The Windows Club

Desktop icons not showing in Windows 11/10

While we all love to keep icons and files on the Desktop for quick access, it results in too much clutter. As Windows changed, it allowed you to hide the desktop icons, so everything looked cleaner. That said, now that Start Menu and Taskbar have evolved, putting icons on the Desktop may not make a lot of sense. Now some users have reported that the desktop icons do not show when they place them on their Windows 11 or Windows 10 desktop. If you face this issue, then this post will help you.

Desktop icons not showing in Windows 11/10

Follow these suggestions to bring the icons back on your Windows Desktop:

  1. Enable show desktop icons
  2. Check desktop icons settings
  3. Restart File Explorer
  4. Scan and fix corrupt files on windows
  5. Check Group Policy setting
  6. System restore

Some of the methods may need admin permission.

1] Enable show desktop icons

Show Desktop Icons on Windows

If Windows has set to hide the desktop icons or you have done it earlier and forgotten about it, you can enable it quickly. Right-click on an empty area on the Desktop and click on View > Show desktop icons. All hidden icons will show up instantly.

2] Check desktop icons settings:

Add Desktop icons in Windows

If you are missing some of the desktop icons such as This PC, Network, Recycle Bin, you can manually add them, appearing on the Desktop.

Go to Windows Settings (Win + I) > Personalization > Themes. Under Related settings, locate and click on Desktop icon settings. It will open another window where you can select which desktop icons can appear on the Desktop. Once you select it, click on the Apply button, and the icons appear.

3] Restart File Explorer

Restart File Explorer

If the icons were already there and suddenly disappeared, the quick fix is to restart the File Explorer. To do that, follow the steps:

  • Open Task Manager using Ctrl + Shift + Esc
  • Under the Processes tab, locate Windows Explorer
  • Right-click on it, and select Restart

Everything on the Desktop will refresh, and icons should appear right away.

4] Scan and fix corrupt files on windows

The problem can also occur in some of the corrupt system files are related to the Desktop. The right way to fix it is by using the System File Checker. The built-in tool can repair corrupt files and replace them with new ones.

  • Open Run prompt (Win + R)
  • Type wt and press Shift + Enter to launch Windows Terminal with admin permission
  • Execute the command SFC /scannow and wait for it to complete

Restart the File Explorer and check if the desktop icons are available.

5] Check Group Policy setting

Desktop icons are missing

Open the Group Policy Editor and navigate to:

User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Desktop.

Now select the Desktop folder, present in the right pane. On the right-side locate Hide and disable all items on the desktop.

Double-click on it to open its Properties box. If Enabled, this setting removes icons, shortcuts, and other default and user-defined items from the desktop, including Recycle Bin, Computer, and Network Locations.

6] System restore

The last resort is to restore the System to go back to normal. The only thing you need to be sure of is correctly picking up a restore point where everything is working as expected.

  • Open Run prompt using Win + R
  • Type rstrui.exe and then use Shift + Enter to launch with admin permission
  • Click on the Next button, select one of the available restart points, and click Next
  • Post this, follow the wizard and

These were all the solutions you need to fix the missing Desktop icons. I hope the post was helpful, and you were able to find why desktop icons were not showing in Windows.

Why am I not able to click on the Desktop Icons?

It happens when the shortcut is broken, or the file association has a problem. Follow out a detailed guide on how to fix the unclickable desktop icons. Once you fix the Desktop Icons and File Associations, it should be working again.

Why are my icons missing in the Start Menu?

Windows Start menu always had quick access to folders and settings. It is missing right from Windows 10 and has been configured such that users can choose what appears in the Start menu. Go to Settings > Personalization > Start > Folders. Here you can configure which ones should appear.

How to recover hidden icons in the System tray on Windows?

Any application can add its icon to the system tray. Sometimes you see the icons. Sometimes you don’t.  The icons usually appear when there is activity, but if you want to keep an icon visible, you can do so using the Taskbar Settings.

Go to Windows Settings > Personalization > Taskbar > Taskbar corner overflow. Toggle on the settings next to the app icon you want to appear. Now you should be able to see the icons in the System tray.

This article was originally posted on 9to5linux.com. Read here

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