All posts by arcanecode

Kusto Query Language (KQL) from Scratch–Live and Free at Pluralsight

My latest course, Kusto Query Language (KQL) from Scratch, is now live at Pluralsight!

https://app.pluralsight.com/library/courses/kusto-query-language-kql-from-scratch/table-of-contents

Even better, this course is totally free! You will need an account at Pluralsight, but those are free to setup and only takes a moment. You do not have to have a paid plan. Once you have your account  you can begin watching.

What? You haven’t heard of Kusto or KQL?

Increasingly, Azure is becoming the infrastructure backbone for many corporations. It is imperative then, that you have the ability to query Azure to gain insights to the Azure services your company is using. The Kusto Query Language, or KQL for short, is the language you use to query these Azure services such as Azure Log Analytics, Azure Security Center, Azure Application Insights, and Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection.

Kusto is the new database engine that stores data for all of these services. Kusto was designed from scratch to be a “big data” repository for Azure that was easy to query using KQL.

The course starts with the basics of KQL, the Kusto Query Language. In the first module alone you’ll learn 80% of the commands to cover most of the queries you’ll need.

Most, but not all, as KQL has many more commands to handle unique needs. After learning a variety of aggregation operators, you will progress to advanced KQL abilities such as machine learning and time series analysis.

Finally, you will explore how to export the results of your KQL queries to CSV files and PowerBI. When you’re finished with this course, you will have the skills and knowledge of the Kusto Query Language needed to gain valuable insights to your Azure services.

Get Notified When Your Home Router IP Address Changes–With PowerShell!

Readers of my blog over may recall I’m an amateur (ham) radio operator (N4IXT that’s me!). One of my ham radio buddies has a cool radio that can be remotely controlled over the internet. With their software he just enters the IP address of his home (his home router that is, after we setup some port forwarding), and he can connect to and operate his radio remotely, make contacts around the world and more.

The tricky part of all this came in the sentence enters the IP address of his home…. His home router tends to change its address on the whim of his service provider. If the router reboots, it will definitely have a new address when it comes up. You may be thinking “well just get a static IP address”. Unfortunately, his internet service provider can’t give him this, something about him using a bonded pair of 10 mb lines to get 20 mb prevents it.

So how could he get notified when his IP address changes? Well I was fairly certain I could solve his problem with some simple PowerShell scripting!

I’ve now published the solution on my GitHub site:

https://github.com/arcanecode/PowerShell/tree/master/IPAddressMailer

Rather than going more in-depth here, the ReadMe has the full details describing the scripts that were created. In addition the code is heavily commented.

In addition to solving this particular problem, the code could be used as a template for:

  • Getting the IP Address of your home router
  • Sending emails via GMail
  • Setting up tasks in the Windows Task Scheduler

Hopefully other people with similar issues will find this little project as useful as my ham radio buddy has!

Azure PowerShell PlaybooK: Azure SQL–Now on Pluralsight!

My latest course is now available on Pluralsight! It’s the Azure PowerShell Playbook: Azure SQL. If you aren’t familiar with Pluralsight’s Playbook format, they are fast past courses that are almost 100% demo driven. They are meant to be consumed quickly, my course is just one hour and four minutes long. Great lunchtime viewing!

This course shows you how to use PowerShell to manage and migrate your on premises database up to Azure SQL. In brief, you’ll learn how to:

  • Create resource groups
  • Create and work with Storage Accounts
  • Create a SQL Server in Azure SQL
  • Package up your local database into a bacpac file
  • Import your bacpac file into a new Azure SQL database
  • Execute commands against your new Azure SQL database
  • Cleanup! I even show how to remove everything you’ve created, individually or as a whole

And all of this with PowerShell!

Additionally, I’ve included functions for just about everything listed, so (assuming your subscription gives you access to the samples) you’ll have a great starting point for your own library of cmdlets. (All the code for the functions appears on screen, so if you have to you could always pause and type it in.)

