Application file icons change to Acrobat or Reader icon on Windows

App icons change to Acrobat reader icon

After you install Acrobat or Reader on Windows 7 or Vista, icons of all applications and file types change to Acrobat/Reader icon. Double-clicking any icon or file launches Acrobat or Reader. (The native application associated to the file type doesn't open.)

Solution 1: Fix the Windows registry.

Disclaimer: The registry contains system-related information that is critical to your computer and applications. Before modifying the registry, be sure to make a backup copy of it (Windows 7, Windows Vista). Adobe doesn't provide support for problems that can arise from improperly modifying the registry. Adobe strongly recommends that you have experience editing system files before you modify the registry. For information on the Windows Registry Editor, see the documentation for Windows or contact Microsoft Technical Support.

  1. Download and save the applicable file: Windows Vista or Windows 7.

  2. Unzip (extract) the contents (.reg file) to the desktop.

  3. Make sure that you have administrative privileges. Then, right-click the .reg file and select Merge.

  4. Restart the computer.

  5. If the issue persists, proceed to Solution 2.

Solution 2: Force a refresh of the icon cache.

  1. Choose Start > Default Programs.

  2. Select Set Your Default Programs.

  3. Select a web browser, email client, or any other item in the list.

  4. Click Set This Program As Default.

  5. Click OK.
  6. If the issue persists, restart the computer and check again.

Solution 3: Purge and rebuild the IconCache.db file.

Method 1: Delete the IconCache.db file.

  1. Make sure that you can see hidden files and folders: VistaWindows 7.

  2. Browse to the C:\Users\Owner\AppData\Local folder and delete the IconCache.db file. 

  3. Restart the computer.

  4. If the issue persists, repeat Solution 2.

Method 2: Use the command prompt.

  1. Close all folder windows.

  2. Launch Task Manager by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc, or by running taskmgr.exe.

  3. In the Process tab, right-click the Explorer.exe process and select End Process.

  4. Click End process when asked for confirmation.

  5. In Task Manager, choose File > New Task (Run).

  6. Type cmd.exe, and click OK.

  7. In the Command Prompt window, type the following commands one by one and press Enter after each command:

    CD /d %userprofile%\AppData\Local

    DEL IconCache.db /a


  8. In Task Manager, choose File> New Task (Run).

  9. Type explorer.exe, and click OK.

  10. Restart the computer.

  11. If the issue persists, repeat Solution 2.

Solution 4: Create a different local Administrator user account and test the issue.

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