Sometimes specific folder icons disappear

  • Thread starter Sometimes specific folder icons disappea
  • Start date

S

Sometimes specific folder icons disappea

Hello all,
I have Win XP Pro sp3 installed.
Sometimes very specific folder icons in Windows Explorer
are replaced with default icons, namely
- the MyMusic, MyVideo, Favorites, Control Panel and some of the icons
inside it
(ex.Printers), DVD drive icons
- the icons for *.txt and *.dll files

When this happens, then if I try to use "Change Icon" for a desktop shortcut
and choose an icon from SHELL32.DLL, then an error is issued stating that
"file SHELL32.DLL does not contain any icons".

Reboot does not solve the problem.
Sometimes the problem can be solved by using TweakUI's Repair Icons option,
other times this solution works only after reboot.

Also, I tried to delete the IconCache.db file and have it rebuilt by a reboot,
but this solution also lasted only for a sepcific time.

The SHELL32.DLL file seems to be identical as originally installed from the
CD,
and when the problem is gone then all the icons from it are displayed
correctly.

Why does this happen and how can the problem be solved without recurring
after every few hours of using the computer ?

Thanks anticipately & a very Happy New Year 2010 !
Iudith Mentzel
 
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J

Jose

Hello all,
I have Win XP Pro sp3 installed.
Sometimes very specific folder icons in Windows Explorer
are replaced with default icons, namely
- the MyMusic, MyVideo, Favorites, Control Panel and some of the icons
inside it
(ex.Printers), DVD drive icons
- the icons for *.txt and *.dll files

When this happens, then if I try to use "Change Icon" for a desktop shortcut
and choose an icon from SHELL32.DLL, then an error is issued stating that
"file SHELL32.DLL does not contain any icons".

Reboot does not solve the problem.
Sometimes the problem can be solved by using TweakUI's Repair Icons option,
other times this solution works only after reboot.

Also, I tried to delete the IconCache.db file and have it rebuilt by a reboot,
but this solution also lasted only for a sepcific time.

The SHELL32.DLL file seems to be identical as originally installed from the
CD,
and when the problem is gone then all the icons from it are displayed
correctly.

Why does this happen and how can the problem be solved without recurring
after every few hours of using the computer ?

Thanks anticipately & a very Happy New Year 2010 !
Iudith Mentzel

Do you see this behavior is Windows Explorer, are you changing icons
for things on your desktop or both?

What method are you using to change the My Music, My Videos icons?

What method are you using to change the icons of .txt files?

If you have a lot of happenings, I would just pick one and figure it
out first.
 
S

Sometimes specific folder icons disappea

Jose said:
Do you see this behavior is Windows Explorer, are you changing icons
for things on your desktop or both?

What method are you using to change the My Music, My Videos icons?

What method are you using to change the icons of .txt files?

If you have a lot of happenings, I would just pick one and figure it
out first.
.

Hello Jose,
As by now, the problem appears only inside Windows Explorer.
I don't have many icons on the Desktop, but they all appear correctly.
Also, icons on the taskbar, start menu, a.s.o. are all correct.

The icon for .TXT files was defined by the initial XP installation.
The first time that the problem happened, I tried to replace it using
"Folder Options --> File Types --> Change Icon and I changed it to the icon
of Notepad, that is,
instead of using an icon from shell32.dll, I set it to use an icon from
notepad.exe
and this worked ok.
But, since I am not confortable with that icon, after the problem was solved
I reset the icon back to the original one, the one from shell32.dll.

But, for example the icon for .dll files was NEVER changed, and it comes and
goes
when the problem happens.

Also, I never changed the MyVideo and MyMusic icons, they were only changed
by themselves (to the wrong ones) when the problem appeared, and restored back
when the TweakUI utility succeded in repairing the problem.

It looks to me that, when the problem happens, it is somehow related to the
shell32.dll file, because all the icons that disappear are taken from that
file.
The file shell32.dll looks the same as on the original XP installation CD,
but maybe something prevents it to be read correctly.
This is why when the problem happens, I cannot change any icon (even a
desktop icon) to any icon from shell32.dll, but I can change it to an icon
from another file
that contains icons (ex Notepad.exe).

