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Recover Shortcut Icons for desktop in Vista x64

Posted on 2011-02-16
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Some time ago, I discovered that almost all of my 85 desktop shortcut icons had changed to a default symbol.  Only 13 have other than the default picture, and most of these are folder shortcuts, or PDF file shortcuts.  I do not recall what action on my part might have triggered this event.  I have already conducted a reinstall-"repair" operation for Vista Home Premium x64 system, but this did not resolve the problem.  Can anyone suggest how to recover the original stylized icons for these "lost" shortcut icons?
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Question by:R_Bruce_Morris
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20 Comments
 

Expert Comment

by:rbredewout
ID: 34911534
Are the programs local or on Server?
If you click twice on a shotcut.. what does it say?
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Expert Comment

by:oneitnz
ID: 34911602
Please also indicate what sort of shortcuts these are. For instance are they for Microsoft Word or are the Internet Explorer shortcuts.
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Author Comment

by:R_Bruce_Morris
ID: 34912373
The shortcuts are for most of the programs on my laptop.  As far as I can determine, all of the shortcuts work correctly, in that they cause the relevant program to be executed. Attached is a single page MS Word 2003 document with a screen shot of my desktop (HP dv9820us, Vista Home Premuium, 4 GB RAM, External USB Seagate Flex Pro 500 GB for backups, Verizon DSL Internet connection). Arbyem
hp-desktop-icons-problem-110216.doc
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Expert Comment

by:oneitnz
ID: 34912444
Please check the file associations for .lnk filetypes it should be set to unknown.
In Vista click start search for Default Programs
Click Associate a File Type or Protocol with a Program
Look for .LNK and tell us what it says.
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Author Comment

by:R_Bruce_Morris
ID: 34915499
Hi oneitnz: the .lnk Description is "Shortcut", and the Current Default is "ContextMenu.exe".  I have not yet changed it to "Unknown application" (as is the seting for .liveupdate).  Arbyem
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Expert Comment

by:oneitnz
ID: 34919951
Unknown Application is actually the setting that it needs to be. It appears somehow you've configured a shortcut link to open with the ContextMenu.exe program. Also please check the .desklink File Type as well because that seems to be the Extension for Desktop Shortcuts, that also should be Unknown Application.

Anyway I may have found a solution for you, please be careful when modifying your Registry as it could break something. No thats out of the way open the Registry (Start Run Regedit) and search for this Key. I recommend you backup the key by going File Export and save it to the Desktop in case this doesn't fix it.

You need to delete this key, specifically:
HEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.lnk\UserChoice

Also if you find the .desklink association is wrong too find that in the same place and look for userchoice key there and delete it.
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Author Comment

by:R_Bruce_Morris
ID: 34928215
Hi again: Thanks for the expeditious response.  However, it is not obvious to me where to find the "Unknown Application" selection.  I apparently cannot type-in that selection, and it is  not on the list of programs when one executes the "Browse" option.  Please explain how to set the default to "Unknown Application".   I will not attempt the regedit approach until I have completed the file associations change in the Default Programs/Set Associations window. Appreciatively, Arbyem
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Expert Comment

by:oneitnz
ID: 34929165
Hi Bruce

Sorry maybe I didn't explain myself properly, you can't just select unknown application you have to follow the registry change to reset it back to unknown.
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Author Comment

by:R_Bruce_Morris
ID: 34931005
Hi oneitnz: The above actions with regedit were completed, and the system was restarted.   The regedit results showed that the UserChoice entry is no longer present!
However, the desktop icons remain uncorrected – i.e. the same as before the regedit actions were duly completed.  Indeed, the Set Associations for .lnk still shows “Contextmenu.exe!  What has gone wrong with my corrective actions? Bruce
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Expert Comment

by:oneitnz
ID: 34931224
Hi Bruce

Please also check under HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.lnk\OpenWithList and
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.desklink\OpenWithList

You should probably find something there with ContextMenu.exe.

Failing that could you do a search of the entire registry for "Contextmenu.exe" and let me know what you find.

Regards
Brett
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Author Comment

by:R_Bruce_Morris
ID: 34931465
Hi Brett: BTW what is the "HKCU\"?  There is no "Contextmenu.exe" under "openWithList" for either .lnk or .desklink.  A "find" search for Contextmenu.exe turned up Contextmenu.exe in "Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\dllfile\shell\IObit Reg\command.  However, I could not locate this registry entry under "regedit" - there is no ".dllfile" entry!  The entry under "Data" was C:\Program Files (x86)\IObit\Advanced SystemCare 3\ContextMenu.exe "%1" "actreg".  The next occurrence was "....IObit UnReg\command with the Data entry the same except for the last portion - "actunreg" (vice "actreg").  The next occurence was "...lnkfile\shell\IObit\command with  the Data entry "%1" with no additional content.
The file ContextMenu.exe is indeed in the identified folder (116 KB, 20 Jul 2010, modified 22 Jan 2010, Accessed 24 Dec 2010).  I do have Advanced SystemCare 3 installed and running on my HP laptop under Vista Home Premium x64.
I hope that this helps to resolve my problem - although no resolution still permits me to operate with the minor annoyance of no customized desktop shortcut icons.
Appreciatively, Bruce
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Expert Comment

by:oneitnz
ID: 34931635
Hi Bruce

Firstly HKCU is a shortcut for HKEY_Current_User sorry for the confusion.