You can find my new course at:

https://www.pluralsight.com/courses/azure-powershell-sql-playbook

I also wrote an article for RedGate’s SimpleTalk website that aligns well with this course. I dive deeper into the restartability aspect of the way the functions were coded, something I couldn’t get deep into with the video course due to time constraints.

https://www.red-gate.com/simple-talk/sysadmin/powershell/powershell-functions-reusability-restartability-azure/

What’s that? Yes you in the back row, you say you don’t have a Pluralsight subscription? Well no worries, just email me, free@arcanetc.com and I’ll be glad to send you a code that will be good for 30 days at Pluralsight. During that time you can watch my courses, indeed you can watch any course at Pluralsight.

Mobile Report Publisher–Dashboards Everywhere

My latest article on RedGate’s SimpleTalk site has just come out: Mobile Report Publisher – Dashboards Everywhere.

In it, I give a quick overview of using SQL Server 2016’s Mobile Report Publisher to create a simple but useful dashboard. Mobile Report dashboards can be assembled easily, and quickly, from SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services) Shared Datasets.

Reports generated with Mobile Report Publisher are great, as they can be used on, as the name suggests, mobile devices such as phones and tablets, but on websites as well. They fill the need between a traditional report and those analytic reports created by self service tools such PowerBI.

Using the instructions in my SimpleTalk article, you should be able to create your first, simple report. If that wets your appetite for more, I can offer two additional learning paths.

First, there’s my book SQL Server 2016 Report Services Cookbook. In it I have an entire chapter on the Mobile Report Publisher. Being an entire chapter I had more space to go deeper, and provide instructions on pulling data from multiple sources. I also go into the use of other components in the dashboard. You can find the book on both Amazon and my publisher, PactPub’s website.

The second resource is my Pluralsight course What’s New in SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services. The report gives a great overview of all the new features of SSRS 2016 (and still applicable to 2017). The bulk of the course focuses on the Mobile Report Publisher, but I also cover other new features such as the new Report Portal, and the ability to host KPIs right on the portal, among other features.

Don’t have a Pluralsight subscription? No worries, just email me, free@arcanetc.com and I can send you a code good for 30 days during which you can watch my courses, or any of the great courses at Pluralsight!

Opening Port 80 in Windows Firewall to Support Calling SSRS From Another Computer

Recently I was working on another article for RedGate’s SimpleTalk site. As part of it, I had SSRS installed on a Windows 10 computer, and needed to connect to it from another computer. I was having a lot of issues connecting, until I remembered SSRS connects using Port 80, and by default Windows 10 (and previous versions) block Port 80 for incoming traffic.

The solution was to, obviously, open Port 80 on the Windows 10 computer. Doing so was not difficult, but did require quite a few steps, and of course administrator rights on the computer.

First, open the Windows 10 Settings. Then, click on Network & Internet.

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On the Status window, click on Windows Firewall.

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From here, click on Advanced settings.

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If prompted confirm you do wish to make changes. When the Windows Defender Firewall dialog appears, click on Inbound Rules.

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Now click on New Rule

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In the New Inbound Rule Wizard window, change the type of rule to be Port. Then click next.

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On the next window, leave the rule applying to the default of TCP. For the port, assuming you are using the default setup, enter 80 for the port number. If you setup SSRS on a different port then obviously use that port number instead.

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On the action page we tell Windows what we want to do if it finds incoming traffic on this port. For this development environment we will take the default of Allow the connection. If you had setup https service on your report server, then you could take the second option of allow if secure.

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Next, we need to specify what network type the rule should apply to. For the scenario, I am on a small network, such as you might have at home, and that network was setup as private. Thus I am leaving Private checked on, and unchecking Domain and Public.

Unchecking public is especially important if you plan to take your laptop out to a coffee shop, you don’t want someone trying to hack into your machine via port 80. When done just click next.

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On the last screen we’ll give the firewall rule a name, and a description. When done, click finish.

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As you can see, the new rule now appears in our Inbound Rules area.

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Once you have completed working with your SSRS server, I’d suggest you return here, right click on the rule, and either disable it, or if you know it will no longer be needed, delete it.

And with that you should now be able to connect to the computer running SSRS from another computer on your network.

Introduction to DW/BI–My Newest Old Course at Pluralsight

Way back in November of 2010, I published my second course with Pluralsight, Introduction to Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence. Over that time a lot has transpired. While the basic fundamentals haven’t changed, a lot of technology has. In addition, Microsoft’s WideWorldImporters sample provides a great platform for demonstrating many of the concepts.

