Windows 10 desktop icons suddenly have black squares over them  

  1. Posts : 31
    Windows 10 V 1607 (OS-version 14393.1358)

    Windows 10 desktop icons suddenly have black squares over them

    I just bought a new PC on Thursday and it came with Windows 10 Home preinstalled. Having used versions 2.0 (yes I am ancient ), carefully avoiding Vista, ME and 8.x, and on via XP to 7, I felt it couldn't get much better now and had decided I would resist upgrading as long as at all possible.

    I had also been convinced by friends that Windows 10 wasn't so bad, really, and anyway would soon be 'the only way to fly' if I wanted to continue using Microsoft OS's, so I finally relented the other day to the tune of

    For a day and half things went better than expected, and I felt like a convert. Then I started noticing peculiarities like e.g. laboriously configuring a piece of software to my preferences in one session, rebooting, and finding that it had reverted to it's pristine state; the configuring hadn't 'taken'.

    How very odd for such a fine OS I thought, but plodded on nevertheless trying to ignore this curious behavior. As time wore on I noticed other oddities that I had not expected from an OS with such a long pedigree. I haven't kept a log of these lapses as I tried my best to keep ignoring them and hoping for the best.

    Today I was greeted with a desktop with black rectangles on top of most, though not all, icons:

    The Chrome bookmark bar was, curiously, not affected:

    I could ignore this foolishness no longer and started Googling for 'my Windows 10 desktop icons suddenly have black squares over them', and got 467 000 results, some even boldly claiming to have solved the issue, (Solved) - LITTLE BLACK SQUARES How-To Geek Forums being but one.

    Well, not one of the 5 to 10 'solutions' I tried helped. Not a one. Still I thought I'd post here anyway before turning from convert to revert. And of course there is always Ubuntu and other Unix/Linux flavors, stable and reliable according to the
    proponents, but it is harder - though not undoable - to change a 29-year habit at age 59.

    Pardon me for being so long-winded, but; there it is - please don't Tl;dr me because this means a lot to me
    and any answers may be of use to some of the other 467 000 unfortunates.

    What are some of your thoughts on the above?

    Thank you.
      My Computers

  2. Posts : 149
    Windows 10 Pro x64

    Hello Kokopelli and welcome to Ten Forums.

    Did any of the "5 to 10 solutions" you tried include rebuilding the icon cache?

    Icon Cache - Rebuild in Windows 10 - Windows 10 Forums
      My Computer

  3. Posts : 31
    Windows 10 V 1607 (OS-version 14393.1358)
    Thread Starter

    marsmimar said:
    Hello Kokopelli and welcome to Ten Forums.
    Did any of the "5 to 10 solutions" you tried include rebuilding the icon cache?
    Icon Cache - Rebuild in Windows 10 - Windows 10 Forums
    Hi marsimar. Welcome? That's sweet, thanks!

    No, that was not one - I think - because I tried some sort of system cleaning tool (I forget the name) that was in a tiny window, looked like a remnant from circa Windows 2.0 and had checkmarks on the left where I could remove thumbnails, empty the recycle bin etc.

    I was told to remove the thumbnails - but that didn't do it. I'll tell you a couple of things that did though: Finding and removing the IconCache.db files of which there were some 10 or so. Perhaps it comes to the same thing as rebuilding the icon cache?

    Because when I shut down and restarted hey, presto - the black squares were gone. For a while...after which they returned... Then somebody asked if I had used a registry hack to remove the shortcut arrows? Affirmative. Well, I should undo that and this would (yet again) do the trick and sure enough, it did. For the time being, anyway.

    On the whole I would say that the icon handling business (in the anniversary edition at least), is kinda iffy. That is especially true with custom icons. Some times the changes 'take' immediately, sometimes it takes a while sometimes such maneuvers are ignored outright.

    Remember, when I googled the black squares problem I got a whopping 270 000 wonder this results in a gazillion more or less clever tips.

    Also, I can laboriously configure a piece of software one day, the next it's in pristine condition and has to be reconfigured etc. ad nauseam.
    Well, seeyabye Windows 10 desktop icons suddenly have black squares over them-icon_wave.gif
      My Computers

  4. Posts : 149
    Windows 10 Pro x64

    Just a couple of other things you might try (if you haven't already done so.) Run a full scan with your anti-malware of choice just to rule out any malware issues. Since no anti-malware product is 100% effective 100% of the time, you could also run an on-demand scan with any of several free products. Two products that are recommended are Malwarebytes and ESET Online Scanner

    Malwarebytes | Free Anti-Malware & Malware Removal (click on "Free Download" bottom of left column)

    Free Virus Scan | Online Virus Scan from ESET ESET

    If the scans come back clean (no malware found) my second suggestion is to run a System File Checker scan from an elevated command prompt or elevated powershell (Option Three, this tutorial.) The scan will check for any corrupted system files and try to repair them. If SFC could not fix something, then run the command again to see if it may be able to the next time. Sometimes it may take running the sfc /scannow command up to 3 times with fast startup turned off and restarting the computer after each scan to completely fix everything that it's able to.

    SFC Command - Run in Windows 10 - Windows 10 Forums
      My Computer


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