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Tag: windows 7

Rebuilding the Icon Cache

I keep running across users with a problem where an icon–usually, the one for Microsoft Outlook–changes to a blank, default icon and cannot be restored via Change Icon. This problem is caused by a broken icon cache. While this may sound bad, rebuilding it is pretty easy.

First, save all your work and close all open programs: what we’re going to do will restart your computer. Next, open up a command prompt and enter the following commands:

ie4uint.exe -ClearIconCache
taskkill /IM explorer.exe /F
DEL "%localappdata%\IconCache.db" /A
shutdown /r /f /t 00

After executing the last command, your computer will restart and the icon will be restored.

What This Does

The first command actually clears the cache. Then, with “taskkill” we close Windows Explorer, so that we can delete the Icon Cache and Windows won’t complain about it being in use. The third command actually deletes the icon cache. Finally, we restart the computer immediately, which will recreate a new cache as it starts.


Special thanks to for helping diagnose this issue.

Understanding Windows Power Management

As my power was out this morning, I was thinking about the power management features of Windows and how often they are likely ignored. By actually changing which power plan Windows is using, you can get more performance out of your machine while plugged in and more battery life when its not.

To start, find your battery/power icon in the Notification area of the

taskbar. Clicking on it will provide you with the most basic options for changing your power plan. By default, Windows places “Balanced” and “Power Saver” in that menu. You can also click the “More Power Options” link at the bottom of that menu to see everything you have available. A retail version of Windows will include three power plans: Balanced, Power Saver, and High Performance.

The Power Options Window

Balanced is fairly self¬†explanatory. Its the middle ground between the other two. I generally only use Balanced when I know that I’m going to be running on battery between 30 minutes and an hour and a half.

Power Saver is for when you want the most out of your battery. Choosing this power plan disables features that use up power, like Areo, background slide shows, and other fancy GUI features that just make things look nice. It also causes your hard drives to stop spinning when not in use and will turn of your display if you leave your computer alone.

High Performance lets you use your computer to the fullest. With this power plan enabled, Windows will not hinder your graphics card, processor, or hard drive from operating at the peak of their performance. This is the setting you should be using on your desktop or when your laptop is plugged in.

There are some changes you should make to High Performance, however. By default (and without much logic), the plan defaults to still causing your display to turn off and might put your computer to sleep. To change this, click on “Change Plan Settings” and you’ll see a window like the one below.

The High Performance Plan Options Window

The image shows exactly how my High Performance plan is configured. The few other tweaks I made were in the Power Options window: preventing the computer from doing anything when I close the lid and turning the computer off when I press the power button.

I hope that this has been helpful and gives you a better understanding of the Windows 7 Power Management features.

Windows 7 WMI Issues

I’ve noticed a number of installations are crashing on my Windows 7 machine (Home Premium 64-bit). They come from different vendors (Apple, Valve, etc.) and are for both 32- and 64-bit applications. The one thing they have in common? They are distributed as .wmi files.

I’m still looking into the cause of this problem and will post as soon as I could figure it out.

Windows 7 Release

I went into Best Buy today to pick up a copy of Windows 7, which I had been excited about since I had started using the Release Candidate. My overall plan was to pick up a copy of Windows 7 Home Premium for my wife’s laptop and Windows 7 Professional for my desktop. However, I found out two things today:

  1. Microsoft is now selling a Family Pack of their operating system. This is three licenses of Windows 7 Home Premium for only $30 more than the Windows 7 Home Premium Single-User Upgrade. While Apple has done this for years, I applaud Microsoft for this marketing decision.
  2. There is the option of purchasing an “upgrade” from Home Premium to either Professional or Ultimate. This ran about $90 for the Professional upgrade.

Needless to say, I picked up the Family Pack. At some later time, if I decide that I cannot bear with Home Premium any longer, I can pickup the “upgrade” to move to Professional. Honestly, the only thing I really want in Professional is the automatic backups, but I think I can work around this. Time will tell.

Windows 7: An Overview of Experiences

New releases of Windows are never really something I’ve been excited about. Nor have I ever been an early adopter of Microsoft products–I used Windows 2000 Professional until Windows XP Service Pack 2 was available, only recently switched over to Office 2007 from Office 2003, and would have never even touched Vista if it hadn’t been rolled-out on to my machine at work. But Windows 7 is something that I am excited about. Microsoft had the ingenious idea to offer the Beta (and Release Candidate) to the general public. Brilliant!