How to Fix Desktop Icons are Missing on Windows 10?

by Ugnius Kiguolis - -
12

Question

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

Hello, My issue is that Windows 10 has been working fine for a couple of weeks but now for a couple of days already 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

Desktop Icons are Missing on Windows 10 is one of many issues on the latest version of the operating system. When Windows 10 came out it caused a lot of disturbance due to changes and bugs.[1] Most of the OS update issues were fixed with further Windows updates released in 2018. However, this particular issue with the Start Menu creates frustration among many users[2] up until recently even.

The start menu was changed because of the user complains and requests but this error with Desktop icons missing on Windows 10 is pretty annoying and can appear due to a few different reasons. Firstly, when the users have a lot of icons on the sudden desktop change is not pleasant. 

The primary reason for this issue on the device is modified settings, Desktop and Tablet mode settings, for example. People tend to blame operating system bugs from the start too. Fortunately, due to the bug fixes in Windows, the issue when Desktop icons are missing on Windows 10 can be fixed.

How to Fix Desktop icons are missing on Windows 10 

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.

Methods to fix missing Desktop icons on Windows 10

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While in some of the cases missing desktop icons may be caused by virus infection[3], in most of the cases it happens due to incorrect settings, accidentally hidden, or the wrong mode. Although 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 but you should check the system first using PC security/repair tools like Reimage, to make sure there are no possible intruders or damage.

Restart File Explorer

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  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.

Clean Icon cache

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  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.

Check the visibility of desktop icons

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In case you have accidentally hidden 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.

Enable the visibility of desktop icons via settings

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  1. Navigate to Settings and select Personalization\\Personalize.
  2. Click on Themes on the left side and select Desktop icon settings.
    Theme method for Desktop icons are missing error fix
  3. Select the icons that you want to become visible, click Apply, and then OK to save the changes.

Turn off the Tablet Mode

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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).
    Fix for Desktop icons are missing issue

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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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