Additionally, I have to admit that after eight years the slides and accompanying graphics have started to look a bit dated. As a result, Pluralsight asked me to update the course.

I’m happy to announce the new and improved version of Introduction to Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence is now live at Pluralsight!

In case the title didn’t give it away, in this course I cover all the basics of data warehousing and business intelligence. What are facts and dimensions, and what do they actually look like in the database? How should you design a data warehouse?

All new to this course, you’ll see the various tools  from Microsoft to do DW/BI, using the all new Wide World Importers sample database as our platform. You’ll see how to design a database using SSDT, and see how the concepts of DW/BI were implemented.

You’ll also see how SSIS was used to achieve ETL, as well as SSAS to create an analytic cube to do BI. Multiple tools are then explored for reporting; SSRS, Mobile Report Publisher, Excel, and PowerBI.

So, who is this course for?

As a DBA, you’ll be asked to implement new data warehouse projects. The design of a data warehouse is very different from a traditional database, and it’s important to understand these differences. In addition, you’ll be asked to install and configure the data warehouse tools. We’ll talk about the tools included with SQL Server, such as SQL Server Integration Services, Analysis Services, and Reporting Services.

If you are a database designer or developer, you’ll be asked to design these data warehouses. As we said, the design is VERY different from a traditional database. You need to understand these differences in order to implement a data warehouse.

Software developers are interacting with data warehouses on an increasing basis, in order to get additional data for their programs. In the past developers had to create custom interfaces to other systems in order to get additional information needed for their applications. In today’s world developers are being told to get that required data from the central repository of the data warehouse.

Finally, this course is valuable for project managers and business users who seek to understand the systems they can pull data from in order to do self service reporting. By the end of the course users will understand what terms like facts and dimensions mean, and how to effectively use them in your reporting.

If you aren’t already a Pluralsight customer, but are interested, just shoot me an email: free @ arcanetc.com. I can hook you up with a code which will give you 30 days of access to their site, during which you can watch my courses, or any of the courses on Pluralsight. S

iTunes 12.7.2.60 Won’t Recognize iPad/iPhone after upgrade on Windows 10

I recently installed iTunes 12.7.2.60 on Windows 10; after the installation it would no longer recognize my iPad Pros (either one of them). The iPad would ask if I wanted to grant access to photos, etc., but iTunes itself would never show the iPad as being connected. Prior to the upgrade I had no problems connecting.

I found the solution at: https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT204095 .

First, unplug an i-devices you have hooked up. Then, navigate to:

 %ProgramFiles%\Common Files\Apple\Mobile Device Support\Drivers

Find either usbaapl64.inf or usbaapl.inf. Right click on it, and pick Install

Reboot your computer, then give it another try. If it doesn’t work, the link above has a few other suggestions you can try, but this worked for me.

Hopefully this will help someone else with similar issues (or act as a reminder to me in the future Winking smile   ).

Adults Only Minecraft for Suicide Prevention

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For some time now I’ve been working with a group of Minecrafters to raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. So far we’ve raised over $3,400 dollars toward our year end goal of $3,650, so I’m writing to ask your help toward our goal. Anything you could give at  http://tinyurl.com/MCStopSuicide would be appreciated to help out this worthy charity.

What? Minecraft? Robert, you’re telling me you play Minecraft?

OK, I have a confession to make. I LOVE Minecraft. I don’t know why, I just find it relaxing, and it lets me be creative in ways outside what I normally do. I blame my kids, they got me hooked.

I also have to blame Marc over at Adults Only Minecraft (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4qYM4ZIwaEKg0Ti0ah-OJA). When my kids first got me to play Minecraft I thought “eh, that’s cute” but it didn’t really grab me. Then I found the Adults Only Minecraft channel. It showed me all the cool, creative things that could be done, and I was hooked.

If you are wondering about the name, Marc used to play on some servers that hosted a bunch of kids who that thought it was great fun to “prank” others by blowing up or otherwise destroying their creations. Marc decided to make an environment for “adults only”, where grown ups would respect each others builds, and work together on creative, interesting projects. I guess it didn’t occur to him at the time that “adults only” might be misconstrued, but I can assure you it’s a very family friendly channel.

