How To Fix Google Chrome Icon Grey Or White Background In Windows 8 / 10 Start Menu

As part of the 10 years anniversary of Chrome browser, and new Material Design overhaul, users may expect the unexpected changes in their favorite browser.

18 Feb 2021 Update

Windows 10 February 2021 update removed support for custom tile pinned icons background colors in Start menu and HEX color code value from the .xml file is now completely ignored. This has an added benefit that pinned icons tile background-color properties will respect selected theme instead of individual programs and appear uniformly from now on.

How to change Windows 10 theme and background tile colors:

  1. Right-click on empty Desktop space
  2. Select Personalize option from the menu (last in the list)
  3. Select Themes section on the left and then scroll down to Change theme section – try few pre-installed ones or add more from Microsoft Store
Windows 10 Themes Settings

Windows 10 Themes Settings

15 Nov 2019 Update

If you experience Access Denied error after the latest November 2019 Windows 10 Update when you try this procedure to update Chrome’s icon, here is the simple workaround:

  1. Delete existing shortcut file (.ink) named Google Chrome in C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs
  2. Open folder where Google Chrome .exe is actually installed (you can use trick from the video with right-click > Open file location) e.g. C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application
  3. Now, you have to create a fresh shortcut, but Windows will complain and not allow you to be in the same directory along with existing .exe file. Send it to Desktop. and then use cut & paste commands to move it back into folder from STEP 1
  4. Rename fresh shortcut from chrome.exe to Google Chrome (without extension)

Now, you should be able to update Chrome icon, as shown in the video.

27 Aug 2018 Update

In Google Chrome browser version 69 bright white color (hex color code #FFFFFF) is replaced with a grey color (hex color code #5F6368). Far from ideal as in older versions, but definitely less irritating.


Watch this short video tutorial to learn how to simply fix this issue:



Older Video Tutorial is still available.
It also shows you how to change background with custom color:


13 Aug 2018 Original Article

In recent Google Chrome browser version 68 update new background color scheme was introduced for the Start Menu pinned icon. Nope, this is not another bug in our lovely Chrome! Both 32 and 64 bit and all Windows 8 / Windows 8.1 / Windows 10 editions are affected.

How can we deal with the new design change and can we revert it back? Can we make it blue again (technically, it is transparent, and the blue background color is controlled by the Windows theme)? The answer is – Yes!

Google Chrome Grey or White Background Fix


Locate “chrome.VisualElementsManifest.xml” File in:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application

You can use a shortcut method here to locate xml file, as shown in updated video above.
You can immediately delete xml file and skip directly to STEP 4 below.


Hit START > start typing “Notepad”
Right-click on Notepad icon > select Run as administrator option
Open “chrome.VisualElementsManifest.xml” file from Notepad File > Open command in Chrome’s location from STEP 1.

TIP: If you don’t see chrome.VisualElementsManifest.xml file in the open dialog, this is because a TXT file filter is active. Look on the right bottom side of the open file window dialog and select All Files mode.


Replace ‘#5F6368‘ or ‘#FFFFFF‘ hexadecimal (hex) color code with ‘transparent‘ word, then SAVE the file changes with Notepad File > Save command.

TIP: If you wish to change this to a custom color, you can search for hex color codes and replace it with a custom one (red, blue, green, and all other variations of).


Still nothing? Well, that’s because we haven’t refreshed our START MENU pinned icon yet!
Right-click on Google Chrome pinned icon > More > click on Open file location
Windows will open another Explorer window with bunch of shortcuts / icons, locate Google Chrome icon > right click on it and click Properties


You should be on Shortcut tab. Click on Change Icon button.
Re-select (select again) Google Chrome icon (yes, it looks the same but it’s not!) and confirm with Admin rights.





    Add Your Comment
  2. 1. Guest

    I could kiss you. Thanks for this, it was bugging me.

  3. 2. gremlin90000

    thanks so much it worked

  4. 3. Tuyen

    Thank you!

  5. 4. Tom

    Saved me from that hideous eye sore. Thank you so much.

  6. 5. Guest

    This has been driving me crazy. I gave up looking for a solution a couple of weeks ago, right about this time this was published.
    Thank you for figuring this out for us.

  7. 6. Guest

    Update 72-not working

  8. 7. TehnoBlog (In reply to Guest)

    Hi, it is still working, just tested on 72.0.3626.109 update. You probably missed some step.

  9. 8. Insulated World

    Jesus Christ, I’ve been trying it from time to time for about a year now – similar steps yet it didn’t work. Thanks for this article.

  10. 9. unknown

    worked on latest build

  11. 10. R

    More helpful than other suggestions I found. Thank you.

    One question – how can we prevent overwrite in the first place? I find myself doing this process frequently, usually 3-4 times per month. I’m pretty good at it now – I keep a copy of the xml file in the same folder with the changes. Everytime I have to redo it, I just delete the offending one, rename the copy to chrome.visualelements manifest, then copy and paste the same file back to the same folder.

    Anyway – I’d rather note go through this mess every time Chrome or Windows updates. Any suggestions?

  12. 11. TehnoBlog (In reply to R)

    Unfortunately, this is happening because of regular Chrome updates, its release cycle / schedule is very well documented here:

    Chrome update replaces all the files and icons every time, which is super annoying. If devs just decided not to update xml manifest file if it was changed by user (simple hash string comparison could check that), Chrome should not replace it, unless absolutely necessary (e.g. new major release).

    Chrome updates are automatic and not user controllable (at least, not in an easy way, because updates bring a lot of performance improvements, new web standards and technology features support, along security updates and disabling them is not recommended anyway).

    Windows updates do not affect this in any way, past the fact that Windows offers tile color customization feature itself. The easiest way to solve this annoyance once and for all and not just in case of Chrome, but every other app out there (Edge, Firefox etc.) would be if Microsoft just added an option to disable tile customization all together on OS level, which, sadly, it does not.

    Another possible way would be to create a batch script file that can automate all the manual tasks of icon replacement and refresh, but no such script exists yet.

  13. 12. iamakii

    Not working anymore on 21H1 Build 19043.844 (Feb 18, 2021)

  14. 13. TehnoBlog (In reply to iamakii)


  15. 14. Felz

    Worked first time, thank you!

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