Large Google Chrome Icon Fix

Google ChromeSince the recent November Windows 10 update, for some reason the start menu displayed a large Google Chrome icon. It drove me mad. I use Firefox as my main web browser, I have Google Chrome installed just in those rare occasions I need to view something with Flash, since I don’t have that installed and I rely on Google Chrome as my “Flash browser”.

At first I was sure Google would release a quick update to fix this issue, but it’s been a while now so I decided to look deeper into it.

Note:

I published this solution in December 2015 and the date of this note is May 2016, yet Google Chrome still has this issue. The fix below will have to be implemented every time there is an update to Google Chrome.

Many discussions are going around as to why Google hasn’t released a fix for this, one of which blames Windows 10 and how it handles x86 (Win32) software, they’re all kind of odd and arguable, until then, this is how to fix it.

Explanation:

chrome-icon-bug-preview

Google Chrome uses Windows 10 feature to style the icon, or to be more exact, the tile. It will allow developers to do many things, including showing specific style titles for websites that you might have pinned using Google Chrome, in Windows 10 Taskbar or Start menu.

Neat idea, with awesome potential, however, in this case at least, it is what’s causing the problem. The styling method is simple for the main Google Chrome tile, it uses the VisualElements XML file to specify some attributes, such as background color, size and so on. Until they release a proper update for this, here is how to fix it.

Step One:

chrome-start-more-options

Open your Start Menu and right click on your pinned Google Chrome icon, then click on “More” to show the sub-menu and from there click on “Open File Location”. This will open the location of the shortcut that shows in the menu.

Step Two:

chrome-shortcut-open-file-location

In the window that opened, right click on the shortcut icon and click on “Open File Location”, that will open the location of the original chrome.exe within the Program Files folder.

Step Three:

Now we reached the source, in that last window you just opened there should be a file named “chrome.VisualElementsManifest”. It is an XML file.

Rename that file and add “.old” at the end without the quotes. Making it either “chrome.VisualElementsManifest.old.xml” or “chrome.VisualElementsManifest.xml.old”. Either one is fine, the idea is that we rename the file so it doesn’t get recognized.

chrome-visualelements-renamed

Better than removing it completely, that way we’ll always have the file on hand and whenever we want it back, we just remove the “.old” suffix that was added to the name.

Step Four:

Close all the windows you have opened now and repeat Step One, the step that opens up the window with the Google Chrome shortcut icon.

What we want to do here is trigger the start menu to apply the change, for that to happen we need to update the “Modified Date”. Simplest way to do it is right click on the icon, Cut, paste it on the Desktop, then Cut/Paste it back to exactly where it was in the window that was opened.

chrome-shortcut-move-arrows

Result and Fix Explanation:

The process of this fix is very simple, we basically tricked Windows 10 into thinking there are no Visual Elements for the Google Chrome tile and it should use the default settings instead.

No system files need to be edited, just letting Windows 10 know that we don’t approve of that fashion statement, so to speak.

chrome-icon-fix-result

I am honestly not sure why Google decided to choose that as their style for the tile, I really hope it was a mistake and not an effort to dominate their browser on the start menu by making it look bigger. I really hope so.

What disturbs me though is that it’s been weeks and there were even a couple of updates, but no fix for this issue. I wonder why.

I have faith in Google though, I always do. Keep on doing what you do, almighty digital creature. We love you.

  • gorgo

    Great! been lookin for this..

  • lukasz

    That works ! THX

  • John Rico

    Thanks! Giant Chrome icon was a major eyesore!

  • Sek0n

    My chrome icon has been like this for a few months now, and I finally got fed up with it enough to search for a fix again.

    Worked perfectly, thanks you!

  • Thank you! It worked on my computer and now other links added to the desktop show their respective icons properly.
    By the way, there some kind of bug that when I open a link added to the desktop it opens a new window with an empty tab and the tab with the link, do you know anything about this?

    • Sam

      I tried to reproduce that but I couldn’t. If I had to guess, it is probably because of an extension (addon) that affects tab preferences or behavior.

      I’ll be back home in a couple of days, I’ll try some other tests, I did a quick test on my laptop. I’ll update you if I figure it out.