On the other hand, I know that the icons are stored in IconCache.db,
so, if I understand it correctly, while I am browsing files in Windows
Explorer for
a few hours, and the problematic icons were initially displayed ok, this
means that
those icons are already stored in IconCache.db, so, why are they suddenly
replaced
with the wrong (default or undefined) icons ?
And why do this always happen to the same set of icons, not to others ?

I also found web sites where they suggest that this problem may be related to
some virus or malware ... and they suggest scanning for such viruses using
several tools, because no single tool can detect all of them.
I am using ZoneAlarm with default settings as my security program, and I am
not too familiar with any of these tools.

Could it be a good check if I try to use the computer for some time WITHOUT
connecting to the Internet at all, and then, if the problem does not come
back,
then maybe to conclude that it is indeed caused by something external coming
from the web, and undetected by my AntiVirus program ?

Thanks again a lot for your further help & Best Regards,
Iudith Mentzel
 
J

Jose

Thanks again a lot for your further help & Best Regards,
Iudith Mentzel

Let's get some more information and do some things to get to a basic
starting point. While you do this, I will be looking at some other
things.

The shell32.dll file on your XP CD would be compressed so I don't know
how it can "look" like your one in system32, but we can easily let
Windows File Protection replace the one in system32 with what XP
thinks is a "good" copy. It is a "protected file" and if it ever
comes up missing, XP will want to replace it, so we'll make it missing
by renaming it.

Navigate to windows\system32 and rename shell32.dll --> shell32.tmp
(or some extension you can remember).

Within a few to several seconds WFP will replace the missing
shell32.dll file and put a message like this in the System Event Log:

Event Type: Information
Event Source: Windows File Protection
Event Category: None
Event ID: 64002
Description:
File replacement was attempted on the protected system file c:\windows
\system32\shell32.dll. This file was restored to the original version
to maintain system stability. The file version of the system file is
6.0.2900.5622.

Now you have what should be a "good" shell32.dll file so that will not
be a question about that. If that doesn't work and shell32.dll
doesn't reappear (refresh), you have another problem so put your old
one back.

I don't use ZA these days, but I am thinking if it may interfere with
this rename or WFP process, we need to start looking at ZA a bit. It
has a lot of configuration options and installed out of the box (or
out of the download) sometimes contributes to peculiar behavior until
it is tweaked for your system. I may be fine, but we'll see...

You may also be thinking about how to completely disable ZA long
enough to see if your problem goes away without ZA running. It would
be good if you could say: With ZA running, I have this problem.
With ZA not running, I have do not have this problem. Then we will fix
it if it needs fixing.

We should also try to catch the system when it is broken and easiest
to troubleshoot (not after a reboot) - so when you see your problem
and the shell32.dll error look in the XP Event Log for error messages
when it is broken. Here is how to do that:

Here is a method to post the specific information about individual
events.

To see the Event Viewer logs, click Start, Settings, Control Panel,
Administrative Tools, Event Viewer.

A shortcut to Event Viewer is to click Start, Run and in the box
enter:

%SystemRoot%\system32\eventvwr.msc /s

Click OK to launch the Event Viewer.

The most interesting logs are usually the Application and System.
Some logs may be almost or completely empty.
Not every event is a problem, some are informational messages that
things are working okay and some are warnings.
No event should defy reasonable explanation.

Each event is sorted by Date and Time. Errors will have red Xs,
Warnings will have yellow !s.
Information messages have white is. Not every Error or Warning event
means there is a serious issue.
Some are excusable at startup time when Windows is booting. Try to
find just the events at the date
and time around your problem.

If you double click an event, it will open a Properties windows with
more information. On the right are
black up and down arrow buttons to scroll through the open events. The
third button that looks like
two pages on top of each other is used to copy the event details to
your Windows clipboard.

