Fix Desktop Icons Missing or Disappeared in Windows

Fix Desktop Icons Missing

Using Windows 11 and suddenly you can’t see the desktop icons? Follow this guide to fix desktop icons missing.

People love to work on a PC or laptop but sometimes while working on a desktop icons disappear which seems quite irritating. Well, if your Windows 10 desktop icons are missing then, there may be an issue either with your icon settings (or your core Windows system). The issues like these often do not have an obvious reason that makes it hard to troubleshoot them.

How to Fix Desktop Icons Missing

However, for the desktop icons missing an issue, there are some standard fixes that you can try and hopefully resolve this issue on your PC. Well, if you prefer to watch a video, check out our YouTube tutorial below that goes through a couple of the options. Moreover, if none of these work for you then, make sure to read the upcoming section of the article as we have mentioned some more steps and fixes below. So, let’s get started!

Ensure The Desktop Icons Aren’t Disabled

The foremost and the most basic thing is that you want to do before performing any other methods is to check the option that displays your desktop icons is enabled or not. If you/someone else turned off the option for some specific reason then, that is why your Windows 10 desktop icons have gone missing. Though, you can bring them all back in a couple of clicks. To do so, follow the simple steps:

  1. On your desktop, right-click anywhere on a screen and select the View option from the list that appears.
  2. Click the Show desktop icons option and also, ensure there appears a tick-mark next to the option which indicates that it is turned On.

Re-Configure Your Desktop Icons’ Settings

Fix Desktop Icons Missing

You want to check the settings for your desktop icons and ensure that you have selected the right ones and enabled them. Well, if you have customized your icon settings, it might cause your icons to disappear from your desktop.

You can head into the Settings and configure the options there to fix this issue. To do so, follow the simple steps given below:

  1. Right-click anywhere on your desktop’s screen and select the Personalize option.
  2. Select the Themes option placed on the left sidebar on your screen.
  3. You will see an option Desktop icon settings placed on the right-hand side pane. Click it to open the settings menu.
  4. The screen that appears lets you select and deselect the icons of your choice to make them visible on your desktop. Simply, make your selection and click on Apply followed by OK.

Relaunch The Windows Explorer

Fix Desktop Icons Missing

Your desktop icons are part of the explorer.exe process that runs on your PC. If there is an issue with this process then, it can cause issues like desktop icons missing or disappearing on your Windows 10 PC.

The good thing is that this issue can be easily fixed by relaunching the process on your PC. To do so, follow the simple steps given below:

  1. Press the Ctrl + Alt + Delete keys simultaneously on your keyboard.
  2. Select Task Manager from the options that appear on a screen.
  3. Click the Processes tab if you are not already there.
  4. Find the process Windows Explorer, right-click on it, and select End task.
  5. Click the File menu placed at the top and select Run new task.
  6. Type explorer.exe in the run box on your screen and press Enter hence, it will relaunch Windows Explorer.

Toggle The Tablet Mode In Windows Settings

In PC, Tablet mode alters how the icons and other elements appear on your system. It is worth toggling it to see if it helps to fix the Windows 10 desktop icons missing issue or not on your PC. To do so, follow the simple steps given below:

  1. Launch the Settings app using Cortana search on your PC.
  2. Click the System option when the app launches.
  3. Select Tablet mode placed on the left sidebar on your screen.
  4. Select Use tablet mode from the When I sign placed in the dropdown menu.
  5. Click the Start Menu, select the power icon > then, choose Restart
  6. When your PC restarts, go to Settings > disable the tablet mode > then, reboot your machine again.

Scan and Fix Corrupt Files On Your System

Fix Corrupt Files

However, corrupt files are often the reason why some functions do not work on your PC. Your files get corrupted due to various reasons but you can actually fix them pretty easily via a built-in tool. Well, Microsoft has included command in the Windows OS (operating system) to let you search for corrupt files and fix them on your PC. To do so, follow the following steps:

Also see: How to Create an Anonymous Facebook Account

  • Press the Windows + R keys simultaneously, 
  • Type in cmd in a run box and hit Enter.
  • Type the following command into the CMD window and press Enter;
sfc /scannow
  • That’s it. Wait for it to find and fix corrupt files on your PC.

Toggle The Start Menu Full-Screen Option

Start Menu Full-Screen

Since there is no obvious reason why your Windows 10 desktop icons are missing. You can try enabling and disabling the options associated with your user interface and hopefully, it can fix the issue for you.

One thing that you can do is to toggle the full-screen option for your Windows Start Menu. Then, follow the simple steps given below:

  1. Right-click anywhere on your desktop’s screen and choose Personalize.
  2. Click the Start option placed on the left sidebar on a screen.
  3. On the right-hand side pane, find the option Use Start full screen and turn it On.
  4. Turn the option back Off and see if it resolved the issue or not.

Rebuild The Icon Cache For Your Computer

Your computer uses the icon cache file to display icons on your desktop. If there is an issue with this file then, it may cause your desktop icons to disappear. Luckily, you can rebuild this cache file by following some steps on your PC and they are the following:

  • Use the Start Menu to search for and open File Explorer.
  • Click the View tab placed at the top and ensure the Hidden items option is enabled.
  • Navigate to the following path:
  • Find the file named IconCache.db, right-click on it > select Delete (also, make sure to empty your Recycle Bin as well).
  • Reboot your PC and it should create a new cache file for your icons.

Roll Back To a Previous Restore Point

If the issue has arisen after installing software or making changes to your PC configuration then, you can resolve it by rolling your machine back to a system restore point. It will get your configurations back to what they were when the icons displayed perfectly well on your desktop. To do so, follow the steps:

  • Open Control Panel and click the Recovery option
  • Click Open System Restore on a screen.
  • Hit Next on the first screen (placed at the bottom right side).
  • Choose the system point you want to restore your machine to and click Next placed at the bottom.

Reset Your Computer

Reset Your Computer

Last but not the least, if nothing works then, you can try resetting your PC to the factory settings and see if it resolves the issue or not. Well, it most probably will fix this issue (as this is been built for). To do so, follow the steps:

  1. Open the Settings app on your PC.
  2. Click the Update & Security option.
  3. Select Recovery from the left sidebar.
  4. Click the Get started button placed under the Reset this PC section.

However, Windows 10 desktop icons can go missing for any reason but you can always try out some of the above-mentioned standard fixes to see if they help you (or not) in bringing back your icons to your desktop.

That’s it, guys! If the above-mentioned fixes help you fix desktop icons missing issue on your PC or not. Please let us know which method worked best for you in the comment box mentioned below so, that others can benefit from it too.

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Admin at Tech Chalks, Love To Share My Experiences With the World of Tech Geeks.

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