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can't CLICK on desktop icons, and can't SEE them in Explorer

by manatee123yeahright / March 17, 2009 2:52 AM PDT

Hello there! My desktop has gone WEIRD!! I can't CLICK on my desktop icons, and I also can't SEE them in Windows Explorer!

However, both on the desktop (by right-clicking) and in Explorer (e.g. File... New... etc.) I am able to create NEW stuff (e.g. a blank test folder) on the desktop, click on it, move it around, open it up, and so on. But other than these new "test folders", all I can see in Explorer are the old original desktop icons that came when VISTA was first installed (e.g. icons for "Paul", "Public", "Computer", "Network", "Control Panel", "Recycle Bin", and "Internet Explorer").

A couple of facts that may or may not be relevant:

a) (red herring?) I've extended my desktop onto a second monitor; the second monitor displays an *extension* of the desktop, not simply a mirror image of what's on my laptop.

NOTE: the ENTIRE desktop (both on my laptop and on the external monitor) is having this "can't click on anything" problem.

b) (perhaps another red herring?) this problem may have been born at around the time I suggested to my son that he could probably tweak the system so that the external monitor wallpaper showed the same photo (of him playing guitar) that my notebook wallpaper was showing. He changed *something* (I don't know exactly what he did, and neither, frankly, does he) so that the external monitor now shows a screenshot of the contents of notebook monitor (wallpaper plus the icons on top). Not surprisingly, I can't click on these "wallpaper" icons on my external monitor - but of course I can click on the same icons on my notebook screen.

Anyways, I've been able to create a "BANANAS" test folder through the Explorer interface, and I have been able to create a "BANANAS2" test folder by right-clicking on the desktop... I can open them up, move them around, etc. no problem. But whatever was there BEFORE... I can't get at it!

Right now all I can think of is thank GOD none of the paths to my critical data involve going through the Desktop.

Do you have any idea what might be the problem here? I will be sooooo grateful if you can help!


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Are they actually there?

It is either a significant Explorer glitch or, more likely, a case of deleted files/folders. Try pressing Windows + R, entering cmd into the Run box, typing cd C:\Users\<your username>\Desktop (with the space) before pressing Enter, then typing dir /a (with the space) before pressing Enter again. See if the files/folders are actually listed. If not, they have indeed been deleted.


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No, I think they're not there...
by manatee123yeahright / March 17, 2009 6:09 PM PDT

Hi John - I did as you suggested, and they're NOT there! So, hopefully I can retrieve the files from my backups. I have NO idea how this happened!

Thanks for your help.

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