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When I was at Microsoft, I was the developer tasked with fixing the Favicon story for IE7. The original IE6 behavior was to download the favicon once–when a user made a site a Favorite. I do not want to go too deep into the details of how this craziness works, but the key piece of information to understanding why it seemed so broken is this: a mapping between the url of the site the url for the site’s Favicon would be stored in IE’s History database and the actually bits of the icon would be stored in the temporary Internet files folder. Thus, if you cleared your history or your cache, or the item expired out of either one, the icon would be gone forever.