Fix: desktop icons missing or disappeared in Windows 10

Desktop icons missing or disappeared in Windows 10? On this page, you'll find several solutions you can try to hopefully fix the problem on your computer.

Solution 1

The first thing you should do is to check if the desktop icons aren't disabled. To do so, right-click on the desktop > View > Show desktop icons. There should be a checkmark ✓ next to the Show desktop icons option.

How to show desktop icons in Windows 10

Solution 2: Restart the Windows Explorer process

Method 1

1. Right-click on the taskbar, and then click on Task Manager.

Open Task Manager in Windows 10

2. In the Processes tab, you search for Windows Explorer.

Windows Explorer process

Note: If you don't see the Processes tab or any other tab, then click on More details located in the bottom left corner of the Task Manager window.

Task Manager More details button

3. Right-click on the Windows Explorer process, and then click on Restart.

Restart the Windows Explorer process

Method 2

1. Right-click on the taskbar, and then click on Task Manager.

Open Task Manager in Windows 10

2. In the Processes tab, you search for Windows Explorer.

Windows Explorer process

Note: If you don't see the Processes tab or any other tab, then click on More details located in the bottom left corner of the Task Manager window.

Task Manager More details button

3. Right-click on the Windows Explorer process, and then click on End task.

End the Windows Explorer process

4. Click on File located in the top left corner, and then click on Run new task.

Run new task in Task Manager

5. Type explorer.exe in the box.

6. Press the [Enter] key on your keyboard, or click on the OK button.

Start the Windows Explorer process

Solution 3: Recycle Bin, Computer, Control Panel, or Network icons

1. If the Recycle Bin, Computer, Control Panel, or Network icons are missing, and you want to show them on the desktop, then right-click on the desktop > Personalize.

Open Personalization settings in Windows 10 via desktop

2. In the left menu, you click on Themes.

Open Themes settings in Windows 10

3. On the right side, under Related Settings, you click on Desktop icon settings.

Open Desktop Icon Settings in Windows 10

A “Desktop Icon Settings” window will appear.

4. Check the checkbox next to the item you want to show on the desktop.

Show Computer, Control Panel, or Network icon on the desktop in Windows 10

5. Click on the Apply button at the bottom of the “Desktop Icon Settings” window.

6. Click on the OK button.

Solution 4: Clear icon cache

1. Open File Explorer (Windows Explorer).

Windows 10 File Explorer

2. Open the (C:) drive.

C drive

3. Open the Users folder.

Users folder

4. Open the folder with your user account name.

User folder

5. Open the AppData folder.

Note: If you don't see the AppData folder, then click on View located at the top, and check the checkbox next to Hidden items.

Show hidden items in Windows 10 File Explorer

6. Open the Local folder.

7. Delete the IconCache.db file.

Delete the IconCache.db file

8. Restart your PC.

Solution 5: System File Checker Tool

1. Open Windows Command Prompt as administrator.

Three Ways to open Windows Command Prompt as administrator:

Open Command Prompt as administrator in Windows 10

2. When the User Account Control (UAC) window appears, you click Yes.

Note: Depending on your settings, you might need to enter your administrator password first and then click Yes.

The Command Prompt window will appear.

3. Type the following command:

sfc /scannow
Run the sfc /scannow command

4. Press the [Enter] key on your keyboard.

The System File Checker tool will scan all protected system files, and replace corrupted files with a cached copy.

This process may take a while.

5. Wait for the process to finish.

Note: If the System File Checker tool is unable to fix corrupt files, then go to the following page: How to Solve the “SFC Unable to Fix Corrupt Files” Problem in Windows 10.

6. Close the Command Prompt window.

7. Restart your computer.

Hopefully, one of the solutions on this page solved your problem with missing or disappeared desktop icons in Windows 10.


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