I've done a search through my entire registry and I don't have contextmenu.exe listed anywhere so obviously this is something to do with a piece of software you've installed by the looks of it, it's IOBIT Advanced System Care. I've looked it up and it seems to be some kind of registry cleaner or something, claiming to speed up your pc. If you don't use it I would recommend uninstalling it, I never trust any software that claims to be able to speed up my PC it's pure rubbish.

Regards
Brett
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Author Comment

by:R_Bruce_Morris
ID: 34933784
Hi again Brett: The Advanced SystemCare3 program was uninstalled using Revo Uninstaller.  The ContextMenu.exe file did not show up on a search of My Computer.  However, a “Find” function search in Registry Editor for “ContextMenu.exe” produced the following results: (no screen shot available here - see the attached document)  
The two screen shots are of the initial portion of the listing and the final portion thereof.
Does this mean that “ContextMenu.exe” exists throughout the “Muicache” regedit entry?
I restarted the system, but the desktop shortcut icons are now blank, including the three at the lower left in the Task Bar (as shown in the screen shot in the attached document)!
Is there any other action required?  Have I inadvertently removed (deleted or otherwise disrupted) one or more relevant files which control the individual icons for the desktop shortcuts?
As a last resort, I guess that I may have to accept those blank icons!
Appreciatively, Bruce

hp-desktop-icons-problem-experts.doc
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Expert Comment

by:oneitnz
ID: 34936145
Please send me a screenshot of what you have under HKEY Local Machine\Software\Classes\.lnk and .desklink if they exist.
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Author Comment

by:R_Bruce_Morris
ID: 34937596
Brett:  I have added the relevant screen shots you requested in the attached updated document.  Thanks again, Bruce
hp-desktop-icons-problem-experts.doc
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Expert Comment

by:oneitnz
ID: 34938453
Ok I think we are getting somewhere, Please confirm that under the HKLM\Software\Classes\.Desklink registry key that there is a Default REG_SZ with CLSID\{9E56BE61-C50F-11CF-9A2C-00A0C90A90CE} as the Data.

Second please confirm that your  HKLM\Software\Classes\.lnk\ShellNew registry key is identical to mine. My Registry
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Author Comment

by:R_Bruce_Morris
ID: 34940080
Hi Brett: The .desklink Data entry is (value not set); so there is a discrepancy relative to your entry.   The contents of my regedit entry for .lnk\ShellNew appear to be identical to yours (see the screen shot in my attached updated document - I do not know the easiest means of creating a jpg file from a screen shot, as you have done to include the image in this message window!).  So, is my next step to create the identical Data entry in my regedit as you have in yours?  Appreciatively, Bruce
hp-desktop-icons-problem-experts.doc
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Accepted Solution

by:
oneitnz earned 250 total points
ID: 34940293
Can you first try creating a new user account on your system and seeing if that experiences the same problem.

Then you could try running these steps.

To Manually Rebuild the Icon Cache using the Command Prompt
1. Close and save anything that you are working on. This command will kill explorer and restart the computer when completed.

2. Open the Start Menu, and type cmd in the search box and press enter.


3. In the command prompt, Copy and Paste each command line below exactly as is and press enter after each command.
WARNING: The last command will restart the computer, so be sure to close and save anything that you are working on first.
taskkill /IM explorer.exe /F
CD /d %userprofile%\AppData\Local
DEL IconCache.db /a
shutdown /r
4. The IconCache.db file has now been rebuilt.
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Assisted Solution

by:R_Bruce_Morris
R_Bruce_Morris earned 0 total points
ID: 34965828
Hi Brett:  Sorry for the delayed response, but I was away for two days without my laptop.  I have a second user account, but the result was the same - no icons in the same desktop shortcuts as in my user account.  I executed the cmd commands as you recommended, but after the restart, there was no change to the icons!
I consider that you have toiled long and hard on this problem.  I have learned many things from your participation.  If you wish to terminate the pursuit of this seeming irresolvable problem, then I certainly understand.  I will cause the 250 points to be awarded to your credit.  Appreciatively, Bruce
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Author Closing Comment

by:R_Bruce_Morris
ID: 35034680
Thanks for the patience and forebearance in attempting to resolve this frustrating problem. Appreciatively, Bruce
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