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Vista desktop icons missing

    Question

  • I have a laptop with Vista.  All of the icons on the desktop are missing.  I can see only the desktop wallpaper.  In the task bar I have the desktop icon with the double arrows.  If I click on the double arrows all the desktop icons that I expect to see are there.  None show up on the desktop though.
    Wednesday, August 12, 2009 3:03 PM

All replies

  • This problem can be caused by ‘malware’ but check this registry key before running your ‘anti‘ programs. Firstly, start Explorer via Task Manager by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc then on the Applications Tab click ‘New Task’ at the bottom, type explorer.exe and press Enter. If it doesn’t start, you are almost certainly infected.

    Now check the registry key by going to the Windows Orb (Start), type regedit, press Enter and in the left pane navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon. In the right pane, make sure there is a REG_SZ named Shell and it has a value of "explorer.exe" (no quotation marks). If it’s not there, create it by clicking Edit > New > String Value then right-click it and type explorer.exe then restart the computer.

    • Proposed as answer by sysprobs Tuesday, November 03, 2009 1:11 PM
    Wednesday, August 12, 2009 6:07 PM
  • This may be because of profile problem also. try this method to correct the profile and load it correctly.
    http://www.sysprobs.com/windows-vista-desktop-icons-missing
    Tuesday, November 03, 2009 1:13 PM
  • BurrWalnut

    Half my desktop icons are missing, searched out the above, everything is fine in that area.  Any other ideas?

    Wednesday, February 08, 2012 9:52 PM
  • BurrWalnut

    Half my desktop icons are missing, searched out the above, everything is fine in that area.  Any other ideas?

     

    Pizeta

    Have you had a recent infection?

    If so, it could have been one of the current crop of bogus antimalware infections that has hidden the files. Check if you have a folder named %Temp%\smtmp. If so, go to this website and either copy the missing Desktop folder or run UnHide, here http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic405109.html


    Thursday, February 09, 2012 8:22 AM
  • If all your ICONs have diappeared in Vista and all you see is your wall paper and sidebar, try this:  Right-click anywhere on the desktop.  When the menu appears, click VIEW and slide the mouse arrow over and down to, ...here it comes, SHOW DESKTOP ICONS!   That is, if, when you go there, there is NOT a check mark by it already.  If it is already check marked, then something else might wrong. 

    Ed

    • Proposed as answer by zoonami Wednesday, June 13, 2012 7:21 PM
    Tuesday, May 29, 2012 5:33 AM
  • I tried all the above without any success, except that Right clicking desktop > View > Show Desktop Icons, this brought them back if i toggled it on and off but upon restart they were missing again. Actually upon every restart they breifly appear for about half a second before they disappear. Which made me suspect a Service or Startup program. Well for me it was a Service called ASLDR. Disable Service and all is good. I am working on a older gentlemans laptop that i know was not infected cause laptop had not been connected to the interenet since being purchased. It is a Asus laptop and the ASLDR Service according to my google search showed it as a Asus Service.

    So solutions for me again was: Start > msconfig > Services (tab) > (locate & untick) ASLDR > OK > Restart.

    Thursday, September 19, 2013 10:54 PM
  • My mother's computer had this problem today. Telephonically, I tried everything above Ed's solution and nothing. Ed's solution ROCKED!!!  I see that Stirech had a similar solution, but Ed's solution worked first time and was SO much easier than walking my mother through regedit from 800 miles away.

    Thanks Ed!!!!!!!!

    Tuesday, November 12, 2013 5:30 PM
  • If all your ICONs have diappeared in Vista and all you see is your wall paper and sidebar, try this:  Right-click anywhere on the desktop.  When the menu appears, click VIEW and slide the mouse arrow over and down to, ...here it comes, SHOW DESKTOP ICONS!   That is, if, when you go there, there is NOT a check mark by it already.  If it is already check marked, then something else might wrong. 

    Ed

    THANK YOU. I've been searching the web and kept finding people talking about malware and complicated changes to user profiles.

    That one simple trick fixed my problem. I have no idea how that got unchecked, and since I have never used that feature in 20+years of computer use, it never occurred to me to look at it as the source of my problem.

    I appreciate finding the simple, "first thing to check" answer. It is rare. Most people want you to rewrite your operating system from scratch as their first solution.

    I know this is 2 years later, but you are my hero.

    Wednesday, January 07, 2015 6:12 AM
  • Glad the post is still available.  Show Desktop Icons - so simple.   Was about to restore the operating system.  However, system still a little sluggish after running multiple virus/malware cleaners.

    But user has their school work. 

    Thanks!

    Wednesday, May 13, 2015 10:58 PM