Windows 10

Windows 10 Desktop Icons Missing

For any Windows 10 user, the desktop icons are frequently the quickest and easiest way of accessing files on a computer. Using the icons, you gain fast access to your system folders, important files, and application shortcuts. Therefore, when you find your Windows 10 icons missing, it can be quite annoying.

Why are the Windows 10 Desktop Icons Missing?

Although most Windows 10 users who have experienced this issue suggest it is a bug, it is not. In most cases, this happens as a result of the changes you made either knowingly or unknowingly. These changes may also affect your Windows 10 text size and the desktop background.

How to Fix the Desktop Icons Missing in Windows 10

There are several solutions available for fixing Windows 10 missing desktop icons. Additionally, since the root cause of this problem could be due to several reasons, it means that there are also several applicable fixes to solving the same. Therefore, you can try any of the solutions below and find out what solves your problem.

Solution 1: Turning the Desktop Icons’ Visibility On

The visibility of your desktop icons was likely turned off from the settings either knowingly or unknowingly.

Follow these steps to turn on the visibility of your desktop icons:

  1. Right-click anywhere on your desktop.
  2. From the context menu that appears, direct your cursor to View to get more options.
  3. Ensure the Show desktop icons option is marked/ticked, and if not mark/tick the option.
  4. The icons on your desktop should now be visible.

Solution 2: Reviewing the Desktop Icons’ Visibility from the Settings

Follow these steps to turn on the visibility settings of your desktop icons:

  1. Right-click anywhere on your desktop and click on Personalize from the context menu that appears. Alternatively, click on Start > Settings > Personalization.
  2. Select Themes and then click on Desktop icon settings under Related Settings.
  3. Choose the kind of desktop icons you want displayed, and then click on Apply then Ok for the changes to take place.
  4. Check and see if the desktop icons are now visible.

Note: Under Settings > Personalization, you can also change the desktop background.

Solutions 3: Check and Disable/Turn Off the Tablet Mode on your Windows 10

If your Windows 10 device is a touch screen, then it may have different screen modes. Tablet mode and desktop mode. When in Tablet mode, the desktop icons on your Windows 10 may not be visible. In this case, you should try to disable or turn off this mode and see if the missing desktop icons will re-appear.

Follow these steps to disable/turn off Tablet mode:

  1. To open Settings on your Windows 10, navigate to Start > Settings.
  2. Click on System. From the left panel of the window that opens, select Tablet mode.
  3. Slide the Tablet mode toggle switch off. Also, ensure the option to Make Windows more touch-friendly using your device as a tablet is turned off. Likewise, change the Tablet mode to When I sign in use desktop mode, and Always ask me before switching.
  4. Lastly, restart your computer and check if the issue has been resolved.

Solution 4: Run SFC (System File Checker)

Windows 10 comes with a tool for repairing corrupt system files known as SFC (System File Checker). Using this tool, you can scan and fix corrupt system files.

Follow these steps to run SFC:

  1. Launch the Run utility by pressing the Windows + R keys on your keyboard.
  2. Launch the Command Prompt as Administrator by typing cmd in the Run utility box and then press Ctrl + Shift + Enter keys on your keyboard.
  3. Click on Yes if prompted to allow changes to be made by the Command Prompt.
  4. When the Command Prompt window appears, type in sfc /scan now and press Enter.
  5. The SFC scan will begin. Give it some time since it may take a while.
  6. Upon completion, restart your computer and see if the issue has been resolved.

Solution 5: Rebuild your Icon Cache Using the Command Prompt 

Using the Command Prompt feature, you can easily restore your Windows 10 settings. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Launch the Run utility by pressing the Windows + R keys on your keyboard.
  2. Launch the Command Prompt as Administrator by typing cmd in the Run utility box and then press Ctrl + Shift + Enter keys on your keyboard.
  3. Click on Yes if prompted to allow changes to be made by the Command Prompt.
  4. When the Command Prompt window appears, input these command scripts, pressing Enter on your keyboard key in-between each new command script:

taskkill /F /IM explorer.exe

cd /d %userprofile%\AppData\Local

attrib –h IconCache.db

del IconCache.db

start explorer.exe

  • Upon completion, restart your computer and check if the issue has been resolved.

Solution 6: Update Windows 10 to the Latest Release

Updating your Windows 10 to the latest release could help restore and solve several system issues. Follow these steps to update your computer:

  1. Navigate to Settings by pressing Windows + I keys on your keyboard. Alternatively, click on the Start menu and select Settings.
  2. From the open Settings window, click on Update & security.
  3. Click on Check for updates.
  4. If there is an available update, download and install it/them.
  5. Restart your computer and check if the issue has been resolved.
Solution 7: Resetting Windows 10

To reset your Windows 10, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to Settings by pressing Windows + I keys on your keyboard. Alternatively, click on the Start menu and select Settings.
  2. From the open Settings window, click on Update & security and select the Recovery option.
  3. Under Reset this PC, click on Get started.
  4. From the pop-up window that appears, select Keep my files and proceed with the Windows re-installation.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions when prompted to reset your computer.
Solution 8: Restore your Computer to an Earlier State

Follow these steps to proceed with System Restore:

  1. To go to the Windows recovery environment, navigate to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Restart now.
  2. Next, click on Troubleshoot > Advanced options > System Restore.
  3. Click on your computer account and enter the password. Select a restore point to return your computer to a previous state before experiencing the missing icons issue.

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