I became a follower of the channel, and began joining his live streams on a regular basis (each Wed night at 9pm Eastern). Each week Marc and a group of intrepid Minecrafters participate in a live stream to participate in some building activity. While they stream there is an active chat room that talks about the build, or whatever comes to mind (no politics or naughty language though, to keep it friendly).

Eventually I was honored to be asked to join as a chat room moderator. Since then I’ve gotten to know the group that plays each week, and learned what a wonderful group of people they are both on and off stream.

So I’m writing this to make an appeal. Marc has been working to raise money with his live streams for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. So far, Marc has raised over $3,400 dollars toward his year end goal of $3,650.

The holiday season is a happy time for many, but sadly this time of year also sees an increase in suicides. It seems an appropriate time of year to help the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention help those who suffer from thoughts of suicide at this time of year.

No amount is too small, if even a third of my twitter followers would donate one dollar we could blow the lid off the current donation levels. I hope you can help out during this holiday season, by using the link below to make a donation. Thanks! 

http://tinyurl.com/MCStopSuicide 

Robert / ArcaneCode / ArcaneMining

Adults Only Minecraft Links

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4qYM4ZIwaEKg0Ti0ah-OJA

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AdultsMinecraft/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ForAdultsOnlyMinecraft/

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/1/+Adultsonlyminecraft

SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services Cookbook–On Sale Until 2018!

SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services CookbookHappy  Holidays! As a gift to everyone, PACKT Publishing has put the e-book version of my SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services Cookbook on sale for just $5.

Yes, that’s right, for the same price as a pumpkin spice chai tea latte with extra whip cream, and a quick trip to http://bit.ly/ssrscook, you could be reading this magnificent tome of wisdom.

Now, I can year some of you going “but Robert, SQL Server 2017 is out now, is this still relevant?” Yes, absolutely! Very few changes were made to the 2017 version of SSRS, so everything in this book is just as valid.

And it’s not just my book that is on sale, all the e-books at PACKT are on sale for the same low low price. So after you get done adding the SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services Cookbook to your shopping cart, be sure to check out the other awesome titles on PACKT Publishing.

This book, by the way, makes an excellent companion to two of my Pluralsight courses.

The SQL Server Reporting Services Playbook, https://www.pluralsight.com/courses/sql-server-reporting-playbook, is designed for people who are totally new to SSRS and need to get up to speed FAST.

Already know SSRS, and just want to learn what’s new with SSRS 2016? Then my appropriately named What’s New in SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services course, https://www.pluralsight.com/courses/sql-server-2016-reporting-services, is just the thing for you. It goes over just the new features in SSRS 2016 (and still applicable to 2017) and does it fast. With this short course you can be up and running with 2016/2017.

What? You don’t have a Pluralsight subscription? Well I’m shocked, but OK I can help you out. Just send me an email to

free@pluralsight.com

and I can fix you up with a code good for 30 days during which you can watch my courses, or any of the fine courses at Pluralsight. (If you want to see all my courses, just click the About Me link at the top, or go to http://arcanecode.me).

If you have some free time during the holiday season, and want to avoid the in-laws, then curling up with a great book (like the SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services Cookbook) beside the yuletide fire can be a great way to spend your time!

A Walk Around SQL Operations Studio

In my latest article on RedGate’s Simple Talk site, I take you on a walk around the brand new SQL Operations Studio, or SQLOPS for short.

If you haven’t heard about it, SQLOPS is the new open source, multiplatform tool for using SQL Server, think of it as SQL Server Management Studio for the PC. And the Mac. And even Linux!

My article walks you through the critical components: Where to get it, how to install it, and some basics on how to use it. Even though it is in preview, there are some features it has, which SSMS does not, that make it worth looking at today.

You can read the article at http://bit.ly/acred02, or the full URL is https://www.red-gate.com/simple-talk/sql/sql-tools/walk-around-sql-operations-studio/ .

