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Byron
Byron, PC Support Tech
Category: Laptop
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Experience:  A+ MCSE 11 years at a large law firm.
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I have a recurring problem on my Acer Travelmate P253 Laptop

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I have a recurring problem on my Acer Travelmate P253 Laptop which is running Windows 7 Pro 64 bit SP1 OS with 4GB RAM.
Every now and then when booting up, the desktop Icon graphics are missing. The Icon text is present and also the Icons in the Quick Launch bar are missing although if I float the mouse pointer in the Quick Launch bar, I can see small transparent boxes where the icons would normally be. If I click on the Icon text on the desktop, or the transparent boxes in the Quick Launch bar, the actions start as normal. Also, when viewing a folder such as C: again any icons which would normally be displayed, are absent but clicking on the Icon text, opens the target file or folder. Clicking on the Windows Orb, instead of opening the Start Menu, does nothing.
I've carried out virus and Malware searches using AVG and Malwarebytes and run CCleaner - no viruses or Malware were found.
From some research I've done in the past, I understand that this may have something to do with 'explorer.exe' so I opened Task Manager (via CTRL/ALT/DEL) and under the Processes tab, I ended the 'explorer.exe' process and then restarted it but this did not fix the problem. I've carried out a 'sfc /scannow' but it did not report any errors.
Having done some further research, I did the following :
Rebuilt the Icon cache using a program called 'Icon Cache Re-builder.
Running Microsoft Fixit Center.
Restoring to an earlier point.
Starting in Safe Mode.
Using the Recovery option on a Windows 7 Pro CD.
None of these actions fixed the problem....
The only solution I have is to restore the C: drive from an image on an external USB drive. However this means that I have lost some files..... I normally create a C: Drive image about once a month.
I would really appreciate some help to find a solution to this annoying problem, before I tear out the little hair I have left on my head
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Laptop
Expert:  Byron replied 10 months ago.
Hi. My name is***** you for your question and the opportunity to assist.Here's something that hasn't been mentioned. Get the latest Intel drivers for yourgraphics chipset here:https://downloadcenter.intel.com/product/81500/Intel-HD-Graphics-3000-for-2nd-Generation-Intel-Core-ProcessorsAnother thing to try to see if it makes a difference:Open Control Panel>>Systemclick Advanced System Settings on the leftunder Performance, click Settingsselect Adjust for Best Performanceclick Applyclick OKclick OK and close the System window.restart the machine a few times and check if the icons stick.
Expert:  Byron replied 10 months ago.
Once that's done you may want to clear up the text.Click the start button and in the search area type: adjust clear type textand open the search resultclick to turn on ClearType and go through the Next screens.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Hi Byron, Thanks for your response. As I mentioned in my question, the only solution which works is to boot from a Win 7 recovery CD and download a recent image from an external USB drive.I had to take this action yesterday evening since I needed to use my laptop to access important emails, so the fault has been 'temporarily' cleared. However, as stated, this seems to be a recurring problem and I expect it will occur again.... In anticipation of this, I have created a new Image of my C: drive on my external USB disk. As far as I am aware, I have all the latest drivers for all the hardware in my laptop, since I regularly make checks. I would mention that I am a fairly experienced PC user having used computers in my career right back to MSDOS and Windows 3.1... and can cope with most PC problems, but this current fault has got me beaten !!
However, I will try your suggested Graphics Driver update and report back.
Advanced System setting is currently set for 'Best Performance' and always is.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Update : Having checked my Graphics system in Device Manager, I find that the system is Intel HD Graphics 4000 - not 3000. I have also checked the current status of the drivers and it reports the following : "The best driver software for your device is already installed" and "Windows has determined the driver software for your device is up to date" Driver Version 10.18.10.3355
Expert:  Byron replied 10 months ago.
Then get the driver from here:https://downloadcenter.intel.com/product/81499/Intel-HD-Graphics-4000-for-3rd-Generation-Intel-Core-ProcessorsWhen you tell Windows to check for updates it doesn't go to Intel. It looks on the Windows update server.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thank You for your further comment. As suggested, I downloaded the appropriate driver (Win64_153343.4425.exe) and attempted installation. However, I received an error message as follows : "The driver being installed is not validated for this computer. Please obtain the appropriate driver from the computer manufacturer."
I then accessed the ACER website (http://www.acer.com/ac/en/GB/content/drivers) and checked for a suitable driver for my ACER Travelmate P253 and found only a single driver which was designated version 10.18.10.3304 dated 2013/10/12. This driver is older than the one currently installed so there seems little point in installing it......One further piece of information which I omitted to add in my original post - Just before the latest 'crash' occurred, a pop-up window appeared stating that 'explorer.exe had stopped working'. As before, I attempted to reinstate explorer via Task Manager/Processes, but it was unsuccessful......
Expert:  Byron replied 10 months ago.
Try this. Go back to the Intel site and set your OS for Win7-64 bitand download the oldest driver listed and see if that works.The older drivers are pre-Windows 10 (see attachment)and are still much newer that what you're using now.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Tried that - still same error message as before.....
