How to Fix Desktop Icons are Missing on Windows 10?

by Ugnius Kiguolis - -


Issue: How to Fix Desktop Icons are Missing on Windows 10?

Windows 10 has been working fine for a couple of weeks.  However, it’s a couple of days already when I’m struggling to get the icons on my desktop back. I assume that I might have clicked something wrong, but I don’t reject the possibility that missing desktop icons is yet another Windows 10 bug. Could you please tell me what is the reason for hit deadly irritating issue and how to fix it? Many thanks!!

Solved Answer


As we have already mentioned tens of times, 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. 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. While in some of the cases missing desktop icons may be caused by virus infection, in most of the cases it happens due to incorrect settings, accidentally hidden, or the wrong mode. Although the 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. Read the rest of this post to find out how to restore missing desktop icons on Windows 10.

How to Fix Missing Desktop Icons on Windows 10?

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Method 1. Restart File Explorer

  1. Click Ctrl + Alt + Delete simultaneously to open Task Manager.
  2. Select Process tab, click on File and then select New Task (Run).
  3. Type explorer.exe in the open box and click OK.

Method 2. Clean Icon cache

  1. Open File Explorer and select Organize.
  2. Click on Folder and then select View tab.
  3. Locate Show hidden files, folders and drives option and click it.
  4. Navigate to the C:\Users\(username)\AppData\Local.
  5. In this location, you should find the file IconCache.db.
  6. Right-click on this file and select Delete.

Method 3. Check the visibility of desktop icons

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

  • Drag your mouse pointer to the empty space on the desktop and right-click on it.
  • Go to the View tab option and place a tick on Show desktop icons (in case it’s not marked). If it has already been marked, it means that there is another reason for the disappearance of desktop icons.

Method 4. Enable the visibility of desktop icons via settings

  1. Navigate to Settings and select Personalization.
  2. Click on Themes on the left side and select Desktop icon settings.
  3. Select the icons that you want to become visible, click Apply, and then OK to save the changes.

Method 5. Turn off the Tablet Mode

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. Open Settings and select System.
  2. Click on Tablet mode and turn it off. (If it’s turned on).

If, however, none of the methods listed above helped, our last recommendation would be to check the system for virus/malware. In some rare cases, serious PC infections can make desktop icons disappear. Thus, run a full system scan with Reimage and see if it finds any malicious program on your PC. If it does, remove it immediately.

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About the author

Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The problem solver

Ugnius Kiguolis is the founder and editor-in-chief of UGetFix. He is a professional security specialist and malware analyst who has been working in IT industry for over 20 years.

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