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 

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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.

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

  1. Definitely the 4th solution

    Cat took a wild walk on keyboard. Icons gone! What’s happening?! …oh, I see. View. Show desktop icons. … It took me a week to figure that out.

    1. What about taskbar and right-click? Is task-bar appears? Are you able to do right-click on this black screen?

    1. Maybe it due to monitor cable is connected properly – So, please check the monitor cable and connect that correctly. Let us know if still face this issue.

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