How to fix the missing icon problem of Adobe Acrobat DC and Reader DC

How to fix the missing icon problem of Adobe Acrobat DC and Reader DC

In the past few months, I have had to deal with an installation of Adobe Acrobat Reader DC that did not display the appropriate taskbar icon on each launch. In its place, all I could see was a generic icon that looked like the native Photos app. The problem even affected the program’s Start menu entries.

Acrobat Reader DC still worked fine, but the missing icon bothered me a lot. And repairing the program did nothing to resolve the problem. That’s why I finally took the time to look for a method to fix it using other means.

But what surprised me was the fact that this missing icon bug had plagued users for years. Obviously, Adobe has done nothing to fix it. Even Adobe Acrobat DC (Pro and Standard) seems to be affected.

Fortunately, I found two ways to get the appropriate Adobe Acrobat DC or Acrobat Reader DC icon from the taskbar and the Start menu. In my case, the first method immediately fixed the missing icon. Browse it, then try the second method if it fails.

1. Replace the Start menu entry

The first method requires that you replace the broken Adobe Acrobat DC or Acrobat Reader DC menu entry with a shortcut based on the program’s executable file. Surprisingly, this will solve the problem of the missing icon.

I wrote the following steps targeting the two versions of Adobe Acrobat. So be sure to make the required adjustments if necessary.

Step 1: Remove the Adobe Acrobat DC or Acrobat Reader DC shortcut from your desktop. If there is a shortcut for the program pinned to the taskbar, also detach it.

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Note: Skip this step if you don’t have such shortcuts on the desktop and taskbar.

2nd step: Open File Explorer, copy and paste the path to the following folder in the address bar, then press Enter:

C:ProgramDataMicrosoftWindowsStart MenuPrograms

Step 3: Look for Adobe Acrobat DC or Acrobat Reader DC in the list of shortcuts from the Start menu that appear. Tip – it should look like a generic Windows 10 icon. Right-click the shortcut, then click Delete.

Step 4: Open a new instance of File Explorer, then navigate to the following location depending on your Adobe Acrobat installation:

Adobe Acrobat DC (Pro and Standard)

C:Program Files (x86)AdobeAcrobat DCAcrobat

Acrobat Reader DC

C:Program Files (x86)AdobeAcrobat Reader DCReader

Step 5: Right-click the executable file called Acrobat (for Adobe Acrobat DC) or AcroRd32 (for Acrobat Reader DC), point to Send To, and then click Desktop.

Point: Executable files end with the .EXE file extension. If you are not sure, click the View tab, then select the File name extensions check box to display all file extensions.

Step 6: Go to the desktop, right-click the newly created Acrobat.exe or AcroRd32.exe shortcut, then select Rename.

Step 7: Name Acrobat – Shortcut as “Adobe Acrobat DC” or AcroRd32 – Shortcut as “Acrobat Reader DC”.

Step 8: Right-click the shortcut again, then select Copy.

Step 9: Open the File Explorer window from step 2 – if you closed the window, navigate to the same location again. Right-click on an empty area and select Paste.

Step 10: Click Continue to grant the file explorer permission to paste the shortcut. When you are done, exit the window.

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Step 11: Open Adobe Acrobat DC or Acrobat Reader DC, via the desktop shortcut or the Start menu.

And voila! You should see the appropriate Adobe icon appear in the taskbar. The Start menu entries should also reflect the correct icon from now on.

The circus is in town

With the two methods above, you can easily redisplay Adobe Acrobat DC or Acrobat Reader DC icons correctly. But why is this problem caused in the first place? Adobe has probably blocked file extensions for their shortcuts in a format that Windows 10 doesn’t really support. This seems to be the only plausible explanation.

That said, you may need to start the above fixes again if a future Adobe Acrobat or Windows 10 update breaks things or reverts to your default changes. But until Adobe acts together, you have no choice but to deal with this problem repeatedly each time it recurs.


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Last updated on April 23, 2020


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