How to Fix Missing Start Menu Icons in Windows 11/10 

The Windows Start menu is full of icons for apps and files. Yet, it doesn’t always display icons correctly. Some users have reported icons disappearing on their Start menus in Windows 10 and 11.

Users may still be able to open apps with missing icons from the Start menu. However, the Start menu is undoubtedly spoiled when many icons are missing. Have a few icons strangely vanished on your Start menu in Windows 11/10 as well? If yes, you may be able to restore the missing icons with these potential fixes.

Both Windows 11 and 10 have a StartMenuExperienceHost.exe process for managing the Start menu. Restarting that process can resolve numerous Start menu issues, including missing icons. This is how to restart StartMenuExperienceHost.exe within Task Manager:

  1. First, open Task Manager (press Ctrl + Shift + Esc).
  2. Switch to the Task Manager’s Details tab. If you don’t see the Details tab, click on More details first near the bottom of the task manager window.
  3. Right-click the StartMenuExperienceHost.exe process and select End task.

  4. Select the End process option when asked for confirmation.

It may also help to restart File Explorer. You can do that by right-clicking the taskbar’s Start icon, selecting Task Manager, and clicking Windows Explorer on the Processes tab. Pressing the Restart button will then restart that process.

The Microsoft Start Menu troubleshooter is a repair tool for fixing issues with that menu. However, that troubleshooter isn’t among those included with Windows 11. You’ll need to download and run that Start menu repair utility as follows:

  1. Open Softpedia’s Start Menu Troubleshooter page in your browsing software.
  2. Select Download Now to view download location options.
  3. Click Softpedia Secure Download (US) to download the troubleshooter’s file.
  4. You’ll find Start Menu Troubleshooter in the folder your browser is set to download to. Open that download folder in File Explorer and double-click startmenu.diagcab to bring up the troubleshooter.
  5. Click Advanced to reveal an Apply repairs automatically checkbox.

  6. Select the Apply repairs automatically box and press Next to initiate the troubleshooting.

3. Run SFC and System Image Scans

Your Start menu may be missing icons because your PC has corrupted Windows system files. You can find out if that is the case by running a System File Checker scan. SFC is a utility you can run from the Command Prompt that detects and repairs corrupted system files. This is how you can start a file scan with the SFC command:

  1. Press Windows key + S, and input Command Prompt in the file and app search box.
  2. Select Run as administrator for the search result to bring up Command Prompt.
  3. Before running the SFC tool, input the following system image scan command and hit Enter:
    DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth 
  4. Type this System File Checker scan in Command Prompt and press Return to start:
    sfc /scannow

  5. Wait for however long System File Checker takes to get to 100 percent and show a scanning outcome within the Command Prompt.

4. Refresh the Icon Cache

Windows 11’s icon cache is a collection of storage data files for icon copies. Corrupted or outdated icon cache data can cause icon display issues within Windows 11. So, refreshing (rebuilding) that cache by deleting its iconcache.db files could be a viable solution for fixing missing Start menu icons. You can rebuild the icon cache in the following steps:

  1. Start Command Prompt with administrator rights as outlined in resolution three.
  2. Then change the directory by inputting the following and pressing Enter:
    cd /d %userprofile%AppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsExplorer
  3. Input this command to terminate File Explorer and hit Return:
    taskkill /f /im explorer.exe
  4. Enter this command to erase iconcache DB files and press Return:
    del iconcache*

  5. To restart Explorer, type in the following text and hit Enter:
  6. Then restart your Windows 11 or 10 computer.

Windows will go blank when you terminate Explorer. Don’t be alarmed because it’s easy to restart Explorer with the explorer.exe command. Terminating File Explorer should ensure it’s not using any iconcache files.

You can also delete iconcache files by opening %userprofile%AppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsExplorer in Explorer and selecting to erase them from there. However, you won’t be able to erase iconcache files in use by Explorer with that method. So, it’s better to utilize the Command Prompt for rebuilding the icon cache.

5. Update Your PC’s Graphics Driver

Your Start menu’s missing icons could be a graphical display issue. Such issues can arise because of antiquated or faulty graphics display drivers. So, we recommended that users who need fix missing Start menu icons update their PCs’ graphics drivers to the latest ones. Our guide for updating GPU drivers on Windows includes instructions for the different update methods.

6. Remove Google Drive Software

Google Drive’s syncing process can cause missing app icons on the Start menu. Some users on forums say that app icons disappeared when they started using the Google Drive File Stream app. If you’ve got Google Drive installed, removing that software may restore missing app icons on your Start menu.

You can uninstall Google Drive via the Programs and Features applet or Settings. It doesn’t make much difference either way, but make sure Google Drive isn’t running in the background when you try to uninstall the software. Check out our guide for removing Google Drive for full details about uninstalling that software.

Reregistering Windows 11’s Start menu is a decent troubleshooting method for fixing glitches with that menu. You can reregister your Start menu by executing a quick command from within PowerShell. These are the steps for reregistering the Start menu:

  1. Open up the search tool in Windows, and type in PowerShell to locate that command-line shell.
  2. Right-click the Windows PowerShell app inside the search tool to select a Run as an administrator launch option.
  3. Copy this command with the Ctrl + C key combo:
    Get-AppxPackage -AllUsers Microsoft.Windows.ShellExperienceHost | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)AppXManifest.xml"} 
  4. Paste the reregister command into PowerShell by pressing the Ctrl + V keys simultaneously.

  5. Press the Return button to reregister the Start menu.

Icons are an essential part of the Start menu in Windows. The resolutions in this guide are among the most probable methods for restoring missing Start menu icons. Resetting Windows 11/10, as outlined in our factory reset guide, might also fix your Start menu’s icons. However, we only recommend that possible resolution as a last resort.

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