Desktop icons are not Showing – Icons Disappeared

Question.

My desktop icons are not showing. Most of my programs are also not showing in start menu.

Answer (Solved)

There may be three reasons behind this.

  1. Sometimes the desktop settings “show desktop icons” get disabled unusually. See Solution 1 for this.
  2. If you can’t see your taskbar along with your desktop icons,  that means the explorer.exe file could not be loaded properly. See Solution 2 to fix this.
  3. Might be a possibility that a virus came into your computer and changed the desktop file’s attribute as hidden. Also, change the same settings in the system registry as well. See Solution 3Solution 4  for this.

We are giving you some possible methods to fix this issue, please follow the steps carefully.

How to fix – Desktop icons are not Showing

Below solutions may help you to fix this issue in all the versions of Windows like Windows 7, 8, 8.1, Windows 10, Vista, XP, and Server as well.




4 solutions to fix it

Solution 1 – Enable “Show Desktop Icons” option

  1. Right click on the clean area of the desktop
  2. Then click on “View” and then go to “show Desktop Icons” and click on it to make it checked.
  3. Your desktop icons will start appearing again.

Desktop icon not showing (4)

Solution 2 – Reload Explorer.exe (Fix it myself manually)

Note: Apply only if the taskbar does not appear

 

  1. On the desktop (No icons Screen) Press Ctrl+alt+Delete key together to open the Task manager
  2. In the Windows task manager, click on the “Processes” tab and here you’ll find Explorer.exe in the list, right-click on it and click on the End Process Tree. The explorer process will be killed, you’ll get a blank screen with task manager.Desktop icon not showing (1)
  3. Now go to file menu and click on new task (run), A run box will be opened. Type here: explorer.exe and press the enter button.

Desktop icon not showing (3)

Desktop icon not showing (2)

Solution 3 – Registry Fix

  1. Press Windows ‘R’ (to launch Run.exe)
  2. In the Run program, type there regedit and hit enter
  3. Then in the Registry Editor program. follow this folder path route
    HKEY_LOCAL MACHINE / SOFTWARE / Microsoft / WINDOWS NT / CurrenVersion / Winlogon
  4. Now click on  Winlogon and after clicking then look at the right side pane.
  5. Here you have to find the Item called “shell” and click on it twice (Double click)
  6. In the Value Data Edit box, Type Explorer.exe (The value of this key “Eplorer.exe) then click on OK
  7. Now restart your computer. After restarting the problem will be fixed.

 

Desktop icons are displaying

After that your desktop should be restored, you will get your desktop back.

If you are still not getting your desktop icons, it means there is no problem with explorer.exe. Now we have to go to solution 4.

Solution 4 – Run Unhide Tool Automatic Fixit

unhide-tool-logoDownload Unhidetool.exe
(Freeware Utility)

Run this Unhide tool to fix the desktop icon hide issues.


If you still do not see the desktop icons, that means Virus has changed some registry settings, please Download the Unhide tool  and run it to unhide all the desktop of start menu data to solve the “no desktop icons issue 

Enjoy the post and if you feel the post is worth donating to so please click on the link below to donate to us.

FAQ:

Q: My taskbar and start menu have also disappeared. Can I use this guide to bring them back?

A: Yes, this tutorial will work to bring back the missing desktop icons,  Start button, Start Menu, Task bar etc.

Q: Desktop icons won’t appear. Is it due to virus attacks or is there any other issue?

A: If you are not using any antivirus software it could be due to the virus otherwise you may try to fix if it is due to some other Windows internal problem. If there is no antivirus in the system, at least  download free antivirus for basic protection.

Q: Desktop icons and taskbar suddenly went. Is it due to malware?

A: Yes it could be, firstly follow the steps above to fix this issue. If that doesn’t help, then scan your computer with a  malware removal tool. And to avoid future occurrences, always keep a free antivirus in your system to protect yourself from basic virus attacks.

