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. i couldnot solve the problem …i tried all the steps but nothing worked….still have the problem that only microsoft icons not show like MS word ,powerpoint or photos etc they work but not show properly on desktop and icons are hidden on taskbar…..please help ….

  2. Basant kumar mishra

    Dear sir,/Madam
    Solution 2 was helpfull for me i opend my laptop it was opening but not showing menu ,start and any kind oter icons so tried solution 2 and this was really helpfull for me thanks so much .

  3. My laptop : HCL ME Notebook
    OS : Win 7 Ultimate
    I have tried all the steps listed above but my problem is not solved.
    1.I have my program icons in desktop and when I right click on it, there is no OPEN option and I can’t open it.
    2.In the taskbar, the programs I pinned is not opening and the windows says :
    “CAN’T OPEN THIS ITEM ; It may be deleted,renamed or moved”
    Please solve my problem.

    1. If you are getting this message “CAN’T OPEN THIS ITEM”, it means the application which is associated with this shortcut is removed or renamed. This type of activity done by viruses. Maybe a possibility, the shortcut file association gone corrupted. Anyway, we are giving you some steps below, please perform them one by one and let us know.

      1. Download the .lnk file association default registry file and run it to set all default values.
      2. Download the .exe file association default registry file and run it to set all default values.
      3. Run the Unhide tool for once.
      4. Run Trojan Remover Tool

      After that report us back with the results.

  4. My Yahoo key icon is not working. I also forgot my password. I got a new number and never update my number with my yahoo account and is giving me the old phone number to verify if is me

    1. In this case, you need to touch with Yahoo support team directly, because only they can help you to recover your own account.

  5. Dear Sir/Mam,

    My icons-disappeared all network same issue maybe some virus detected so not solving my problem
    You can some help me??
    Best regards,
    Furqan Ahmed

  6. My Problem is my DT icons are showing fine, until I go to save a (file, pic) in SAVE AS and click desktop and no icons show and it does not save to my desktop???

    1. In order to resolve this problem, you just need to turn off a setting.
      Follow the following steps:
      Go to the Settings and then click on “Update and Security“, click on Windows Defender in left side tab and after that click on “Open Windows Defender Security Center
      In this new window, click on “Protection” from Virus and Threats, and then make it turn off the “Access to Controlled Folders” option.

  7. Very useful. Could successfully get back all mu Desktop icons using unhdetool.exe. Thanks a ton for releiving my anxiety.

  8. Thank u so much……solution 2 worked for me in no time
    My desktop was not working, not even the right click and my icons were missing too
    All these solutions are on the mark..go for it

  9. You have created a wonderful tool for removing adware! Thank you so very much! I wish your program had a desktop icon option at install.

  10. I fond a solution on another forum – just type “winword/r” into your start menu search box – fixed problem immediately

  11. A greatful reader

    Thank you so much! Right clicking and selecting “view desktop icons” worked for me. I’d done everything under the sun and had almost given up hope. Thanks for putting in the time to help people. It means a lot! You are awesome! : D

  12. Thank you…. This website is really helpful. You guys need to go to simple solution 4 first before dignosing with other complicated solutions. I figured out mine after second trail , by just clicking displaying desktop icons. It make my day! <3

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