When you find an interesting event that occurred around the time of
your issue, click the third button
under the up and down arrows to copy the details and then you can
paste the details (right click, Paste
or CTRL-V) the detail text back here for analysis.

To get a fresh start on any Event Viewer log, you can choose to clear
the log (backing up the log is offered),
then reproduce your issue, then look at just the events around the
time of your issue.

Finally continue with more information from you and some other scans:

To eliminate questions and guessing, please provide additional
information about your system.

Click Start, Run and in the box enter:

msinfo32

Click OK, and when the System Summary info appears, click Edit, Select
All, Copy and then paste
the information back here.

There will be some personal information (like System Name and User
Name), and whatever appears to
be private information to you, just delete it from the pasted
information.

Perform some scans for malicious software, then fix any remaining
issues:

Download, install, update and do a full scan with these free malware
detection programs:

Malwarebytes (MBAM): http://malwarebytes.org/
SUPERAntiSpyware: (SAS): http://www.superantispyware.com/

They can be uninstalled later if desired.
 
S

Sometimes specific folder icons disappea

Hello Jose,

Thanks a lot for your information.
I hope you don't mind if I will only be able to answer all your questions
when I will be again at my home computer (the one with the problem),
since for the moment I am at my office computer.
I hope I will be able to access this forum from home as well.

Regarding the shell32.dll file, when I said that it looks like the original
one
I meant that its "Date changed" was not altered.
Also, it is not clear to me how is XP capable of putting it back if I rename
it,
except if from the original installation CD.
Does Win XP keep any backup of this and other files on the hard disk ?

I saw on the web some custom replace utilities that can be used to replace
DLL-s,
which are said to work without problems, but you need a replacement DLL file
for using them (usually they say they use it for replacing shell32.dll with
a modified/customized version of it, for which there also exist tools).

When the problem first appeared, my first attempt to repair it was to do an
SFC, which asked for my original CD, and performed a long running scan,
after which it did not report about any problems found.

Next, I understood than XP is supposed to perform an automatic system backup
each time when the OS is updated.
I have automatic check for Windows Update turned on (from the original
installation)
and several times when I turn off the computer it reports that it is
installing one
or more updates before shutting down and this always happens without any
problems.
However, when I tried to perform a System Restore, it told me that it did
not find any restore points available.
Does this mean that I can only create such restore points manually ?

The next attempt, as I already mentioned, was to use TweakUI and to rebuild
the IconCache.db file.

As I mentioned, I will revert when I will be at my home computer, probably
during this week-end.

Thanks again a lot and enjoy a pleasant New Year holiday !
Iudith Mentzel
 
J

Jose

Hello Jose,

Thanks a lot for your information.
I hope you don't mind if I will only be able to answer all your questions
when I will be again at my home computer (the one with the problem),
since for the moment I am at my office computer.
I hope I will be able to access this forum from home as well.

Regarding the shell32.dll file, when I said that it looks like the original
one
I meant that its "Date changed" was not altered.
Also, it is not clear to me how is XP capable of putting it back if I rename
it,
except if from the original installation CD.
Does Win XP keep any backup of this and other files on the hard disk ?

I saw on the web some custom replace utilities that can be used to replace
DLL-s,
which are said to work without problems, but you need a replacement DLL file
for using them (usually they say they use it for replacing shell32.dll with
a modified/customized version of it, for which there also exist tools).

When the problem first appeared, my first attempt to repair it was to do an
SFC, which asked for my original CD, and performed a long running scan,
after which it did not report about any problems found.

Next, I understood than XP is supposed to perform an automatic system backup
each time when the OS is updated.
I have automatic check for Windows Update turned on (from the original
installation)
and several times when I turn off the computer it reports that it is
installing one
or more updates before shutting down and this always happens without any
problems.
However, when I tried to perform a System Restore, it told me that it did
not find any restore points available.
Does this mean that I can only create such restore points manually ?

The next attempt, as I already mentioned, was to use TweakUI and to rebuild
the IconCache.db file.

As I mentioned, I will revert when I will be at my home computer, probably
during this week-end.