What makes you think it could be a driver problem? Even when this problem is evident, I can still display Graphic Images from my 'Pictures' folder....
Expert:  Byron replied 10 months ago.
Something's getting corrupted. After you set up a clean image and get the icons working again,if you go in to Control Panel>>Windows Update and turn it off, and don't allow any updates to other programsand the only new files introduced to your computer are data files, how long does it take before the iconsdisappear?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Hi Byron, I have my Windows Update option set to "Check for Updates but let me choose whether to install them" I can't honestly relate the occurrence of the fault to a period shortly after carrying out a Windows update. The fault seems to happen virtually at random and I can't attribute the onset to any particular operation which I've carried out. As you say, something is obviously being seriously corrupted in the O.S. since none of the following actions will fix the problem :Rebuilding the Icon cache using a program called 'Icon Cache Re-builder.
Running Microsoft Fixit Center.
Restoring to an earlier known good point. (I'm amazed that this did not work !!)
Starting in Safe Mode.
Using the Recovery option on a Windows 7 Pro System Repair disk.Running SFC /SCANNOW before trying to re-boot, shows no errors.
I also carried out extensive scans for Viruses and Malware on every occasion when the problem occurred, but none was ever found.
Expert:  Byron replied 10 months ago.
Click on Start, in the search area type: regedit and open the search resultIn Registry EditorGo to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ExplorerRight click on Explorer and create a New String (REG_SZ) value and name it as MaxCachedIconsSet its value to 2400Close the registry and restart your PC.I don't know how much time will have to pass till you know if this works or not.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thanks again Byron... I found that there was already a Key named MaxCachedIcons but this had a Value set as a REG_DWORD 2000 rather than a REG_SZ.
So I renamed the existing Key as OLDMaxCachedIcons and created the new Key as described by you and re-booted. Everything seems to be OK after the re-boot.Further thoughts after reading about the 'MaxCachedIcon' Key in the Registry - I do have quite a large number of Icons on my Desktop (current count is 91 !!) so perhaps the problem was caused by a kind of 'overflow' in the 'IconCache.db' file ??
It remains to be seen whether increasing the maximum size of this file, cures the problem .......
Expert:  Byron replied 10 months ago.
As long as you selected New>>String Value you should be fine.It wouldn't hurt to delete the old iconcache.db file once more (which is what Icon Cache Re-builder does)and start fresh with the new settings.
Expert:  Byron replied 10 months ago.
I believe you're correct about all those icons on your desktop. The default iconcache.db size is 500kb.Once that is exceeded corruption can occur and you will experience strange iconbehaviour. Increasing the size should correct that.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Hi again Byron, Thanks again for your help in this matter which was really bugging me, to the point of actually losing sleep over it !! I believe you have nailed the basic cause of the problem - i.e. Overflow in the 'IconCache.db' file...I have reset the value of 'MaxCachedIcons' to 8192 (8Mb) just to allow plenty of room !!
Looking at the file size of some Icons, it is not surprising that Overflows can occur - for example the Icon for the Samsung KiesLite shortcut has a file size of 504Kb !!! Even the basic windows 'Folder' Icon is just over 52Kb and the AVG Icon is just short of 84Kb. Others of course are quite small - only a few Kb. It would seem that a default size of 500Kb for the 'IconCache.db' file is a little on the mean side !!One other point - as I stated earlier, the entry in my Registry was defined as a REG_DWORD rather than a REG_SZ String Value and even though it was set to 2000, it may have been ignored since it was not a String Value ??? If this was the case, then presumably the IconCache.db file was set to its default value of 500Kb.Assuming that this was the root of the problem, I can now understand why carrying out a System Restore did not cure the problem since it was probably just replacing the same value for MaxCachedIcons in the Registry....However, carrying out a replacement of the C: Drive with an earlier Image may well have resulted in a desktop with less Icons present and therefore not caused an overflow in the IconCache.db file.Incidentally, I have another laptop with Win 10 installed and looking at the Registry, I note that there is no entry for MaxCachedIcons...... Perhaps if this value is undefined, then the size of the IconCache.db file naturally defaults to 500Kb ??Hopefully, taking the action which you have suggested will cure my problem but only time will tell.....
Thank you again for your time and patience in assisting me.
Would it be in order to contact you again at a later stage to give you an update?
I am happy for you to make the charge to my Credit Card - details of which have already been provided.Kind Regards
Bill Norrie
Expert:  Byron replied 10 months ago.
Hi Bill. I'm sure 8192kb is room enough for more icons than your screen can hold.Neither Windows 7 or 10 have a MaxCachedIcons registry entry by default. I think yours may havebeen put there by a fix-it that went wrong.You may certainly update me here in the future. Save one of your automated JustAnswer emails.They contain a link (View Response) that will return you to this question page.If you have any more questions or concerns, feel free to contact me andif you could take a moment before leaving to rate the service using the starsat the top of the page, then submit, it would be much appreciated.
Byron, PC Support Tech
Category: Laptop
Satisfied Customers: 2490
Experience: A+ MCSE 11 years at a large law firm.
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