Change Default Word 2007 2010 DOCX icon

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Updated based on user feedback:

Ever see the icon above and asked “Help, my default DOCX icon has changed to something ugly! How do I solve this?”  If not, you’ve had good luck so far.  But some day you might, so commit this one to memory.

I had to deal with this issue on my girlfriend’s laptop just last month.  The DOCX icon had been replaced with this ugly icon.  Something had gone wrong with the file association, as well, but I had fixed that – still, the icon stayed.  I tried to edit literally DOZENS of Registry Keys, DWord Values, and expanding size entries…  I added things to my registry that weren’t there, changed the ones that were there, and rebooted dozens of times.  What finally fixed it?  Frustratingly simple.

Change the file association for .DOCX files to open with WordPad instead of MSWord (that’s where the ugly icon came from) – then set it back to MSWord.  Here’s how to do it:



  1. Right click the file, mouse over the “Open With” option at the bottom of the list of programs, click “Choose Default Program.”
  2. Select “WordPad” and hit OK.
  3. Once applied, open the menu back up, and now double click the Microsoft Office Word icon. The file should open with Word, then when you close it you’ll see the icon!

Hope this helps someone out there, some day!

18 thoughts on “Change Default Word 2007 2010 DOCX icon

  1. I just figured out what was the problem. I tried to do exactly as you wrote without any
    luck. Here is what worked:
    I right clicked on the Word file with the ugly icon; next, I clicked
    on ‘Open with’ and then ‘Choose default program’. Now, I didn’t have to
    associate it with WordPad at all. Simply, I double clicked on the MSWord –
    and it worked done.

    Double clicking is the most important part. For some reason, when I
    clicked on MSWord once and then clicked the ‘OK’ button, it did not
    work. You have to double click MSWord program after you click ‘Choose
    default program’ – don’t ask me why.
    Did you do it the same way?

  2. GB is right on spot!

    I naturally did ‘Open with’ and then ‘Choose default program’ before searching for an answer online, as it is the most obvious solution. Did not work… then tried all kinds of solutions including deleting icon cache through CMD,’repair’ing the Office Suite, even installing a small software to force change icons… Nothing worked.

    As I was out of hope I saw GB’s post and realized what I did before was to click on MS Office Word and directly go to OK, which didn’t work. Then I tried to double-click on the MS Office Word, rather than single-click and OK, and voila. The key here is to DOUBLE CLICK.

    So for those of you having the same problem:

    1. Right-click on the file with ugly docx icon
    2. Open with
    3. Choose default program
    4. Make sure “Always use the selected program” at the bottom is ticked.
    5. Double Click on the Microsoft Office Word.

    Good luck!

  3. For the people mentioning that it didn’t work for them – I’m curious – have you actually selected WordPad or another program, then RE-SELECTED Microsoft Word?  Or are you just opening the ‘choose default program’ menu one time and selecting Word?

    If I change it to from Word, to WordPad, and BACK to Word, it works for me.

    You could try something else – there are registry modifications suggested out there to resolve this issue, though none of them worked for me.  You may want to try another simple thing, like rebuilding the icon cache and see if it changes the default icon it’s selecting.

    1. Close all windows you ahve open.
    2. Press CTRL+SHIFT+ESC to launch Task Manager.3. Click to the Processes tab, click on Explorer.exe in the list and click End Process at the bottom (confirm you want to close it when the popup appears).
    4. Now, in Task Manager, click File, then New Task.
    6. Type “CMD” (without the quotes) and click OK or hit enter.
    7. In the Command Prompt window, type the following commands:
    cd %userprofile%AppDataLocal
    del IconCache.db

    –Did that help?

  4. Damn yes it worked! It was sooo frustrating, I was even scared to touch the Registry but I did it, sturggled with nex keys etc, no results! But this! So easy 😀 😀 Thanks! 

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