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desktop icons missing

by kismtkid / February 28, 2004 3:04 PM PST

My neice was using my computer, and did something to misplace? my desktop icons. HELP!!!!

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Re:desktop icons missing = Write more.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 28, 2004 9:28 PM PST
In reply to: desktop icons missing

There is a NODESKTOP registry entry that will clear off the desktop, but your post is very light on words so it could be that some were just deleted. Tell more.


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Re:desktop icons missing
by Danboy / March 1, 2004 11:50 AM PST
In reply to: desktop icons missing


Use system restore, just go back to one day, whwn you lost em


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I've got same problem.
by OrangeCountyCa / January 29, 2008 1:53 AM PST
In reply to: desktop icons missing

I'll add more info. Ninety %+ of my icons disappeared. All the start menu icons but one, the taskbar right now seems OK, one might be missing , lower right all but 2 missing should be at least 5. I have no back button. The forward button is colorless. All the others are missing - stop, refresh etc. The search and favoriates words are there, no button outline.

If you put the curser on the area the drop down explanation appears and the function remains OK.

Just no icons.

I tried "restore" and they returned.

I restarted all was fine.

I went into hibernation and came out of it with no icons.

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Hibernation on Windows ME was twitchy.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 29, 2008 1:59 AM PST
In reply to: I've got same problem.

You may be repeating what others learned about it. Which was... resources deplete during this and the icons need them to show. There was no fix offered for this one.

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Windows updates doing it?
by OrangeCountyCa / February 22, 2008 11:14 PM PST
In reply to: I've got same problem.

More than not I've found Windows updates to be a problem.

I cured my icon problem by System Restore in the Start then Help manu. I picked a date before the problem started and went back further if that didn't cure it.

Now I never download Windows updates. And I won't as long as my computer is functioning normally.

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desktop icons missing
by arnash / February 22, 2008 4:06 PM PST
In reply to: desktop icons missing

While trying to do a lot of organizing/improving on an old Windows 98 SE Gateway 2000 (32 MB RAM) it suddenly had a desktop devoid of icons/shortcuts and no right-click function. after exhausting all conceivable remedies, I finally tried to fix it buy finally installing Windows ME. All went perfectly, but when the desktop came up after reboot, the icons were still missing! I still have the taskbar and set a toolbar to display the desktop so I can still access its shortcuts. I haven't restarted in days but I have come across the same problem in the XP forum and maybe the tips I found there will help. Here they are:

desktop icons missing
Try the "Remove Restrictions Tool (RRT)" which you can download
for Free at the link below. That problem you're having is usually the result of a virus/malware infection. I'd make sure that you update your virus definitions as well as any anti spyware updates and run full scans.

Remove Restrictions Tool (RRT)


I had a computer to repair with the same symptoms. Finally discovered that some how the shell entry got hosed from the registery. It was blank. Typed the entry back in and that restored everything. Explorer is used to create the shell (desktop, icon, taskbar & etc.) To check if this is the problem use the task manager to run regedit and go to this key

NT>CurrentVersion>Winlogon and in the right pane will be an entry named Shell. It's value should be Explorer.exe.

If it works for me, I try to report it.

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desktop icons missing
by arnash / February 23, 2008 2:05 PM PST
In reply to: desktop icons missing

I found the solution to restore the desktop icons. I didn't try any of the suggestions mentioned previously except to change the value described in the Registry to "Explorer.exe" which did nothing that I've observed so far.
Rather, I ran the free prgm called Fresh Diagnosis from (which also offers another great free utility called Fresh UI). It reveals a million and one things about your computer, beyond anything you'd imagine, and it revealed that in the System Policies the Desktop items were the only thing set to "Hide". It didn't give the location so I ran regedit and began to search. I found it here: HKEY_Users/.Default/Software/Microsoft/Windows/Explorer/Advanced On the right side one of the listings is "HideIcons = 1" I changed it to the normal default value of 0. I think I restarted my computer and presto, all the icons and web-photos returned.
Hope this helps anyone with the same problem.

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Invisible icons and registry edit
by Sputerkar / February 27, 2008 11:38 AM PST
In reply to: desktop icons missing


I hope you have scanned for spyware and malware cause it sounds like something (not someone) changed the value in your registry.

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lost your desktop icons?
by barspinboy / April 21, 2008 5:02 PM PDT

since you were the owner or the administrator of your pc, you know all the installed applications/softwares on your pc.
the first you need to know what are the softwares you installed? second, where did you installed it(i think its on drive c:)? when you were done w/ this 2 simple steps, browse every applications/softwares you installed on the place where you installed them, then when you already saw your first target application/software try to look for the .exe file of that particular application/software and right clicking it create a shortcut and then drag the created shortcut on the desktop and then boom you made your first desktop icon recovery w/o the hassle of system restore or installing again.....

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Thanks Arnash - This solution worked for me
by tsharrigan / January 26, 2009 11:55 PM PST
In reply to: desktop icons missing

Had the same problem. XP Home desktop icons were missing but taskbar worked fine. Did not try the Fresh Diagnosis program. Just used the registry change to fix the problem. The correct registry location is:

Advanced. In the right pane I looked for the DWORD value "HideIcons". Double clicked the "HideIcons" entry and changed the value data entry to 1. Closed regedit and rebooted the pc. All desktop icons are now back and working fine.

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