How to remove an invalid icon from Control Panel?Published : Dec 08, 2004
Updated : Mar 05, 2008
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When you open Control Panel, you may see a invalid or non-functioning icon, which was probably left behind after a incomplete uninstall of a software. Control Panel items can be registered as a namespace, or it can be implemented in a DLL (with .CPL extension) that exports the CPlApplet function.
Removing the invalid icon from Control Panel
Determining the corresponding .CPL file name
To determine the corresponding .CPL file for an invalid or non-functioning Control Panel item, use these steps:
- Click Start, Control Panel
- Right-click the invalid icon and choose Create Shortcut
- Click Yes when you see the following dialog:
Windows cannot create a shortcut here.
Do you want the shortcut to be placed on the desktop instead?
- In the Desktop, right-click the newly created shortcut and choose Properties
- Click the Change Icon button. You'll then see the actual CPL file name in the resulting dialog.
- Using the CPL file name, you should be able to trace the respective application. If that application has already been uninstalled, then you may simply delete the .CPL file as you no longer require that.
(Thanks to Mike Williams for the above tip.)
If the Change Icon button does not show the file name, use the following method:
- Click Start, Run and type notepad.exe
- From the File menu in Notepad, choose Open...
- In the Files of type: drop-down, select All Files
- Select the shortcut that was created earlier, and click Open.
- Determine the .cpl file name using the Find option in Notepad.
If there are no reference to a .cpl, then the invalid icon is most likely a namespace entry implemented in the registry. In that case, use the following method to manage Control Panel namespace items.
Namespace items in the Control Panel
Download ShellObjectEditor from tropictech.de and run the program. Switch to Expert Mode to view all the Namespace objects. Spot the offending entry (by Location) that you want to remove. Select the corresponding entry and then Delete or Hide it.
The object would be present under one of the following registry keys:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ ControlPanel \ NameSpace
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ ControlPanel \ NameSpace
When you open Control Panel, it gathers the list of namespace items, .CPL files present in Windows\System32 folder and other locations as registered in the Windows registry (registry locations given below). Control Panel Item Registration information is stored in these two registry keys:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Control Panel \ Cpls
HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Control Panel \ Cpls