Thanks again a lot and enjoy a pleasant New Year holiday  !
Iudith Mentzel

Okee-doke.

sfc /scannow is popular advice and something to try, but personally I
have never seen it solve a problem. It is a good consumer of time as
you have learned. I will never suggest it for anything. If it ever
finds anything to do, something else is broken and needs to be fixed.

XP does keep backup copies of some protected files and shell32.dll is
one of them. That is why if it comes up missing (renaming it), it
should be replaced automatically in a few seconds - XP monitors those
files.

I would never download any replacement or fix it up DLL from a WWW
site - you don't need to and risky. Those sites usually promise to
scan/fix your system, report issues in their attempt to get you to buy
something you don't really need. You already have everything you
need.

Tweak UI does not seem to touch the iconcache.db file - After trying
that feature here a few times, I am not sure what it does behind the
scenes with that option but I know what it doesn't do. The best way
to "fix" a suspicious iconcache.db is to delete it and reboot. Then
you will know for sure it is rebuilt. What did we do before Tweak UI
was invented!

The thing about the My Videos folder icons changing, etc - those icons
should display from the desktop.ini file in the designated folder
which references the icon via an index into the shell32.dll (you can
look at the desktop.ini file with a text editor). If the icons for
the My... folders get broken, that would be most curious and that is
the time to troubleshoot.

Your System Restore needs to be fixed and we can do that.

Be sure to run MBAM ans SAS as indicated.

I'll see what else I can figure out.
 
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S

Sometimes specific folder icons disappea

Hello Jose and Happy 2010 !

Now I am writing you from my home computer.
To my pleasant surprise, today I encountered no icon problems !!!
I used my computer for several hours without connecting to the internet,
and everything was ok.
Afterwards, I connected and downloaded some e-mails, and I still don't have
any icon problem and I am really happy !
What I clearly observed is that today I received only onw single "access
blocked"
alert from my antivirus, while usually I receive tens like this in the same
time ...
maybe the hackers are celebrating 2010 ...

You are right about shell32.dll, I don't even dare to replace it, I just
compared it
to the one in my office computer and they are the same (same size, same last
modification date and same version as you indicated in your post).

Also, I learned from the web about the special folders that usually have a
desktop.ini file containing the icon definition, but on my machine there is
no such file
in any of the My Videos, My Music, a.s.o. folders (I have the hidden files
displayed).
while I have seen those files on my office computer.
The icons are displayed however correctly (at this moment), so I suppose
that there is a default for them somewhere else, maybe in the registry.

I looked in the event viewer and did not see anything suspect, today there
are no errors or warnings at all.
I will follow this closely if the problem happens to reappear.

I also executed the "msinfo32", as you indicated, and the result is as
follows:
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
OS Name Microsoft Windows XP Professional
Version 5.1.2600 Service Pack 3 Build 2600
OS Manufacturer Microsoft Corporation
System Name HOME-*********
System Manufacturer Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd.
System Model G31M-ES2L
System Type X86-based PC
Processor x86 Family 6 Model 23 Stepping 10 GenuineIntel ~2800 Mhz
BIOS Version/Date Award Software International, Inc. F3, 14/08/2008
SMBIOS Version 2.4
Windows Directory C:\WINDOWS
System Directory C:\WINDOWS\system32
Boot Device \Device\HarddiskVolume1
Locale United States
Hardware Abstraction Layer Version = "5.1.2600.5512 (xpsp.080413-2111)"
User Name HOME-********\********
Time Zone Jerusalem Standard Time
Total Physical Memory 2,048.00 MB
Available Physical Memory 1.42 GB
Total Virtual Memory 2.00 GB
Available Virtual Memory 1.96 GB
Page File Space 3.84 GB
Page File C:\pagefile.sys
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Regarding the antivirus programs, I just downloaded them but still did not
install them.
I am not so familiar with security issues in general, what I only understood
from some reading is that you should uninstall any existing antivirus before
installing a new one, otherwise they may interfere with each other.

Is it possible to install these new scanning tools without uninstalling my
ZA antivirus ?
That is, just for using them for a scan on demand ?

