General discussion

Win7 desktop shortcut icons keep disappearing

I have a new Dell StudioXPS 9000 with Windows 7. The desktop shortcut icons that I create myself to run existing programs keep disappearing from the desktop all by themselves. Those that were already on the desktop when I received the computer and those that are created by new software when installed on the computer have no problem remaining on the desktop. I never had the happen with WinXP. Am I doing something wrong?

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Thank you Tara for your attempt to help me with my problem. It is appreciated however I can assure you that the shortcut icons that keep disappearing from my desktop were created exactly the way Microsoft has instructed. They remain on the desktop for I'm think about a week. This is with the computer being turned off each night and back on in the AM. Then one morning they are just gone. This has happened 3 times now with the same shortcut icons. As I stated, it does not occur with icons on the desktop when I received the computer or those created while installing a new program.

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Windows 7 "Disappearing" Icons

I also have this problem. I've noticed that when sometimes when the disk keeper/scanner service kicks off a scan, within moments, my icons disappear. Or, when I unlock my computer after I've been away for a while. Or when I'm sitting at my desk working - poof, they're gone. I've got a Gateway E6500 PC running Windows 7 on a domain and I'm logging on as a domain administrative account. I have created a batch file that backs up my icons every day so that I can easily get them back. I thought it was just the shortcuts to network resources that would disappear but that's not the case. And it's not the same icons that disappear every time. And not all of them disappear. It's definitely a frustration and I will be extremely glad when someone figures out what the heck is going on!

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From the Windows 7 forum

If you create desktop shortcuts to removable storage places such as NAS the icons will disappear from time to time because Windows 7 has a built in task schedule to clean up broken and unused links.

To prevent the task from running you need to disable the task in the task schedular: start-programs-accessories-system tools-task scheduler
Expand the tree in the left hand pane until you get to Task Scheduler Library-Microsoft-Windows-Diagnosis.
In the right hand pane, right click the task named Scheduled and click Disable.

The relevant word in this is UNUSED so a shortcut that has not been used in the past 7 days get cleaned up.

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I have icons that I've used in the last 7 minutes disappear. I don't know if we have some weird domain policy but I'm the only one in the test group here at work that is experiencing the problem...

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Well, I still thank those who have tried to help but as spatterson65 has said, the icons will disappear even if they have been recently used. The problem still persists with me and these same icons have disappeared twice more since I first posted, looking for help. With me it is always the same icons and only icons that I have created and placed on the desktop myself. I will continue to watch for someone to come up with a solid answer to the problem.

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Windows 7 disappearing icons AND programs

In a month fooling around with a new HP Professional Pavilion I have learned that the problem of disappearing icons and programs is an inherent Windows' fault carried over from Vista. Google "disappearing icons and programs" to learn the extent of the problem. After a complete restore by Staples, from whom I bought the computer, a two-hour conversation with an HP tech support gentleman, who, from his accent, I gathered lived in the Philippines, and who did a second complete restore, the problem persists. And why would Microsoft rush in the fix it? It sells anyhow. Only if HP, Dell, Acer, and their cohorts, refuse to handle a defective product will the user get the quality he pays for.


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What happens if you make them read-only?

Whatever process deletes them, that would make it more difficult. Still, it's a strange story.


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You seem to be severely effected by this so you are the best test case, I can't make it happen for me.
Do you have a large number of icons and installed applications on you system, significantly more than the other members of your group for instance. The reason I ask is that I came across this suggestion on another forum,
1. Run "regedit"
2. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer
3. Change "Max Cached Icons" to 10000 or more. Upper and Lowercase SENSITIVE!
4. If it doesn't exist create it as new "string"
5. Reboot
After that

1. Go to "C:\Users\[Username]\AppData\Local"
2. Delete IconCache.db
3. Reboot again

It needs someone who is suffering repeatedly to see the effect of this.

The key MaxCachedIcons does not exist in my registry in win 7 but it does in win xp and it has a value of over 8000 but then I have a lot of installed applications on xp and so far very few on win 7.
Might be worth a try.

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Disappearuing icons and programs.

I have have perhaps a dozen icons on the desktop. I must have read the same article you quote; but it doesn't work for me. When the solitaire icon AND program disappear, I know I have a problem. Worst are the grand kids' Zoo Tycoon 2 games. I install them. Two days later. half are gone. This never happened in XP


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Disappearing Icons

It could be worse. I have 20 Dell Precision M4500 that I have built from a cloned original. I replaced one user's computer Thursday and moved all of her desktop icons (shortcuts, folders and files) to her desktop. Yesterday she minimized the program she was working in and most of her icons were gone. Losing shortcuts would be bad but losing a bunch of files is completely unacceptable. Any song and dance about not being used in three months, or seven days, or because of some off the wall program is hooey. The computer hadn't been running for seven days, clean build, 19 other identical computers and only this one has the problem so far.

Fortunately I had the old PC so I could copy the files to a safe location.

I make sure the users know that anything on their desktop may randomly disappear and that they need to break the habit of saving anything to their desktop. Apparently MS believes that it is not an appropriate storage location.

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Icons and Programs

I've seen desktop shortcuts and now entire programs disappear now. I'm glad that this PC is not my workhorse.

