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How to fix favorite icons when using Windows Internet Explorer with Windows Shortcuts:

Excerpts from the Transcript of Kim's lecture titled ''Give me my favorite icon, or give me... an operating system that works.''

For all windows operating systems and current version(s) of Internet Explorer. July 2004

If you have no idea what this article is referring to, or that you are unclear on what a favorite icon is...

This is just a quick way to manually fix the problems with favorite icons reverting back to the dull and generic 'e' Internet Explorer icon. Favorite icons are used by websites to provide a custom graphic icon image for display and many other multiple defined purposes and undefined future use instead of the default explorer icon when referencing and refering to a specific web site. The specific graphic format of a favorite icon is always exactly sixteen by sixteen pixels and sixteen colors with the file name favicon.ico placed in the root directory of the website's server. As for general icon file formats they are unique in structure and usally contain multiple icons, sizes, and resolutions of a variety of specific relavent icons for multiple purposes and applications. By no means attemp to associate bitmap files with icon files, despite their appearance they are different animals. The favicon.ico file is the simplest, smallest, and most portable sized file structure to transport with a maximum image compliment of some 160,000,000,000,000,000 images [1616] theoreticaly expressed simply as a string of 1024 bits of sequencial information. We will not have to remember all this, unless we actually want to create an icon for such purposes as described.

The application theory of process would then seamlessly ALWAYS display the favorite icon for a web site at the beginning of the address bar and also cache the icon whenever a favorite URL or bookmark was saved to Internet Explorer or when the favorite icon at the begining of the address bar or the logo 'e' at the top left of the application on the title bar is draged to the desktop or any other location within the file system wether directly of by dialog drop box. Here in lies the problem, the cache eventually expires and the generic default 'e' icon replaces the real one as if there were not a fact a favorite icon associated with the shortcut nor present on the website server's root directory. This is totally different then when the favorite icon just fails to display on the address bar when visiting a website which can be caused by a number of software issues or the fact that truely a favorite icon is really not on the website server. Also in some situations server side forces of icons are added to the webpage coding in the form of small strings of java script to better manage icons within a website's file system in such a way to store different icons for different web pages and or redirection of the location of the file in other than the root directory location and altered naming schemes of the web site's design.

Now we know the cache of favorite icons for all the websites we have ever visited would universally be stored in the tempoary internet file folder, then if you set the cache so that nothing ever expired and the size was set so large that nothing was ever over written, then the icons would work the way we think they are supposed to. They don't. Ok, so that does not work, another mystery of the microsoft. We can a least clean up the appearance of this programing foepaw by creating a permanite directory without downloading what could be a difficult to remove spyware program to do it for us that continiously sucks up computer cycles and bandwidth without your knowledge or permission.

Now assuming you have already made these type of internet shortcuts and have observed this icon disappearing act personally for yourself, then you will have already made the shortcuts you will need later in the instructions. In this example I am using the Google Search Engine's website shorcut, perhaps surf to Google and create a shortcut on your desktop and follow along with me if you have not done so already by draging the icon on the Internet Explorer address bar onto your desktop or another sutible location.

Create a new folder as a location for this permanite icon directory. For example in My Documents create a new folder called My Icons.

When connected to the internet using Internet Explorer type or paste the base URL of a website into the address bar, then the slash, plus the favicon.ico file name. The URL will then look something like this... then click 'Go' or press 'Enter'. The icon (if present on the website) then appears displayed on the web page, which is actually just the graphic. If the icon does not display on the web page display area or you receive a '404 file not found' error by the web site server then probally the icon does not exist or else you have further software issues that you could try resolving by trying to force client side delivery or using other technique to o the requested file. * - see Force Icon note. As you can see in this case the graphic is a square with a capitol 'G' in it for the favorie icon for the Google web site.