Now I am already connected to the web for much longer than usual,
and still without any icon problem !
My next post will probably be again from my office computer.


Thanks again a lot and Happy New Year !
Iudith
 
J

Jose

Hello Jose and Happy 2010 !

Now I am writing you from my home computer.
To my pleasant surprise, today I encountered no icon problems !!!
I used my computer for several hours without connecting to the internet,
and everything was ok.
Afterwards, I connected and downloaded some e-mails, and I still don't have
any icon problem and I am really happy !
What I clearly observed is that today I received only onw single "access
blocked"
alert from my antivirus, while usually I receive tens like this in the same
time ...
maybe the hackers are celebrating 2010 ...

You are right about shell32.dll, I don't even dare to replace it, I just
compared it
to the one in my office computer and they are the same (same size, same last
modification date and same version as you indicated in your post).

Also, I learned from the web about the special folders that usually have a
desktop.ini file containing the icon definition, but on my machine there is
no such file
in any of the My Videos, My Music, a.s.o. folders (I have the hidden files
displayed).
while I have seen those files on my office computer.
The icons are displayed however correctly (at this moment), so I suppose
that there is a default for them somewhere else, maybe in the registry.

I looked in the event viewer and did not see anything suspect, today there
are no errors or warnings at all.
I will follow this closely if the problem happens to reappear.

I also executed the "msinfo32", as you indicated, and the result is as
follows:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- --------------
OS Name Microsoft Windows XP Professional
Version 5.1.2600 Service Pack 3 Build 2600
OS Manufacturer Microsoft Corporation
System Name     HOME-*********
System Manufacturer     Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd.
System Model    G31M-ES2L
System Type     X86-based PC
Processor       x86 Family 6 Model 23 Stepping 10 GenuineIntel ~2800 Mhz
BIOS Version/Date       Award Software International, Inc. F3, 14/08/2008
SMBIOS Version  2.4
Windows Directory       C:\WINDOWS
System Directory        C:\WINDOWS\system32
Boot Device     \Device\HarddiskVolume1
Locale  United States
Hardware Abstraction Layer      Version = "5.1.2600.5512 (xpsp.080413-2111)"
User Name       HOME-********\********
Time Zone       Jerusalem Standard Time
Total Physical Memory   2,048.00 MB
Available Physical Memory       1.42 GB
Total Virtual Memory    2.00 GB
Available Virtual Memory        1.96 GB
Page File Space 3.84 GB
Page File       C:\pagefile.sys
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- ------------------

Regarding the antivirus programs, I just downloaded them but still did not
install them.
I am not so familiar with security issues in general, what I only understood
from some reading is that you should uninstall any existing antivirus before
installing a new one, otherwise they may interfere with each other.

Is it possible to install these new scanning tools without uninstalling my
ZA antivirus ?
That is, just for using them for a scan on demand ?

Now I am already connected to the web for much longer than usual,
and still without any icon problem !
My next post will probably be again from my office computer.

Thanks again a lot and Happy New Year !
Iudith


That is good and I will keep my virtual fingers crossed. Sometimes
threats seem to work with computers.

Your msinfo32 information looks good to me. When there is a problem
to be resolved, it is sure better to get all that information in one
reply instead of a lot of back and forth questions. It tells a lot.

It is possible to have too much anti-protection software installed to
the point of burdening your system or products conflicting with each
other. Everyone seems to have opinions and favorites. I like MBAM
and SAS and that is my opinion.

MBAM ans SAS can always be uninstalled from Add/Remove Programs.
Those free versions are very effective and don't add anything to your
basic system configuration so nothing will start automatically or be
loaded into memory when your system restarts or when they are not
running - they run on demand/request. I give them each a turn at my
system a couple times a week. The definitions are updated frequently,
sometimes several times a day. No single scanning tool knows about
everything, so it is wise to have more than one.

ZA is highly configurable and If it is complaining frequently to the
point of being annoying, it may need some adjustment and there is a
user forum on the ZA WWW site monitored by ZA experts and other ZA
users for specific questions. We should be able to help with most XP
questions here.