You can see all my Simple Talk articles at http://arcanecode.red

Creating Azure Resource Groups Safely With PowerShell

A few posts back I mentioned that I had become a SimpleTalk author, and that my first post for them was PowerShell Functions For Reusability and Restartability in Azure (read it at http://bit.ly/acred01)

I’ve created a companion video for it, which focuses on creating Resource Groups. You can see it below, or on YouTube at http://bit.ly/acredyt01.

As I mention in the video, you can find the code samples on my github site, at http://bit.ly/acredgit01

Fixed! PowerPoint 2016 Presenter View Not Showing

I purchased a new laptop earlier this year, a pretty sweet Lenovo ThinkPad. The only thing that annoyed me was PowerPoint 2016 wouldn’t show the presenter view. Well I finally got around to tracking down the issue. I found a post in an MSDN forum that was close, but not quite right in the instructions. In fairness the answer was several years old so the interface likely changed in that time.

The issue relates back to the NVIDIA driver. I did see some posts suggesting you uninstall the NVIDIA driver and roll back to an older version, but I didn’t find it necessary to do anything that drastic. Solving it was just a few simple steps.

image01First, if you have PowerPoint open, you should close it. Now, right click on your desktop, then select nView Desktop Manager. If you don’t see this option, then the this solution won’t solve your issue as you either don’t have an NVIDIA card, or don’t have the right NVIDIA software installed.

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Next, click on Applications, on the left in the tree view (1). Then, click the Enhancements button in the lower right (2).

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Finally, uncheck the box beside “Add PowerPoint slide show extensions”.

Click OK to close the Application Enhancements window, then OK again to close the nView Desktop Manager window.

And that should be it, open PowerPoint, start your slide show, and the presenter view should now appear for you (don’t forget to check Presenter View on in the Slide Show options tab before you start the show).

Note that I’ve only tried this with PowerPoint 2016, although I’m guessing it would likely work with older versions of PowerPoint as well (if it does, leave a comment letting everyone know what version of PowerPoint you were using).

Hopefully this solution will work for you too!

I’m Now a SimpleTalk Author!

RedGateSimpleTalkLogoVerticalAdding to my other activities, I’m now writing for SimpleTalk, RedGate’s community hub. My first article just went live.

PowerShell Functions for Reusability and Restartability in Azure is the title, in it I describe how to implement the concepts of reusability and restartability in PowerShell. The functions were written against the Azure platform, however the concepts are valid for any PowerShell implementation. You can read the full article at:

https://www.red-gate.com/simple-talk/sysadmin/powershell/powershell-functions-reusability-restartability-azure/

If you want to keep up with all my articles, I’ve setup a special URL which will jump you to my author page at SimpleTalk:

http://arcanecode.red

It’s small now, but expect it to grow quickly. Happy reading!

Making Videos for Fun and Profit

As I author this post, I’m at a Microsoft conference. Today’s focus is on the creation of video content to help promote your brand. As I have some experience with this from my Pluralsight videos, I had some suggestions as to technology.

The first tool I use is from TechSmith, it is Camtasia. It is designed to do screen recordings with narration. You can record your audio during your screen recording or add narration later, or a mix of both (should, for example, you mess up and need to fix an audio flub). It has “call outs”, i.e. ways to draw on the screen, transitions, text/titles, noise reduction, and more. It can also record from your webcam, but it’s more meant for putting your head in a small box in a corner of the screen.

I’ve used the free Audacity tool to do some audio touch ups on occasion.

I recently bought CyberLink’s PowerDirector, although to be honest I haven’t yet had time to work with it but look forward to doing so. I also recently found a free video editing suite called Davinci Resolve that looks very nice, but like PowerDirector I haven’t had time to look at it. But the price is right.

Of course if you want to go all out there’s Adobe Premier. It’s the video editor the pro’s use. I haven’t used it, but my daughter uses it to edit her YouTube videos (http://annakatmeow.com is where you can see examples of it in use, her Let’s Explore Nashville and DisneyLand/Vidcon blogs made good use of its benefits. ). FYI Adobe has a program for students where you can get the entire cloud suite, normally $49 a month for only $9 a month.

I also do some video work on my iOS devices. Mostly I record on my iPhone then transfer and edit video on my 12.9 inch iPad Pro.