Now right click on the favorite icon graphic in the web page display area, not the icon on the address bar, and select 'Save Picture As...', when the 'Save As..' Dialog Box opens then browse to the folder you created earlier or create it now. Then in the file name dialog box you will want to rename the file. For example change favicon.ico to google.ico if that is the case, it is here. Finally click 'Save'. It is best to rename them as you go, so that you do not have to remember what they all are, besides you can not have several files all named favicon.ico all in the same folder. I guess you could create a nested folder situation but that is just more work and there is really no reason to do that unless you have some future project in mind.

Now you will probally have to move Internet Explorer out of the way and go find that old shortcut with the broken icon dangling there. In the case it would be the Google Search Engine website Shortcut on the desktop. 'Right click' on the shortcut, and then select 'Properties' and then click on the Dialog Tab that says 'Web Documents" and then the 'Change Icon' button about halfway down the dialog window. When the 'Change Icon' dialog window opens click on the 'Browse' button at the bottom left and browse to the location of you newly created permanite icon folder. Mine was C:/My Documents/My Icons/ and then select the google.ico file and then click the 'Open' button. 'Ok' on the dialog, then 'Apply' then 'OK", or just 'OK' for a delayed effect.

Now if you want drag the shortcut down onto the quick launch bar, that's now the quickest way to Google. Rinse, ring, and repeat with your other broken icon shortcuts. That looks better! Now if you have a bunch of other internet shortcuts saved up in your favorites folder in internet explorer and you want the favorite icons to always stay permanite then open Winwos Explorer and browse to your IE favorites folder C:\WINDOWS\Favorites and the same process will work. This takes a lot of time if youhave a lot of favorite shortcuts and try to do them all at once, so remember just to fix the ones you want to look right as you surf and not worry about the spyware that will do the same thing without selling your soul.

Take a look in your tempoary internet folder and see how many favorite icons you presently have cached, it could save you some time if you already have a bunch of icons already cached. Copy the icon(s) from this folder to your permanite icon folder and rename them appropriatly.

Forcing a favorite icon:
Here is how the force client side icon works... or in some cases still does not work.
Can you see the Favorite Icon below this sentence?

Now you can see it?

If you can not see the red and yellow 'K' icon above click the 'Force Icon' button which should pop a new browser window with the favorite icon graphic in it. Close that window and come back to this page and 'Refresh' this web page, the favorite icon graphic image now appears!

Now what happens if you try and drag and drop the icon graphic, as a link above, to your desktop or another location? I think it has something to do with how fresh the total cache is wether or not it then shows the generic 'e' icon or the correct favorite icon graphic image but this clearly demonstrates that it usually does not work correcty unless the site and it's associated favorite icon(s) have been freshly cached.

To force a server side favorite icon, the webmaster or webpage designer must add a snipet of code to the called web page.
Exampe Code:
<link rel="shortcut icon" href="">
As with the path, edit the URL and path accordingly to suit the site's situation just as the different.ico file must be placed in the correct location on the server, in this case it is. TEST THAT?

Reference Material(s) and Author Composition Notes and Clips:

Search Google for: ''favorite icon''

There are free icon editors and image to icon converters, you do not have to buy one of the editors.
ico edit? I think... I'll link it when I remember, it does not seem to be on this machine, use a search like this.

Remember to Spell Check this page sometime

By default the icon selector dialog utility defaults to the windows system folder upon browsing if there was othat than the default icon present because all the windows icons are either in the progam itself or in these groups of libraries that have been shuffled UP through the family of progressily more complex windows operating systems. As it would seem like a good idea to put your own icons in a folder in the windows system folder that it defaults to, it is not, as it's best not to screw around with anything in windows folders. There is like one giant checksum string that knows if anbody has been screwing around with the brains, it's called free sectors and it resides on the primary partition of your system. If any manipulation of the file structure occurs the free sectors will be shuffled in the unused stack. Like little trailings, it's a dead give away.

... and you do not have a icon editor and the online favorite icon editor is not working at the time as it is not working at this time, it just says ''(TEMPORARILY DISABLED)''.