How to fix Desktop icons are missing on Windows 10? (2022)

Question

Issue: How to fix Desktop icons are missing on Windows 10?

Hello, something happened to my desktop icons – they simply vanished. I assume that I might have clicked something wrong, or maybe there is something else that caused this? Could you please tell me what is the reason for hit deadly irritating issue and how to fix it? Many thanks!!

Solved Answer

Desktop icons are missing on Windows 10 is one of many issues on the latest version of the operating system. When Windows 10 came out, it caused a lot of dissatisfaction due to bugs and stability issues.[1] Most of the OS update issues were fixed with further Windows updates released in 2018. However, this particular issue with the Start Menu creates frustration among many users[2] up until recently even.

Windows 10 July 2021 update included fixes for serious flaws like PrintNightmware and other security vulnerabilities,[3] but the issue with desktop icons deleted after the upgrade remains to bother people. The build update creates many processes to backup files and makes sure to add all needed pieces don't the machine. Sometimes missing pieces can create issues and temporary files like the ones on the desktop end up deleted, so users tend to panic.[4]

There is no need to do so. Windows updates have this bug when the user profile is set aside and restored only after the upgrade. You are asked to login but the profile is temp and those files look missing. You should restart at least 3 times until the profile is fully restored, so the PC can launch all the proper functions and features. This should be a quick fix for the bug. Otherwise, follow the guide further to fix other possible problems.

Windows icons are often an important part of many users' daily computer usage routine. Shortcuts allow them to access the desired application or a document with just a click of a mouse, without having to dig inside various folders on the system. Essentially, these tiny desktop helpers did not change much since the very beginning of Windows development – or at least it may seem so for most users.

The desktop icons are missing issue can be extremely frustrating to many users, as it takes so much longer for them to find files/apps via File Explorer or other navigation apps. Nevertheless, there are several different methods that can help users fix missing Desktop icons on Windows 10, most of which are not difficult to execute.

The start menu was changed because of the user complaints and requests, but this error with Desktop icons missing on Windows 10 is pretty annoying and can appear due to a few different reasons. Firstly, when users have many icons on the sudden desktop, change is not pleasant.

The primary reason for this issue on the device is modified settings, Desktop and Tablet mode settings, for example. People tend to blame operating system bugs from the start too. Fortunately, due to the bug fixes in Windows, the issue when Desktop icons are missing on Windows 10 can be fixed.

How to fix Desktop icons are missing on Windows 10? (1)Fix missing desktop icons

Windows 10 is a great OS, which has been developed with respect to Windows OS users and their preferences, as well we taking into account the best and the worst features of previous Windows versions. Consequently, Windows enthusiasts must have noticed how many Windows 8 errors and inconveniences have been fixed. Yet, issues like Desktop icons are missing on Windows 10 prevail.

On top of that, those who were complaining about Windows design or Graphic User Interface (GUI) and Start menu were presented with the major changes. Unfortunately, but some of the changes have been treated as bugs by some of the users. Missing desktop icons is one of them.

Methods to fix missing Desktop icons on Windows 10

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(Video) Fix Desktop Icons Missing or Disappeared

The problem of missing desktop icons is not universal – sometimes, users see the underlying names of apps or files without icons, while in other cases, all the shortcuts are invisible completely. Some reported the desktop wallpaper removal following the missing icons issue.

While in some of the cases missing desktop icons may be caused by virus infection[5], in most of the cases it happens due to incorrect settings, accidentally hidden, or the wrong mode. Although most of the cases happen due to the accidentally set Tablet mode instead of Desktop mode, there are some other causes. Luckily, this “bug” may be fixed quite easily, but you should check the system first using the PC repair tool ReimageMac Washing Machine X9 – it might also fix the missing desktop icons issue automatically for you as well.

1. Restart File Explorer

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File Explorer is an integral part of any Windows 10 operating system. If you have issues with interface or such as icons went missing, you should restart the process as follows:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open the Task manager
  2. Scroll down to locate Windows Explorer
  3. Right-click on the entry, and select Restart How to fix Desktop icons are missing on Windows 10? (2)Restart File Explorer
  4. Your desktop will blink and the process will be restarted for you

2. Run Search and Indexing troubleshooter

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To repair damaged system, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage Reimage.

