Fixing corrupt icons pinned to the Windows 7 taskbar

imageWindows 7 features a greatly improved taskbar. One of the new features is the ability to pin favourite programmes for easy access.

I had a problem that one of my apps would display a generic “app-not-found” icon if I pinned it to the taskbar. The app in question was my twitter client of choice DestroyTwitter, which I had recently updated. I tried changing the icon through the pinned shortcut properties but that didn’t stick after a reboot. I knew there must be some kind of cache that was telling Windows to look in the wrong location for pinned icons. So I decided to have a dig in the registry using the excellent NirSoft tool RegScanner. It came up with a couple of entries which lead me to key  [HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerTaskband]. By removing the “Favorites” value I was able to get Windows to wipe all of my pinned apps so I could start from scratch.

*Update: The problem did re-appear, see below

For those wishing to reproduce this fix follow these instructions

  • Open the Registry Editor (regedit.exe)
  • Navigate to HKCUSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerTaskband
  • Backup (export) the “Taskband” key
  • Delete the binary value “Favorites”
  • Restart the explorer.exe process (or restart your computer)

This will leave you with no pinned items on your taskbar. You can then re-pin your favourite apps to the taskbar and they should all have the correct icons Smile


It seems that this didn’t actually fix my problem permanently. I did find, however, another location to troubleshoot the pinned shortcuts. There is a hidden folder at “C:Users%USERNAME%AppDataRoamingMicrosoftInternet ExplorerQuick LaunchUser PinnedTaskBar”. You may recognise it as a familiar folder path to the Quick Launch toolbar from older versions of Windows.

For some reason, it seems that every time you pin an app to the taskbar it will create a new shortcut.

TO try to fix it again I did the following

  1. Deleted all shortcuts in “C:Users%USERNAME%AppDataRoamingMicrosoftInternet ExplorerQuick LaunchUser PinnedTaskBar”
  2. Delete all values in “HKCUSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerTaskband”
  3. Restart Explorer.exe process.

This got rid of all my pinned items and only active programmes showed up in the Taskbar. Everything seems to be back to normal now so Fingers crossed

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