I'm not entirely sure what you mean.

In XP on the desktop you will have icons for shotcuts like My Computer, My Documents, Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, (ot Outlook), Recycle Bin, then any other programs you have installed yourself or had installed by the computer supplier where a desktop icon was supplied.

These icons come ready made; eg the Internet Explorer icon is an "e" with a half circle orbiting it.

If you have any of your own files on the hard disk, you can create a shortcut to that file onto your desktop, and if you right click the shortcut, and choose Properties, in the Shortcut tab you can click "Change Icon" to change the icon.

So, what are you saying? That you don't have any icons visible? Or that the icons to certain programs or files have been changed?

It is not clear what the problem is.