Built-in troubleshooters are great solutions that can help you fix various Windows issues. If anything, it can at least pinpoint in the right direction. Thus, run the Search and Indexing troubleshooter as follows:

  1. Right-click on Start button and select Settings
  2. Go to Update & Security section
  3. On the left side, select Troubleshoot
  4. Scroll down and click on Search and Indexing
  5. Select Run the troubleshooter How to fix Desktop icons are missing on Windows 10? (3)Run Search and Indexing Troubleshooter

3. Recover files from the .old folder

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To repair damaged system, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage Reimage.

(Video) How To Easily Restore Missing Desktop Icons | Windows 10

  • Press the Windows key + E hotkey to open File Explorer.
  • Users can open the Windows.old folder at this path
    This PC\\C:\\Windows.old
  • Open the User subfolder in the Windows.old folder.
  • Open a user account subfolder.
  • Then recover deleted files from their user account.
  • Select a file and then press the Copy to button to open the drop-down menu below.
  • Select another folder to copy the files to.

4. Rebuild icon cache

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To repair damaged system, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage Reimage.

  1. Type in cmd into Windows Search
  2. Right-click on Command Prompt result and select Run as administrator (note: in case Windows search is not working for you as well, tap Win + R on your keyboard, enter cmd.exe and then hit Ctrl+Shift+Enter)
  3. As soon as the new window opens, type in these commands, pressing Enter after each:

    taskkill /F /IM explorer.exe
    cd /d %userprofile%\\AppData\\Local
    attrib –h IconCache.db
    del IconCache.db
    start explorer.exe

  4. Close down Command Prompt How to fix Desktop icons are missing on Windows 10? (4)Rebuild icon cache

5. Check the visibility of desktop icons

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To repair damaged system, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage Reimage.

In case you have accidentally hidden desktop icons, you should follow these steps:

  1. Right-click on desktop (it does not matter where, as long as it is a blank space)
  2. Hover your mouse pointer on View
  3. Ensure that Show desktop icons option is ticked How to fix Desktop icons are missing on Windows 10? (5)Check Icon visibility

Additionally, some users reported that selecting Auto arrange icons option helped them to fix missing icons issue.

6. Turn off Tablet Mode

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To repair damaged system, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage Reimage.

As we have already pointed out, missing desktop icons may be the result of incorrectly set Mode. Therefore, the last thing that you should try is to disable Tablet Mode and switch to Desktop mode. This can be done by following these steps:

  1. Click on the notification prompt at the bottom-right of your screen
  2. In the bottom section of the new window, you will see many options
  3. Click on Tablet mode to ensure that the mode is disabled How to fix Desktop icons are missing on Windows 10? (6)Turn off tablet mode

7. Run SFC scan

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(Video) Fix: All Desktop Icons Disappeared after Windows 10 Update

To repair damaged system, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage Reimage.

Corrupted Windows system files may cause various malfunctions. To fix this, run a System File Checker via Command Prompt:

  1. Access Command Prompt as explained in the previous fix
  2. Type in the following command and press Enter:

    sfc /scannow

  3. Wait till Windows detect related issues and fixes them automatically How to fix Desktop icons are missing on Windows 10? (7)Run SFC scan

8. Use System Restore point

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To repair damaged system, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage Reimage.

If none of the above solutions helped you fix the missing desktop icons issue, you could try using System Restore function to return your computer configuration to a point when your icons were still working fine. Note that this will not affect your personal files, although programs and updates installed after the restore point you are going back to will be removed.

  1. Press Win + R simultaneously
  2. Type in rstrui.exe and press Enter
  3. Click Next
  4. Select a restore point with a know good system configuration
  5. Click Next and press Finish How to fix Desktop icons are missing on Windows 10? (8)Use System Restore point

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(Video) How to Fix Desktop Icons Not Working/Not Showing Properly in Windows 10/8/7

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How to fix Desktop icons are missing on Windows 10? (9)

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Data recovery software is one of the options that could help you recover your files. Once you delete a file, it does not vanish into thin air – it remains on your system as long as no new data is written on top of it. Data Recovery Pro is recovery software that searchers for working copies of deleted files within your hard drive. By using the tool, you can prevent loss of valuable documents, school work, personal pictures, and other crucial files.

