sometime in 2007 soe for some reason, ever since the disk was cloned the IconCache.db file is not being written to or updated. Could there be some sort of quirky problem with the file permissions and user accounts since the disk cloning that may be causing this?

-noz
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Accepted Solution

by:
mr_E earned 750 total points
ID: 26204920
If you open a cmd windows and go to  C:\Documents and Settings\
there you can search for other copies of IconCache.db with:

dir ico*.db /s/ah

Or you can "delete/rename" the old, and create a empty IconCache.db, change the attributes to read only.
Info here:
http://www.mydigitallife.info/2009/04/24/fix-blank-or-white-shortcut-icons-on-desktop/

Regards

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Assisted Solution

by:mr_E
mr_E earned 750 total points
ID: 26205091
Here are more tricks related of how to rebuild the icon cache:
http://smallvoid.com/article/windows-icon-cache.html

From time to time I get a PC with this issue, and every case was unique.

The worst was my own mistake, I play with TweakUI and the Group Policy Editor and put a PC in this state (I was trying to secure windows for a PC used outside the office), ahh, and a virus trojan on systems where the user have admins rigths can get the same situation.

I hope this computer was not contaminated before clone the disk, rigth?
From this side of the world we fight with one virus called "Venom" that do weird things using the GPOs. In this case we can't run Task Manager on the affected systems.

Regards
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Author Comment

by:Nozmoking
ID: 26205860
Thanks for the insights - I actually stumbled upon the fix. Try as I might, nothing I did would trigger Windows to write a new IconCache.db file - Windows was perfectly happy to run without one. Creating a new local user didn't help and messing with the icon cache in other established user profiles produced unpredictable results. The strange thing was that only MS Office, TightVNC, Google Earth, Solar Winds TFT server and a couple of other minor apps/file associations were affected.

As it turned out the issue was that the \windows\installer\ directory was empty. Every time an application is installed, all the negotiation happens in that folder; copies of installer files and a host of other ghosts and goblins end up in there and for some reason (and I've had this happen before) the disk cloning operation missed all of it. The folder was there and the permissions were correct. And XXClone didn't miss one other single bit of information - the folder was simply empty with the exception of a couple of artifacts recent application updates tossed in there. I copied the contents over from the old drive and everything came back.

That's one for the "goofy log" unless anyone knows why XXClone misses everything under "%systemroot%\installer\"...

Thanks,
-noz
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Assisted Solution

by:mr_E
mr_E earned 750 total points
ID: 26206028
Maybe you need to read this
http://www.xxclone.com/itheory.htm
Quote:
".... In short, XXCLONE is a special purpose file-copy utility with extra features to make the target volume self-bootable (this portion of the operation still requires low-level disk I/O).  It is not a disk-imaging tool that treats a disk as a collection of sectors.   Much of XXCLONE's advantages is a result this fundamental difference to its competing products."

Not a real clone disk.

Regards.
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Author Comment

by:Nozmoking
ID: 26206167
To clarify, this is absolutely true - XXClone is not a disk imaging tool. I have however used it very successfully many times and it has been particularly useful in copying disks to dissimilar sized media without having to risk a dynamic volume resizing after the copy.

Anyway, thanks for the help - you gave some good avenues to pursue for a rather obscure issue.

-noz
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Author Closing Comment

by:Nozmoking
ID: 31673753
Although the suggestions given were not completely aligned with the eventual solution they were quite helpful given the obscure information I had to offer - testing the suggestions did eventually lead to resolving the issue.
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