Firefox v17 Upgrade Causes Desktop Icon Problems in Win XP

FixFFiconThis is one of those annoying but minor problems that can spoil an otherwise good day. It seems that the most recent Firefox release (v17) added some support for using a website’s favicons when creating desktop shortcuts.

This supports the new Windows 8 live tiles, and also means that when Windows 7 and Vista users drag a URL from the top bar in Firefox to their desktop, they’ll get a shortcut that uses the tiny little favicon supplied by the website, rather than the traditional default Firefox file icon.

However, for anyone still running Windows XP, your desktop shortcut is assigned to an incompatible image file and hence you get the very ugly default Windows icon instead.  The shortcut will look like it’s not assigned to an application, but it still works and will open in Firefox just fine. But it’s butt ugly and not how it’s supposed to work.

There’s a current thread on the Mozilla forum on this problem and there are a couple of workarounds offered up. Ultimately, the hope is that Mozilla will fix this and not just abandon the 40% of users still on XP. But in the meantime, I developed my own workaround, which I like better.

Using my method, you’ll just need to right-click the “broken” icon on your desktop and select the new Send To destination. It will repair the icon so the behavior of Firefox is the same as on Vista/Win7.

  • Simply download the file from here.
  • Inside is a single FixFFicon.exe file. Move it to your Firefox profile\shortcutCache folder.
  • Next, right-click the FixFFicon.exe file and “Create Shortcut”
  • Then find your Windows “SendTo” folder (Help available here ) and add the new shortcut you just created to it.

Now, when you drag and drop a URL from Firefox and get the ugly default Windows icon, just right-click the icon and select FixFFicon from the Send To menu. Then, presto-chango, the icons look the same as they do in Win7. Which, IMHO, is still ugly, but it’s better than default Windows icons.

Note: on 1st execution this will extract 2 additional files to the shortcutCache folder (an image file and the image conversion utility). No other files are installed, no registry changes, or changes made to any other folder. The utility will perform image conversions on the Firefox favicons in the shortcutCache folder. No other files anywhere are modified. To remove, delete the 2 FixFFicon files and the nconvert.exe file from the shortcutCache folder, and delete the Send To shortcut from the SendTo folder. No other traces will be present.

If you have a problem with this, just post in the comments and I’ll try to help. Remember, we’re all in this together.