(Video) Fix- Windows 7, 8, 10 Loads with a Temporary Profile. Icons and files disappeared from the desktop

FAQs

Why did my desktop icons suddenly disappear? ›

Right-click anywhere on the desktop and expand "View". In the pop-out menu, look to see if there is a check mark next to the "Show desktop icons" setting. If this is missing, this is exactly why you suddenly cannot see your desktop icons. The good news is nothing is lost, you just need to re-enable the setting.

How do I fix icons not displaying? ›

Check the Taskbar Settings

Click Start, then head to Settings > Personalization. From the left-hand menu, select Taskbar. Turn off the toggle below Automatically hide the taskbar in tablet mode. From the Notification section, click Select which icons appear on the taskbar.

How do I get my desktop back to normal on Windows 10? ›

How Do I Get My Desktop Back to Normal on Windows 10?
  1. Press Windows key and I key together to open Settings.
  2. In the pop-up window, choose System to continue.
  3. On the left panel, choose Tablet Mode.
  4. Check Don't ask me and don't switch.
16 Nov 2022

How do I make my desktop icons reappear? ›

How to Fix Disappeared Desktop Icons by Turning on Desktop Icons Visibility. The commonest fix for this issue is to turn on desktop icons visibility. Right-click on an empty portion on your desktop. Hover on "View", then make sure the "Show desktop icons" option is checked.

Why did all my desktop icons disappeared Windows 10? ›

Right-click anywhere in the Windows desktop area and select View from the menu that appears. You'll see a list of items to customized desktop icons. At the bottom, you'll see Show desktop icons. If it isn't enabled already, that's the reason icons have disappeared from your Windows 10 desktop.

Why are icons not showing? ›

First, try these common fixes

If you're not connected, make sure that data or Wi-Fi is on, and that you're not in Airplane mode. Next, check your device's app store to make sure the Google Calendar app is up to date. To the left of the calendar's name, make sure the box is checked.

How do I turn my desktop back to normal? ›

Ctrl + Alt + Up Arrow: To set the screen to its normal display settings. Ctrl + Alt + Down Arrow: To flip the screen upside down.

Why are my desktop files not showing? ›

Step 1. Open Windows Explorer > Go to Views > Options > Folder Options > Go to View Tab. Step 2. Check "show hidden files, folders and drives" (uncheck the option "Hide protected operating system files" if there is this option), and click "OK" to save all the changes.

How do I get my shortcut icons back? ›

Restore Icons to the Desktop
  1. Right-click the desktop and click Properties.
  2. Click the Desktop tab.
  3. Click Customize desktop.
  4. Click the General tab, and then click the icons that you want to place on the desktop.
  5. Click OK.

How do I get my apps to display? ›

Touch and hold the app, then lift your finger.
...
Add to Home screens
  1. From the bottom of your Home screen, swipe up. Learn how to open apps.
  2. Touch and drag the app. ...
  3. Slide the app to where you want it.

Why are my apps not showing their icons? ›

Go to Settings, then tap on “Display” then tap on “Full screen apps“. From there, turn on what apps you want to appear on your home screen. Go back to home screen after turning on all the apps you want icons for, scroll right to left, they should all be there.

Where is my all apps screen? ›

From anywhere

Swipe up from the bottom of your screen to the top. If you get All Apps , tap it.

Can't find my installed apps? ›

Reinstall apps or turn apps back on
  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open Google Play Store .
  2. On the right, tap the profile icon.
  3. Tap Manage apps & device. Manage.
  4. Select the apps you want to install or turn on. If you can't find the app, at the top, tap Installed. Not installed.
  5. Tap Install or Enable.

Videos

1. FIXED: Desktop Icons Not Showing Properly In Win 8,8.1,10 | How To Restore Missing Shortcut Icons
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2. How To Fix Desktop Icons Missing in Windows 10
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3. Fix: Desktop Icon Missing or Disappeared on Windows 10
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4. DESKTOP ICONS MISSING: On Windows 10
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5. How to Fix Blank White Desktop Shortcut Icons in Windows 10
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6. How To Fix Desktop Icons Missing In Windows 10
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