The organization I currently work for have a couple of laptops running windows 7 home edition. Recently one of my colleague brought in one of the laptops as it was experiencing a peculiar problem. All the program icons and the files on the desktop, task bar and the start menu had all changed to the Microsoft word 2010 icon. When you try to open any of these files and icons, they all open up the Microsoft word 2010 program and display gibberish.

This was the first time I had experienced such an issue, so naturally, I checked Google to see what they had to say about it. As it turns out, this was a common issue experienced by a couple of Microsoft users. The first site I visited in search of a solution to this problem was a Microsoft support site and sure enough, they had a couple of suggestions to try out. The first option involved running an automatic fix it add-on but that was not applicable in this case as I was checking for a solution from a different laptop. The second option on the article involved fixing it yourself. This option included the following instructions:

  1. Close all open windows if a Close Open Programs Interaction dialogue box is displayed.
  2. Create the Max Cached Icons registry key and set the value of that key to 2048. To do this, follow these steps:
  • Click Start and type Regedit in the Search box and click Regedit from the list.
  • Locate and click to select the following key in the registry: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ Explorer
  • On the Edit menu, click New, and then click String Value
  • Type MaxCachedIcons for the registry key name and press Enter on the keyboard
  • Double-click on the Max Cached Icons registry key and type 2048 in the Value data: box and then click OK
  • Close the Registry Editor

3.   Delete IconCache.db that is located in the following path:

Windows XP – %userprofile%\Local Settings\Application Data
Windows Vista or Windows 7 – %userprofile%\AppData\Local

While carrying out these instructions, I got stuck in the third instruction as the IconCache.db file was no where to be found. It was not in the path provided above. I realised this Microsoft article was not going to be helpful in this particular scenario. So I decided to search for this particular problem on as they provide very useful support resources relating to most operating systems out there. Sure enough, I found a very useful answer to my particular problem from Jin Lin. Jin’s instructions included the following:

  1. Open the Run dialog (Start → Run or Ctrl+R)
  2. Type regedit, then click [OK]
  3. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts
  4. Look for a .lnk branch
  5. If you find one, delete it
  6. Reboot

After carrying out the instructions stated above and restarting the corrupted system, the Microsoft word 2010 icons disappeared and the proper icons for each application appeared. The Laptop and its applications worked properly from then on.

Okey Chima.