You’ve logged into your computer, and you’re left dumbfounded! This happens when you notice your Windows 10 desktop icons missing.
Despite being a popular OS in the world, Windows 10 continues to have minor issues like missing desktop icons.
As a user, you’d have noticed some desktop icons disappeared in Windows 10 when you logged in. Some users have also reported all of their desktop icons missing on Windows 10.
Why’s this happening? Let’s find out.
Reasons Why Windows 10 Desktop Icons Are Missing
In most cases, it can happen accidentally. You may have modified certain display settings unknowingly.
Windows 10 users are aware of the two built-in display modes – Desktop and Tablet. So, there’s a chance you’ve switched to Tablet mode, causing the Windows 10 desktop icons to disappear.
In certain cases, you notice the Windows 10 desktop icons missing when you get back to the desktop after spending hours on certain applications and programs.
Another reason could be some technical glitch between multiple display monitors plugged into your computer.
All reasons considered, there are several ways to fix this problem. Let’s have a look at each one of them.
How To Get Back Missing Desktop Icons in Windows 10?
If you are experiencing this problem, check out the solutions below. Try them out one by one, and see which one fixes your “Windows 10 desktop icons missing” problem.
1. Turn off Tablet Mode
As discussed above, switch your Windows 10 back to the Desktop mode from Tablet mode.
- Open Settings
- Select System and choose Tablet mode
- Turn it off to restore Desktop mode
If it doesn’t work, try turning it on and off a couple of times. The missing desktop icons get restored effectively.
2. Enable – Show Desktop Icons
Have you disabled the “Show Desktop icons” option? Most cases of Windows 10 desktop icons missing happen when you mistakenly disable this feature.
- Right-click on an empty area on the desktop
- Go to View and choose – Show Desktop icons
- Click on it to get a tick right next to it
Make sure this tick remains enabled. Now, you’ve restored your desktop icons back in a jiffy.
3. Sort Icons by Name
The simplest way to fix this problem works when desktop icons disappear because of unintentional rights-clicks.
- Right-click on the empty space on your desktop screen
- Go to “Sort by” and choose “Name”
You can see the desktop icons restored.
4. Create New Files or Send Files to Desktop
You can create new files to replace the missing icons of empty files. You can send existing icons back to the desktop as well.
To create a new folder,
- Go to the desktop
- Right-click on an empty space
- Choose “New” from the drop-down menu
- Select the type of folder you want to create
You can see the icons of your new files displayed on your Windows 10 desktop.
To send files to the desktop;
- Open the File Explorer window
- Navigate to the Desktop folder
- You’ll see all the disappeared icons still there
- Right-click on every icon and choose “Send to Desktop” from the drop-down menu
Your desktop icons are successfully restored on Windows 10.
5. Use Settings to Allow Display Permissions
There’s another simple way to find a fix for “Windows 10 desktop icons missing” issue.
- Go to Settings
- Go to Personalization and then click on Themes
- Select the Desktop icon settings
- A new window pops up
- Click on the checkboxes against each icon that went missing
- Click on OK and then Apply to confirm the changes
6. Restore Icon Cache
Desktop icons disappear when there’s no appropriate Cache file available for each icon.
You need to detect the IconCache files for each desktop icon. If these files are missing, rebuild the icon cache files with the following steps.
- Go to Start menu
- Search for ‘file explorer’
- Double-click on the first result, a new File Explorer window opens
- In the window, go to View and check the box for Hidden items
- Navigate through the displayed hidden files & folders or type this in the address bar – C:\Users\(User Name)\AppData\Local
- Scroll down till you see IconCache.db file
- Right-click on it and click on Delete
- Confirm by clicking on “Yes”
- Go to the Recycle Bin and permanently delete this file
Restart your computer after finishing this process.
7. Toggle Off the Full Screen
In Windows 10, you have an option to start in a full-screen desktop. It may not work out for all users. But, you can modify the option to see if it has caused the problem.
- Go to Settings
- Select Personalization and hit Start
- Toggle the “Use Start full screen” option and turn it Off
Go back to the display and see if your Windows 10 desktop icons are still missing.
8. Unplug Second Display Monitor
If the problem persists, you can finally give a try to this solution. In order to resolve the issue with this method, you need to have multiple display monitors plugged into your system in the first place.
In Windows 10, using two or more displays results in the disappearance of desktop icons.
Just unplug the other displays. Check if the main display and you’ll find your desktop icons restored back on Windows 10.