How To Fix Adobe Acrobat DC and Reader DC Missing Icon Issue

For the past few months I’ve had to deal with an Adobe Acrobat Reader DC installation that doesn’t show the appropriate taskbar icon every time I launch it. Instead, all I could see was a generic-looking 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 fix the problem. So I finally took the time to look for a method to fix it in other ways.

But what surprised me is that this missing icon error has been plaguing users for years. Frankly, Adobe did nothing to fix this. Even Adobe Acrobat DC (Pro and Standard) seem to be affected by it.

Fortunately, I found several ways to get the proper Adobe Acrobat DC or Acrobat Reader DC icon back to the taskbar and Start menu. In my case, the first method fixed the missing icon immediately. So go through it and try the second method in case it fails.

1. Change the Start Menu Entry

The first method requires you to replace the broken Adobe Acrobat DC or Acrobat Reader DC Start menu entry with a shortcut based on the program’s executable. Surprisingly, this will fix the missing icon issue.

I’ve written the following steps targeting both versions of Adobe Acrobat. So be sure to make the necessary adjustments as needed.

Stage 1: Delete the Adobe Acrobat DC or Acrobat Reader DC shortcut from your desktop. If there is a shortcut for the program pinned to the taskbar, remove it as well.

Note: Skip this step if you do not have such a shortcut on the desktop and taskbar.

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Step 2: Open File Explorer, copy and paste the following folder path into the address bar and then press Enter:

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs
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Stage 3: Locate Adobe Acrobat DC or Acrobat Reader DC from the list of Start menu shortcuts that appear. Hint — it should look like a generic Windows 10 icon. Right-click the shortcut and then click Delete.

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

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Adobe Acrobat DC (Pro and Standard)

C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Acrobat DC\Acrobat

Acrobat Reader DC

C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Acrobat Reader DC\Reader
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Step 5: Right-click the executable file labeled Acrobat (for Adobe Acrobat DC) or AcroRd32 (for Acrobat Reader DC), point to Submit, and then click Desktop.

Fly: Executable files end with the .EXE file extension. If unsure, click the View tab and then check the Filename Extensions box to show all file extensions.

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

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Step 7: Acrobat – Name the shortcut ‘Adobe Acrobat DC’ or AcroRd32 – Shortcut ‘Acrobat Reader DC’.

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

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

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Step 10: Click Continue to give File Explorer permission to paste the shortcut. When you’re 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.

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And voila! You should see the appropriate Adobe icon appear in the taskbar. Start menu entries should also reflect the correct icon after that.

2. Change Default .ICO Application

If the above method doesn’t work, you should change the file association of ICO (.ico) files from Photos app to Microsoft Paint. To do this, you have to dive into the Windows 10 Settings app.

Stage 1: Open Action Center and then click All Settings.

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Step 2: Click on the box labeled Applications.

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Stage 3: Switch to the Default Apps side tab, scroll down the list of default apps and then select ‘Choose default apps by file type’.

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Step 4: Find the file extension labeled .ico (ICO File). Change the default app for the extension from Photos to Paint.

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Quit the Settings app, and then launch Adobe Acrobat DC or Acrobat Reader DC. You should see the appropriate icon in the taskbar. The same goes for Start menu entries.

Circus in Town

With the above two methods, you can easily make Adobe Acrobat DC or Acrobat Reader DC icons appear correctly again. But why is this problem causing in the first place? Adobe probably messed up the file extensions for their shortcuts in a way that Windows 10 doesn’t really support. This seems to be the only reasonable explanation.

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However, if a future Adobe Acrobat or Windows 10 update breaks something or reverts your changes to their defaults, you may need to revisit the fixes above. But until Adobe takes action, you have no choice but to deal with this issue again and again.

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