My personal solution is called OS X.

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Disappearing icons

I have the same problem. Never had it before using this version of windows.

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To Peacox

Thank you very much. I just got Windows 7 at work and everything goes to a back-up drive. Last week I lost most of my shortcuts every night. The IT people said I had a virus and would try to figure out what to do, which is usually nothing! I'll disable this task Monday morning, redo my shortcuts, and let them know you're smarter than them. Lynn

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What Virus?

Ask them the name of the virus ... (I doubt if it's a virus) ... This smells of a huge bug.

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Unused icons?

The statement about unused icons is bogus. I created shortcuts and use them frequently and stupid windows deletes them for no reason and never even asks if I want to do it. What if these were saved documents on my desktop Microsoft? I don't see these icons in my recycle bin so your just deleting them permanantly and that's just not right. Microsoft why did you reinvent the wheel from XP on this. It used to be very simple to find the little box to turn off for the stupid desktop clean up wizzard that NOBODY likes. Yet now you do it automatically and hide it in a place that 95% of the people who use windows will never find. Please fix this in an update so you have to opt in not opt out of this supid process...

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Not so.

If you read that post correctly you would have seen it was in reply to a different poster who explained a 'different' problem, related to logging on to a domain.

The post you are replying to offered advice about that particular problem.

Your problem seems different.


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This may actually have worked

Every Sunday my Windows 7 desktop's shortcut icons would disappear even if they were used a day earlier. (I sort of got around it by putting them in a folder so I could easily put them back on the desktop.) I have now disabled the Task Scheduler, and I changed the time on my computer to see if disabling the Windows-Diagnosis Scheduled Tasks would leave the icons on my desktop. They're still there. THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

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Windows 7 Shortcuts disappearing

Same issue. I have created the shortcuts as noted by MS. They will stay on my desktop for 3-5 days and then one day just vanish. Have had my IT folks look at it to no avail. Very frustrating.

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W7 Icons disappearing

It's clear from all these posts that this is a common problem for Windows 7 and there is no ready solution. I have the same problems, icons disappearing that I just created a day before, something that never happened with XP, and it has nothing to do with how long they have been there or how many icons are on the system. This is just one more example of Micorosoft having a weak attention to detail, and an I-could-care-less attitude toward their customers. This is clearly a flaw in the system, and should be fixed with a patch, but you see nothing from them about it.

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They never disappear with me.

It's clearly a flaw in YOUR system.
And I don't even make them read-only. Do you?

I trust Windows 7 so much, that I didn't even include the desktop folder in my profile (nor in the 'Public' profile) in my regular backup. Come to think of it, I'd better do that. Do you?
Thanks for the tip!

By the way, I only store shortcuts on the desktop. No files and folders. Do you? My son does, but he doesn't lose anything either.


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RE: They never disappear with me

As we are having the issue at my place of business and it is affecting approximately one-third of the personnel I've spoken with, it is clear that it is not across the board, but it is certainly not an isolated issue, especially given the history of remarks on this site. Considering the frequency of such occurrences, there should be some way to prevent it from happening. I'm glad that you do not experience such issues, but those of us that do are still at a loss as to how to avoid these headaches.

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Stange thinking.

While you do have the issue, you are in a business setting so this is something you give to your IT staff to solve. But I find some businesses have tried to go without competent staff or an IT staffer that can't use a machine without a mouse.

Given what I'm seeing I think those businesses operate on a wish and a prayer.

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RE: Strange Thinking

I understand what you're saying, however, our IT is exactly the kind that would likely be unable to use a machine without a mouse. My department has long lamented the incapability of our IT staff, so we are still hopelessly lost. In many cases, we are more capable of solving our problems than our IT staff, and that is truly sad given that I am nowhere close to being computer savvy. We don't even operate on a wish or a prayer - we gave up such hope with our IT department ages ago. :-\

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So this staff can't write login scripts?

While I will note "Desktop Cleanup" and why most folk should turn that off, this IT staff should be able to write login scipts to do that and push shortcuts onto the desktops.

Otherwise, why are they employed?

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Login Scripts

As to the question regarding login scripts, I really can't say but they've never mentioned it. As to why they are employed, that is a very good question - all I can say is that if I had my druthers, they wouldn't be. Happy

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Just in case. A link about.
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Login Scripts

Thank you so much, Bob! :-D


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Thought I was Crazy

Well I just set up my new XPS9000 on Sunday and transfered my XP files and settings(including some desktop icons) over with an Easy Transfer Cable,and reloaded all my programs.I then made new shortcut Icons for my most used programs (as per Windows instructions),been doing it for years, and last night I had noticed a few were gone.
So here I am, and it seems no one really has a clue as to why this happens.At least I'm reassured it's not my new computer or me.DOH

Yet another perplexing riddle Microsoft has served us!

I wonder if using Auto Arrange will lock them permanently?
Maybe Windows doesnt like our arrangenents and is trying to tell us something.:-0

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Thanks for chiming in "the farmerguy"...

...and welcome to our little club. It's still happening to me on an irregular basis and still no clue to a fix. I have reinstalled the shortcut icons I created twice so far this week. I have not tried auto arrange as I don't like the short cuts appearing that way...worth a try though I guess.

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