      • Omkar Patil

        i still have the issue where the chrome apps aren’t showing their respective icons. instead it shows that big chrome icon. did find any fix for that?

        thank you

        • Sam

          Terribly sorry about the late response, I was out of the country and just returned. I still can’t duplicate that issue, when/if I find a fix I’ll make sure to notify you.

          Meanwhile, if anyone finds a solution for that specific issue, I’ll gladly update the article, giving them full credit, of course.

  • Ventzy Kunev

    Beautiful, thanks.

  • Christian Ullrich

    Thanks for the tip. It did not work as intended for me; the icon was blank afterwards, so I removed the Square150x150Logo attribute from the manifest file instead. That fixed it. Now if only the next Chrome update does not revert that …

    Update: It did. Bummer.

    • Sam

      Yeah, I keep re-doing it every time there is an update. I don’t think Google is planning to change that behavior anytime soon. I’ve published this article December 2015.

      If you look at Opera Web Browser, they’re doing the same thing. I think my initial conclusion was right, it might be a way for them to “dominate” the start menu, in size. I can’t think of any other possible reason for them not to fix this simple behavior.

  • Спасибо! Теперь все аккуратно. 🙂

  • Đào Việt Anh

    awesome trick. thanks so much 🙂

  • wLEKIN

    this is the only solution i found that work, all others in the google product forum are suck.

  • Chris

    I’ve been able to consistently get a “normal” looking icon. However, on several computers, I’ve noticed that it reverts back after a while. Sometimes, looking in the ‘location’ folder, there’s a new copy of chrome.VisualElementsManifest.xml file sitting right beside the .old version I created in the earlier fix.

    • Sam

      Yes, you are correct. Sadly this happens every time Google Chrome updates to a newer version, you’ll basically have to re-do the fix every time there is a Chrome update.

      I’m honestly really surprised why Google haven’t addressed this issue yet.

  • Sam

    If the icon completely disappears, that means you missed a step.

    It’s basically a way to discard the attributes within that XML file. You can either rename it or remove the logo lines within the file.

    The icon in the start menu will not change/update until you trigger a new “modified” date, hence the cut/paste twice step.

  • David Goodfield

    Fixed in Chrome version 53

    • codeview

      It still dictates the background colour (black) and the icon is a little bigger than Firefox and IE, if tile is set to small. And I had to resize my tile to refresh it so it wasn’t showing the old, to the edge, icon.

      • David Goodfield

        Apps should be allowed to dictate their background colour shouldn’t they? Word, Excel, PowerPoint & OneNote all do.

        • codeview

          IMO the user should have full control over this. It’s very cluttery and less pleasing to the eye to have all the tiles be different colours. If I want a tile’s background to match my theme I should be able to set that. Currently the only tiles on my Start Menu that have a different background colour are IE Edge and Chrome and EA’s Origin…all other tiles just keep the icon in the center, at the same size, and my theme’s colour surrounds the tile.

  • Samantha

    Oh thank goodness for this fix. This has been driving me nuts. I almost changed to Firefox because it was annoying me so much. So thank-you!

  • Fabricio

    I still use Chrome 48 at work because the IT department does not allow us to update stuff. I don’t know if this issue is still happening in recent versions, but I took a different approach to fix it. I did not want to lose the extra features from the xml (like shortcuts to recent sites in the icon) so I looked for the png icons at C:Program Files (x86)GoogleChromeApplication48.0.2564.109VisualElements (the number varies with version).

    The icons are two equal 256×256 images named logo.png and smalllogo.png. The problem is that Google did not put bleed space between the icon and the edges of the image. So I measured the size of Firefox’s icon at medium and small configurations and calculated the extra canvas required for each of the Chrome’s icons to behave the same way Firefox does.

    Although the default sizes were supposed to be 150×150 and 70×70, Windows 10 can resize the icons if they are bigger. So, instead of reducing the images, I kept the 256×256 icon size and added canvas, making the medium 732×732 and the small 468×468. Turns out the Windows automatic resizing looked better than reducing the images myself.

    After replacing the images I used your method of moving the shortcut and it worked.

    I saved them here, just download and replace the original files. http://www.4shared.com/folder/FSONmCVG/Chrome_Logos.html

    • Sam

      Thank you very much for this addition. I honestly still can’t believe this is still an issue, but I’m glad how so many people are contributing to a solution.

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