If the icons are missing on the Windows 10 desktop, the problem might be either with the icon settings or with the underlying Windows system. These problems often do not have an obvious cause, making them difficult to fix.
However, there are a few standard fixes for the desktop icon missing issue that you can try and hopefully fix the problem on your computer.
Alternatively, if you’d rather watch videos, check out our YouTube tutorial that looks at a few options. However, if none of this works, be sure to read the rest of the article as additional steps and solutions are listed here.
Make sure desktop icons are not disabled
The first and most basic thing you need to do before using any other methods is to check if the option to display desktop icons is enabled. If you or someone else has disabled this option for any reason, this is why your Windows 10 desktop icons are gone. However, you can get them all back in a couple of clicks.
- From your desktop, right-click anywhere on an empty spot and select View and then Show Desktop Icons.
- Make sure there is a check mark next to the option to indicate that the option is enabled.
Reconfigure the desktop icons settings
You also want to check your desktop icon settings and make sure the ones you want are selected and enabled. If you changed the preferences of the icons, they might disappear from the desktop.
You can go to settings and adjust the options there to fix the problem.
- Right-click anywhere on an empty spot on the desktop and select the Personalize option.
- Select the Themes option on the left side panel of your screen.
- In the right pane, you will see an option for customizing the desktop icon. Click on it to open the settings menu.
- On the next screen, you can select and deselect the icons you want to make visible on the desktop. Make your selection and click Apply and then OK.
Restart Windows Explorer
The desktop icons are part of the explorer.exe process that runs on your computer If an issue occurs in the process, it can cause issues such as missing or disappearing Windows 10 desktop icons on your Windows PC.
The good thing is that you can easily fix the problem by restarting the process on your computer.
- Press the Ctrl + Alt + Delete keys on your keyboard at the same time.
- Select Task Manager from the options available on your screen.
- Click the Processes tab if you’re not already there.
- Find the process named Windows Explorer, right-click on it and select End Task.
- Click the File menu at the top and select Run New Task.
- Type explorer.exe in the field on the screen and press Enter. It will restart Windows Explorer.
Toggle tablet mode in Windows Settings
Tablet Mode changes the way icons and other items appear on your system, and it’s worth switching it to see if it helps fix the Windows 10 desktop icons missing problem on your computer.
- Launch the Settings app. by searching for Cortana on your computer.
- Click System when the application starts.
- Select tablet mode from the left side of the screen.
- Select Use Tablet Mode from the At Login drop-down menu.
- Click the start menu, select the power icon and select Restart.
- After restarting your computer, go to settings and disable tablet mode. Then restart your computer again.
Find and repair corrupted files on your system
Damaged files are often the reason why some functions do not work on your computer. Your files can get corrupted for a variety of reasons, but you can easily fix them with the built-in tool.
Microsoft has included a command in the Windows operating system that allows you to search and fix corrupted files on your computer.
- Press Windows + R keys at the same time, type cmd and press Enter.
- Type the following command into the CMD window and press Enter.
sfc / scannow
- Wait while it finds and fixes corrupted files on your computer.
Toggle full screen option to Start menu
Since there is no obvious reason why Windows 10 desktop icons are missing, you can try enabling or disabling options related to your user interface and hopefully this will help you fix the problem.
One of the things you can do is enable full screen mode for the Windows Start menu.
- Right-click anywhere on an empty spot on your desktop and select Personalize.
- Click the Start button on the left sidebar of your screen.
- In the right pane, find the Use Full Screen option and enable it.
- Uncheck this option again and see if it fixes the problem.
Rebuild your computer’s symbol cache
Your computer uses the icon cache file to display icons on the desktop. If there is a problem with this file, the desktop icons may disappear. Fortunately, you can restore this cache file by following a few steps on your computer.
- Use the start menu to find and open File Explorer.
- Click the View tab at the top and make sure the Hidden Items option is turned on.
- Go to the next path.
- Locate the file named IconCache.db, right-click it and select Delete.
- Don’t forget to empty the trash as well.
- Restart your computer and it should create a new cache file for your icons.
Roll back to previous restore point
If the problem occurs after installing software or making changes to your computer’s configuration, you might be able to fix it by rolling back the machine to a system restore point This will revert your configurations to what they were when the icons displayed fine on your desktop.
- Open Control Panel and click “Recovery”.
- Click “Open System Restore” on the next screen.
- Click Next on the first screen.
- Select the system point to which you want to restore the machine and click Next at the bottom.
Reset your computer
Finally, if nothing else works, you can try resetting your computer to factory settings and see if that solves the problem for you. Most likely, he should fix it as he was created for this.
- Open the Settings app on your PC.
- Click Update & Security.
- Select “Recovery” from the left sidebar.
- Click Get Started under Reset This PC.
Windows 10 desktop icons can disappear for any reason, but you can always try some standard fixes to see if they help bring icons back to the desktop.
If the above guide helped you fix the problem of disappearing desktop icons on your PC, please let us know which method worked for you in the comments below so that others can benefit from it.