How to Repair Gray x’s on Desktop Icons on Windows 10 Computer

  • A green checkmark on an app, file, or folder means it’s synced with OneDrive.
  • A corrupted icon cache on your system can be the cause of the problem.
  • If you try restarting your computer, reloading, or uninstalling, maybe the problem will reappear.
  • The good news is that there is currently a fairly quick solution to this problem.

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Syncing with OneDrive may have stopped due to the latest Windows 10 update, Dropbox, Norton, or for some other reason. If you restart, reset, or delete the game from Steam, you can likely see gray icons appear again.

On the contrary, the gray X on desktop icons indicates that something went wrong during the syncing process. If you see the green tick on desktop icons, it means that the applications, files, and folders have been synced with OneDrive.

Recent versions of Windows 10 have green checkmarks on desktop apps, files, and folders. Checkmarks on desktop apps, files, and folders signify they are synchronized with OneDrive. The crosses on files, folders, and apps, however, have made them concerned recently.

Maybe the gray X’s will appear if you restart your computer, reload it, or uninstall an app again. Now, how are we supposed to resolve this problem? The good news is that there is currently a simple and easy way to do so. Take a look.

What causes gray x’s to appear on desktop icons?

  • Gray crosses on the icons appear as a result of conflicts with cloud applications. Also, a corrupt icon cache on your system can be the cause of the problem. The user starts to see gray crosses on the desktop icons (if the quota is small, the problem is limited to a few icons).
  • Incorrect settings on your network card can cause gray crosses on the icons, as these can suspend network-related operations (including cloud services).
  • The icon cache may be corrupted causing icons to show gray crosses. If this happens, restore the icon cache. However, the process may slow down your computer until you are able to restore your icon cache and index it again.

How to resolve the gray crosses on the desktop icons?

Updated: December 2023

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Onedrive should be uninstalled or synchronized

  1. On the taskbar, right-click the OneDrive app.
  2. You can stop syncing by clicking Help & Settings.
  3. Close OneDrive at the time you choose.
  4. Then, click the Resume Sync button after following step one again.
  5. If the problem has been solved, let me know.

It might help to reinstall OneDrive if that did not work.

Refreshing a file or application

  1. Select any part of the screen on your desktop.
  2. From the available options, choose Update.
  3. A blank spot on the desktop can also be highlighted by clicking on it and pressing F5.

Changing permissions

  1. If an application or file is problematic, right-click it and select Properties from the menu.
  2. If Unblock is present, check the box on the General tab.
  3. Ensure that the issue has been resolved and move on to the next step if not.
  4. Once you have completed the first step, open up the properties again.
  5. The Advanced button can be found under the Security tab.
  6. You can disable inheritance by clicking the Disable Inheritance button.
  7. The problem should be resolved once you close the window.

Making changes to the registry

  1. You will be prompted to run Registry Editor as an administrator if you type Registry Editor in the search bar.
  2. Below is a navigation path.
    Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Explorer in Computer/HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE
  3. You can create a new folder by right-clicking the Explorer.
  4. The Shell Icons key can now be named by clicking on Key.
  5. In the right pane, right-click on the key and then anywhere else.
  6. Click String Value after selecting New.
  7. Double-click the 29 icon then enter “%windir%/System32/shell32.dll,-16769” as the value.
  8. After rebooting, verify that the error has been resolved.

RECOMMENATION: Click here for help with Windows errors.

Frequently Asked Questions

Icons may appear as gray crosses if your system icon cache is corrupted. In this case, restoring the icon cache may solve the problem. Note, however, that it may affect your computer's performance until the icon cache is restored and indexed. Right-click on the Windows button and select Run from the main user menu.

It is caused by a corrupt cache for offline files.

According to various reports, there is a rare bug: partitions on the local drivers have a red circle with the letter X in their icons. The cause of this error is not yet known, but it usually means that the file folder or disk or its contents are not updated, updated, or synchronized.

  1. Right-click on the desktop and select Properties.
  2. Click the Desktop tab.
  3. Click the Customize Desktop button.
  4. Click the General tab, then click the icons you want to place on your desktop.
  5. Click OK.

You may see a gray X icon when trying to access applications or folders in Windows 10 if you don’t have the proper permissions set.

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Mark Ginter is a tech blogger with a passion for all things gadgets and gizmos. A self-proclaimed "geek", Mark has been blogging about technology for over 15 years. His blog,, covers a wide range of topics including new product releases, industry news, and tips and tricks for getting the most out of your devices. If you're looking for someone who can keep you up-to-date with all the latest tech news and developments, then be sure to follow him over at Microsoft.