The ‘Blank Icon’ issue has existed in Windows for a long time now. It was a lot more common in Windows 10. Although in Windows 11, this issue is not as common, some users reported encountering this issue.
A blank icon appears when Windows is unable to render the icon file of a certain application. It can happen due to reasons like not updating the application or any issues with the icon cache file. If you have a blank icon on your desktop then follow this guide to know how you can fix it.
Change a Blank Icon from the Properties Menu
If you have a blank icon on your desktop, the first thing you should do is to manually change the icon of that application from its Properties menu. Although the new icon might not be exactly the same as the default icon. But it will be better than having a blank icon.
First, right-click on the blank icon from your desktop and select ‘Properties’.
Once the Properties window appears, click on the ‘Change Icon’ button.
A smaller window will appear labeled as ‘Change Icon’. From there, select an icon that you can easily identify and then click on ‘OK’.
After you select the new icon, click on ‘Apply’ and then ‘OK’ from the Properties window.
After you click on ‘OK’ you will see that the icon has been changed.
Perform a DISM Scan
To perform a DISM Scan first open up the Command Prompt window in administrator mode by typing ‘Command Prompt’ in windows search, right-clicking on it from search results and then selecting ‘Run as adminstrator’.
After the Command Prompt window appears, type the following command in the command line and press Enter.
Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
Now you have to execute another command after it, which is:
Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
This should fix any broken or blank icon present on your desktop but it is recommended to follow up with an SFC scan after you execute these 2 commands.
Perform an SFC Scan
The SFC or System File Checker is a command-line tool that checks for broken or corrupted files in your system and also repairs them. You can perform the SFC scan by executing the ‘sfc /scannow’ command from the Command Prompt window running in Administrative mode.
Type ‘Command Prompt’ in the Start Menu search, right-click on it from search results, and then select ‘Run as administrator’.
Once the Command Prompt window appears, type ‘sfc /scannow’ inside the command line and then press Enter. The scan will start and it can take somewhere between 5 to 10 minutes to finish.
Once the scan is complete it will show you if your system had any broken files or not. Now you can check if the blank item is fixed or not.
Reset Windows Explorer
If you have a blank icon on your desktop, there is a possibility that it happed due to an error in the Windows Explorer background process. Simply restarting Windows Explorer can easily fix this issue. To do that, first, open up the Task Manager by searching for it in Windows search.
On the Task Manager window, scroll drown and locate the ‘Windows Explorer’ process. Select it by clicking on it once and then click on the ‘Restart’ button at the bottom-right corner of the window.
Delete the Icon Cache File
In Windows 11, all icons are saved in one cache file. If you delete this file and then restart your computer, Windows will automatically re-build the cache file and any broken or blank icon will be restored.
To delete the icon cache folder, first open up the File Explorer by pressing Windows+i on your keyboard or by searching for it in Windows search.
Once the File Explorer window opens, first click on ‘View’ from the toolbar and a dropdown menu will appear. From there, select ‘Show’ and then from the expanded menu, select ‘Hidden items’.
After that, click on ‘This PC’.
Now, select the ‘C’ drive or the local drive where Windows 11 is installed.
Next, open the ‘Users’ folder by double-clicking on it.
Now, double-click on the folder with your PC username.
After that, open the ‘AppData’ folder. The folder icon will be slightly faded. This is because this folder is normally hidden.
Now, open the ‘Local’ folder.
Once you are inside the Local folder, scroll down and you will see the ‘IconCache’ file. Now delete this file by highlighting it and pressing ‘DEL’ on your keyboard or by right-clicking on it and then clicking on the delete button.
Now, close the File Explorer window, right-click on the ‘Recycle Bin’ icon on your desktop and then select ‘Empty Recycle Bin’.
After that, just restart your computer and the blank icons will be fixed.
Make Sure that the App is Updated
If you have an app that you have not updated for a long time, its icon can turn into a blank icon. It can happen especially if the app connects to the internet. Thus, you should keep your apps updated as often as possible. Most of the time when you have an update pending for an application, it should notify you when sending a notification to your desktop or by a popup when you open that application.
Now, there are multiple methods to update an application, and that mainly depends on where the app is distributed. If you downloaded the application from the Microsoft Store, then the app has to be updated via the Microsoft Store. If you have downloaded the application from a third-party source such as the developer website then you need to go to the website and download the latest version of the application from there.
Re-install the Application
If even updating the application does not fix the blank icon, you can just uninstall the application and reinstall it on your computer. Now there are two ways you can uninstall an application in Windows 11. You can install an application via the Settings menu.
To do that, open up the Settings menu by pressing Windows+i on your keyboard or by searching for it in the Start Menu search.
On the Settings window, click on ‘Apps’ from the left panel and then select ‘Apps & features’ from the right panel.
You will be presented with a list of applications. Right-click on the 3 vertical dots next to the application you want to uninstall and then click on the ‘Uninstall’ button.
After that, click on ‘Uninstall’ once again and the application will be removed from your computer.
Alternatively, you can uninstall an application using the Control Panel. Open up the Control Panel by typing ‘Control Panel’ in the Start Menu search and then selecting it from the search results.
Once the Control Panel window appears, click on ‘Uninstall a program’ from the Programs section.
Now, highlight any application by selecting it from the list and then click on ‘Uninstall’ from the toolbar above the list to permanently remove it from your computer.
After the app is uninstalled you can download it from either Microsoft Store or from the website where it is distributed. In the case of third-party websites, if you still have the installer for the application that you have downloaded before, you can also use that to re-install the application. Although remember that if you use an old installer you might have to update the application after installation.
This is how you fix Blank Icons in Windows 11.