All shortcut icons changed to Internet Explorer Icon

All icons changed to IE Most of the people double click on external devices like flash drive, external HDD, pen drive, memory card and due to which sometimes we get into trouble either serious one or simpler one.  We can’t expect everyone to open any executable thing with caution and do right click then use explore while opening external devices. I would try to provide a basic solution to one problem which seems to be common in Vista, Win 7 (I have tested on these right now).

At the moment you tried double click on external devices, it will try to associate .lnk (shortcuts) files with Microsoft Internet Explorer (MS IE) without even notifying you (See the gievn image to understand what I meant) .

Symbolic link means shortcut icon here, which means, if you click on any such shortcut icon like kmplayer, msword etc, it will open IE or control panel as such. It is very easy to spread such annoying pranks, but almost impossible to remove it if you are not from computer background. (How many of you pay with regedit often?). This is because there is no possibility for the user to “unlink” a file extension and put it back to its original symbolic link.

Problem: All shortcut icons, both on the desktop and in the start menu are changed to  Microsoft Internet Explorer Icon after accessing external devices. When clicking on them a Save as dialog opens or opens IE or open control panel. The problem is that the .lnk file extensions of all files have been associated with Microsoft Internet Explorer.

Solution: You need to tackle with a hidden monster called “registry editor”. Perform any action with great care which is associated with registry editor and remember the changes, as it involves manually editing the system registry. If you do a simple mistake here, it may cause your even crash your memory (not generally).  If you feel unsure, get help from an experienced computer expert (like me 😉 ). Better take back of registry editor then perform any action.

Steps to recover back all original icons:

  • Open run command by pressing windows key (windows logo) and R together.
  • Type “regedit” and press enter.
  • Browse the computer system registry into
  • “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.lnk” (It may take time to reach there, so be patient)
  • Delete all subfolders under “.lnk” directory  but please never ever  delete the “.lnk” folder.
  • Close registry editor (regedit).
  • The shortcuts on your desktop will still not work now although clicking on it will work fine. So better reboor your system.
Bingo! You are done. You solved a mystery case here. Now say me thanks with your comments 😛

Image Source: One of my friend's laptop 😛

Sanjeev Jaiswal

He loves web programming and security and co-founder of Alien Coders. He usually shares and helps engineering students and IT professionals in academics and jobs. An avid reader and quick learner.

243 thoughts on “All shortcut icons changed to Internet Explorer Icon

  • February 6, 2014 at 2:58 pm


          I actually installed ​Dreamweaver 8. When i install this software i think i made some mistake. I try to open my Dreamweaver 8 it dose n't open. So i just right clik the Dreamweaver 8 icon and press the open with folder, and clike the Dreamweaver 8. Then all the icon changed into Dreamweaver 8 icon. I dont know how to clear this issue. Plz help me.

    Thank you

  • February 6, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    Hi Manjula,
    If the above said steps didn't fix then it is probably that your icon cache db got corrupted. What you can do is just try to rebuild it.

    You may open run command i.e windows icon + R from your keyboard or windows start button -> type run in search box shown and then click on run application

    Then execute these three commands one by one and restart the system On reboot it will build the icon cache again.

    • taskkill /IM explorer.exe /F
    • DEL "%localappdata%\IconCache.db" /A
    • shutdown /r /f /t 00
  • March 9, 2014 at 3:33 am

    This one is really helpful so cheers to you and thanks once again buddy.


  • July 4, 2014 at 5:41 am

    thanks a lot..very helpful

  • October 13, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    Hello to all, how is all, I think every one is
    getting more from this web site, and your views are pleasant in support of new viewers.


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