For recording, I use FiLMiC Pro . It’s the most complete recorder I’ve found, with tons of options. It also has a remote app, so I can setup my phone on a tripod then use one of my iPads to see what the phone sees, start and stop the recordings, etc.

If you want a mid-ranged video recording option, try MoviePro . It has a lot more features than the built in Apple software, but isn’t quite as complex as FiLMiC Pro. It also has a remote app.

For editing, I use LumaFusion . A very full featured editor. Has titles, transitions, prebuilt lower thirds, audio editing, easy addition of sound tracks, and more. I’ve edited several videos with it, and like it a lot.

On the hardware side, I use a Rode Podcaster USB mic to do my video work. A bit pricy for the hobbyist, but since I do this for a living it was a good investment. I have it 7 years now and it still works great.

With my iOS devices I invested in the Rode smartLav+ . With it I can get some really good sound quality even in less than ideal conditions.

I also own a Nikon D7000 DSLR with Video capabilities, but as good as my iPhone 7 camera is now I don’t use it all that much except for when I want to take some really great photos too. I have a variety of lenses that will out perform the iPhone camera easily. It’s just big and bulky and I need a back pack to carry around all my accessories.

I have a small tripod for my phone, and a bigger one for holding my iPads. I also have a SanDisk USB key that can plug into both iOS devices as well as your computer’s standard USB port. Makes it very easy to transfer video files from one device to another.

The last thing I ordered was off Kickstarter, I saw the guy demonstrating it at VidCon and loved it. It’s a ten foot selfie stick. I know, you’re scratching your head and thinking I’ve gone nuts. Selfie stick? But the more I thought about it the more uses I kept coming up with for it.

This will be great for taking crowd shots at big events, such as Ignite and the PASS Summit. It comes with a tripod base, so you could use it to record a stand up hallway interview with someone, or put it on a table top. And that’s just for us geeks, I can also see it being useful for journalists, or real estate agents, letting them get unique shots.  Really fills a gap for when a drone would be useful but can’t be used due to being indoors or other regulations. It comes with both a phone mount as well as a GoPro mount, so I may wind up having to buy a GoPro.

Often video can be greatly enhanced through the use of soundtracks or special audio effects. A few sources I found for these include:

ZapSplat: Lots of sound effects and some music. https://www.zapsplat.com/

FreeSound: Mostly free, good but not easy to find things. https://freesound.org/

Epidemic Sound: Outstanding music, I mean really, really good. It does require a fee though, either 99 cents per minute if you only want one song, or $15 a month per youtube channel you want to use it in.  http://www.epidemicsound.com/

Finally, there is an excellent YouTube channel by Amy Schmittauer called Savvy Sexy Social. She provides excellent advice on vlogging, including content creation, technical aspects. and more. She’s also authored an outstanding book which I highly reccomend called Vlog Like a Boss: How to Kill It Online with Video Blogging.

Windows 10 Icons Not Showing, Preview Not Working

I had a weird issue with Windows 10 today. All of a sudden, my icons weren’t displaying correctly. When I had the Preview Pane on, nothing was displayed. Even more bizarre, The Layout area of the View pane in Windows Explorer, had all the icons disabled.

Turned out I had a corrupted icon cache. To fix this for yourself, first open up a copy of Windows Explorer (or My Computer or whatever you wish to call it).

Go to the View tab, and make sure the Hidden Items is checked on.

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Now navigate to C:\Users\(User Name)\AppData\Local, where of course (User Name) is replaced with your user name.

Find the file IconCache.db, right click and delete it. Yes, that’s right, delete it. It’s OK, it won’t hurt.

To be really thorough, you could now head to the Recycle Bin, and clean it out, or at least open the Recycle Bin and remove the IconCache.db file. However you could skip this step if your the nervous type.

OK, that done, restart your computer.

When you return to the folder, such as your Pictures folder, Windows will start rebuilding the icon cache automatically, and you should now see your icons working again, and the preview pane should also now be functional.

Standard disclaimer, no warranty or guarantees provided, this is what worked to me (and to be honest I’m making it a blog post to remind me should it happen again). This may or may not work for you, but as the icon cache will automatically build itself it’s pretty safe to try.  Good luck!