About The Author

188 thoughts on “Desktop icons are not Showing – Icons Disappeared”

  1. Sir, my desktop icons are not showing but labels are present. The icons of files in hard drives and in fact the icon of the hard drives and other folders are not showing. Only the labels are seen. This is happening to other user accounts of my laptop. The user account which I created when installing windows 10 is not having this problem. I tried all of the four method but none helped me. Plz help me out…

  2. Sir tried all methods but still problem has not been resolved, i have downloaded Unhide tool and run it but nothing changed same my desktop icons disappearing when i open it and sir also i have another problem in my laptop is when i open any file it shows file not found and many interrupted actions and delete key is not working to so i can resolve this plz help….

        1. If your taskbar is not visible, it means the explorer.exe is not starting up automatically at a computer startup or it might crash due to other applications.

          1) In this case, try this: start explorer.exe from task manager as shown in solution 2 given above. (Press Alt + Ctrl + Del and then click on task manager). In the task manager, click on file menu and click on ‘Start a New Task’ then type explorer.exe.

          2) To make an explorer.exe automatic start up, try the above given solution 3.

          3) To stop explorer.exe file conflicting, ‘clean boot‘ your computer and check which application is making this conflicting.

  3. I went all 4 steps – last one is precious and should be firt IMO.
    4-th one is quickest and most possible at one tme – it’s easy to click on that usless option.

    Thank You very much for that article – probably i would discover that just before leaving Win7 for ever 🙂

  4. Hey, I still don’t know what’s happening with the windows. I can’t open some of my icons cause it’s saying “not a valid Win32 application” but it’s a Win64. Please help

  5. Hi I tried solution #3 and now after restarting my computer it’s just a black screen once I go past the log in screen. Any idea why this is happening?

  6. My laptop has not yet stopped the issue…. The files I had put on my desktop are not there…. I search on the windows panel… Sometimes they show sometimes they don’t…. I arrange them on my desktop then after I turn off th system.. Everything vanishes… Even the wallpaper disappears….. The taskbar is there…. The only problem is the missing files… I have tried all the above…. None has worked… Help me please

    1. If you can see the taskbar, it means the explorer.exe is working fine. The problem is in appearing desktop icons and files. To make sure the files are there, please double check in the explorer first.

      1. Go to the explorer, and open up “C:” drive.
      2. Then open “users” folder. All the user’s folders are there.
      3. Open up user name folder. In my case, it is “users2”
      4. Open up the “desktop” folder. Please check whether your files are there or not?

      Do you see other icons on your desktop other than files you are talking about? Please provide the screenshot of your desktop, it will help us to understand the issue’s situation properly.

  7. Thanks a lot, buddy was having a bad day my laptop broke and my back up laptop was missing desktop and taskbar tried a lot of things but nothing worked, apparently came across your website and used regedit option that fixed it. You are a lifesaver!

  8. No task bar is not available I need to press ctrl +alt+del then I will get task bar
    No I can’t able to access any thing after disappearing desktop icons

        1. 1. Means, don’t you get all the icons on your desktop until reboot/logoff the computer?
          2. What happens when you run explorer.exe from task manager?

          1. Sorry for the inconvenience, we were asking you a bunch of questions to diagnose the issue.
            As we have diagnosed the issue, we have found a problem in your explorer.exe which is crashing randomly. We suggest you some steps, please follow the following steps.

            1) Clean boot your computer
            Temporarily disable all the 3rd party applications & services from your computer’s startup using “msconfig“.
            2) Boot your computer in SafeMode and observe your computer is still crashing desktop icons?
            3) Make stable your Explorer.exe using solution3 from this article.
            4) Run UnhideTool once.
            5) Check out the computer’s error logs using “Event viewer” to get the faulty file name and path. You can share its info with us for further suggestion.

            Please let us know after that.

  9. 2008 R2 sever desktop becomes blank after 15 to 20 minutes if I restart it will come but again after 20 minutes same problem I has installed antivirus also

    1. Could you please provide more info about the problem? Does the bottom taskbar still appear when your desktop becomes blank? (Is everything else working fine?) OR you have to reboot your computer to use your computer, or re-run the explorer.exe file?

      1. Everything is working fine but I can’t able to do anything if I want to go any applications also it’s not possible but applications will be working fine

        1. OK, please answer the following two more questions.
          1. Is the taskbar available on the desktop screen? What do you see on the desktop screen? please explain a little bit more.
          2. Are you able to access those applications from the start menu? after disappearing desktop icons?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *