Windows 7 User Profile / Desktop Settings Randomly Disappear RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi

    A colleague and myself have installed Windows 7 on both our machines for testing purposes. He went down the upgrade route whilst I chose to reformat and install from scratch and both of us seem to be experiencing the same problem which looks to be some king of bug.

    After a random amount of time (this could be minutes/hours/days) all of a sudden with no link to any key pressing the desktop loses its icons along with the start menu which then shows no programs. If you are using Windows Live messenger all your contacts disappear and if you do happen to find a shortcut for any program, if you click it you get a message saying that no link can be found as if the program has been deleted.

    If you do a CTRL + ALT + DEL and log off then back on again or reboot, everything goes back to normal as if nothing had happened.

    Is anyone else experiencing this or found a fix?
    Tuesday, May 19, 2009 1:26 PM

All replies

  • I have experienced the same thing about three times.  I guess always from a complete reboot (normally I leave it in sleep mode), so it could be a more frequent problem for users shutting down the computer every day.
    I wanted to report the problem in Connect, but I did not succeed making a screen copy of the dialog that shows up just before you enter the empty desktop with just the recycle bin. If I remember well the box says that it is unable to localize ????.lnk or something like that.
    As in your case everything returns to normal by just restart or close session (and reopen).
    Thursday, May 21, 2009 10:20 AM
  • My guess would be that your version of Messenger is having problems with the new RC feature for Needy State. Messenger will be upgrading for 7.
    Rating posts helps other users
    Mark L. Ferguson MS-MVP
    • Marked as answer by Mark L. Ferguson Sunday, May 31, 2009 1:10 PM
    • Unmarked as answer by SITN Monday, June 1, 2009 4:01 PM
    • Marked as answer by SITN Monday, June 1, 2009 4:01 PM
    • Unmarked as answer by SITN Monday, June 1, 2009 4:02 PM
    Tuesday, May 26, 2009 2:22 PM
  • Hi Mark,

    But it is not just messenger, when the problem happens everything stops working i.e. desktop icons disappear, start menu shortcuts disappear, ie stops working, outlook says it cant find the ost and program shorcuts (if found) display as if the executable they are linked to is no longer on the hard drive.

    Tuesday, May 26, 2009 2:30 PM
  • That narrows it down to video driver problems. You should check for new ones on Windows Update, or the video or chipset device drivers maker's site.
    Rating posts helps other users
    Mark L. Ferguson MS-MVP
    Tuesday, May 26, 2009 3:19 PM
  • Ok I will try a different video driver. I just went with what Windows installed when I ran the initial windows 7 setup.
    • Proposed as answer by ZX69 Thursday, June 4, 2009 6:09 AM
    Tuesday, May 26, 2009 4:04 PM
  • Hi Mark

    How do you figure Video or Chipset Drivers will cause the desktop to revert back to default with just the recycle bin.
    SITN sorry I do not have a solution but the problem is your actual profile disappears after you log off windows 7.

    Hopefully someone does have a resolution for us?


    Wednesday, June 3, 2009 12:41 PM

  • Hi

    I have got your answer for you, if the Windows 7 Computer has been made a member of a domain and you log in with a user of that domain using this format for the username  domain\username the profile will dissapear along with files and settings in that profile.

    It seems the only time you need to actually specify the domain name when logging on to a computer that is a member of a domain is when you want to log on with a local profile or another domain that the computer is not joined to.

    Try  see if it works.


    • Proposed as answer by ZX69 Thursday, June 4, 2009 6:10 AM
    Thursday, June 4, 2009 6:10 AM
  • Hi ZX69

    Thanks for your comments but thats not quite what is happening as this doesnt occur after log off. This problem rears it's head whilst you are quite happily working away and all of a sudden things disappear.

    Also I work from home and have not actually configured my laptop as part of the domain. I just use the windows vpn to connect to the exchange server.

    Thursday, June 4, 2009 9:12 AM
  • Aero theme conflicts due to some problem in a video driver are certainly not uncommon. You are seeing either the profile problems pointed out by zx69 or there is perhaps some registry monitoring software, like an anti-virus in effect or your display is just not handing Aero. I would try a basic theme for a while to try to narrow it down.

    One good note is that video driver problems with Aero are undoubtedly being addressed by the device maker as much as possible, and Windows Update could be offering a new driver at any time.
    Rating posts helps other users
    Mark L. Ferguson MS-MVP
    Friday, June 12, 2009 1:35 PM
  • Try this: Click on the screen and press F5. We have roaming profiles with a few locally installed programs. The local icons never vanish on us, just the ones in the profile. Refreshing the screen this way provides a quick, painless recovery.
    Tuesday, June 21, 2011 5:50 PM