It is curious that you have no desktop.ini files in your My...
folders. Be sure you display hidden files/folders and show extensions
for known file types when you are poking around. It doesn't mean you
have to create a desktop.ini. No two systems are likely to be the
same. If I delete my desktop.ini, I just get the default folder icon
in Explorer. I don't use any of the My folders anyway so if it was
somehow broken, I would never know it.

Are you in Jerusalem? I was there in the summer.

I hope it continues to behave.
 
S

Sometimes specific folder icons disappea

Hello Jose,
Thanks a lot for your answer, I really will gather my courage to install the
AntiVirus
software you recommended and give it a try.
If it is running on demand only, as you say, then I suppose it is no problem
to install it and leave it installed, is it true ?
I suppose it will not cause any damage.

I am using my home computer only on week-ends, and it is still ok today,
without the icon problem and a very "silent" AntiVirus, almost without any
alerts.
I read a little bit of the documentation of ZA and I know it can be
customized.
In fact, I rather prefer to be warned about any problem, just to avoid
becoming infected...

Regardring the desktop.ini files, I do display hidden files and files
extensions for all the files, and I do not have them on my home computer, but
I do have them on my Office computer. Does this mean that even 2 machines
with the same OS version
( both are Win XP Pro SP3 ) can look differently ?
I wish I were more familiar with all these Windows internals, I even found
several books that explain things in more detail, I'm just looking for the
free time to be able to dive into them, because I usually hate things that
can start to behave wrong and I don't understand what's going on.

No, I am not in Jerusalem, but I am also in Israel, in Haifa.
I am glad you visited Jerusalem, hope that you enjoyed it and will repeat
your visit.

As you said, "keep your fingers crossed", maybe this will help !

Thanks again for your help and your patience & Best Regards,
Iudith Mentzel
 
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J

Jose

Hello Jose,
Thanks a lot for your answer, I really will gather my courage to install the
AntiVirus
software you recommended and give it a try.
If it is running on demand only, as you say, then I suppose it is no problem
to install it and leave it installed, is it true ?
I suppose it will not cause any damage.

I am using my home computer only on week-ends, and it is still ok today,
without the icon problem and a very "silent" AntiVirus, almost without any
alerts.
I read a little bit of the documentation of ZA and I know it can be
customized.
In fact, I rather prefer to be warned about any problem, just to avoid
becoming infected...

Regardring the desktop.ini files, I do display hidden files and files
extensions for all the files, and I do not have them on my home computer,but
I do have them on my Office computer. Does this mean that even 2 machines
with the same OS version
( both are Win XP Pro SP3 ) can look differently ?
I wish I were more familiar with all these Windows internals, I even found
several books that explain things in more detail, I'm just looking for the
free time to be able to dive into them, because I usually hate things that
can start to behave wrong and I don't understand what's going on.

No, I am not in Jerusalem, but I am also in Israel, in Haifa.
I am glad you visited Jerusalem, hope that you enjoyed it and will repeat
your visit.

As you said, "keep your fingers crossed", maybe this will help !

Thanks again for your help and your patience & Best Regards,
Iudith Mentzel

I am not sure how XP Home works behaves in those areas.

I have not heard any reports of problems with the free versions of
MBAM or SAS breaking anything, you can install and run them whenever
you want, nothing runs in the background. They are respectable and I
always start with them to at least get a misbehaving system to some
known point. That is why I wanted the msinfo32 info - it tells me a
lot with just one question so I can tell what is going on.

ZA is not for everyone. I think you end up loving it or hating it.
I choose not to use it anymore because I don't think I need it, my
Internet habits are not very threatenings and don't want to tinker
with. I install lots of other things just to see how they work or to
help people with other problems.

Yeah - Haifa, Netanya, Hadera, Tel-Aviv, Rishon LeTsiyon... I have a
compelling reason to visit around there once in a while. I did not
linger in Jerusalem. I will linger by the sea though.
 

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