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Files, icons, and wallpaper disappeared from user desktop in Win 7 Pro

    Question

  • I have a user who was reading a word document and suddenly the desktop turned black, icons, shortcuts, and files vanished.  When I go into Personalization settings and choose any theme, it still gives me the black background.  I can change the background color to anything and that appears to work, but all of the images shown in the thumbnails (such as Win 7), won't show on the desktop.  The worst part is that this user had some important files such as one of our business plans saved on the desktop.  (That's why I ask them to save to the server, but some people are stubborn.) I haven't been able to find those files at all.  I've searched online and found similar problems, such as disappearing icons, but have only been able to bring back the basics that show under my Admin login.

    If I login under Administrator, everything works fine, though.  I've done virus & malware scans with 2 different softwares and still am unable to find anything.  Anyone have an idea or perhaps another program I could try scanning with?  I used Malware Bytes and F-Secure.

    Thanks,

    J

    Tuesday, July 19, 2011 2:30 PM

Answers

  • Final update on this.

    System Restore - I tried to do a system restore back to a 7/12 version and it failed.

    Initial Cause of this problem - I found a virus in quarantine that was cleaned at about the time the user claims that the desktop went black.  The path of the virus pointed to the other user account I had thought she had.

    Solution - I went into the folder view settings in Control Panel and changed it to view all hidden files.  User's account became visible again.  Right-clicked on profile, unchecked the box next to Hidden and then everything worked when we logged back in under the user's account, including the desktop wallpaper and all folders, icons, and files reappeared.

    I hope nobody else ever has this problem, but if you do then you can try this.  Thanks to kubilayelmas for your help!

    • Marked as answer by JeanieGHF Tuesday, July 19, 2011 9:59 PM
    Tuesday, July 19, 2011 9:59 PM

All replies

  • Have you tried to browse the "Destop" folder from Windows Explorer? Can you see the icons or files over there? C:\Users\username\Desktop

    Or check this, it happened to me once with a user. On desktop, right click somewhere empty, in the contextual menu, go to "View" and make sure that the "Show Desktop Icons" option is checked. If it's unchecked than you won't see anything on the desktop.

     


    Kubilay Elmas MCITP (Enterprise Desktop Administrator Windows 7)
    Tuesday, July 19, 2011 4:24 PM
  • I just looked at it a moment ago.  If I'm logged in as that user, no files appear under the user's account.  If I'm logged in as administrator and browse to the user's folder, I see an older version of the user's account.  I could have sworn that she had another user account which was username.domain but I no longer see it.  So that makes me think that her normal account was deleted somehow.

    The Desktop icons wouldn't explain the fact that the desktop wallpaper & themes won't work, would it?

    ===============

    Also, I forgot to say that I did check the Desktop Icons setting and it is checked, so that doesn't seem to be the problem.


    Tuesday, July 19, 2011 5:19 PM
  • I think you are right, the desktop icons doesn't explain the missing desktop wallpaper and themes. But it sounds like the user profile is corrupted and for some reason it created a temporary user profile for that user. With the corrupted user profiles, troubleshooting can be very time consuming and frustrating. So my first suggestion is to log onto another machine with this user's account and see what happens? Is it still creating a temporary or corrupted profile? By the way, in your organization, do you use "roaming profiles" ?

     

     


    Kubilay Elmas MCITP (Enterprise Desktop Administrator Windows 7)
    Tuesday, July 19, 2011 7:22 PM
  • Final update on this.

    System Restore - I tried to do a system restore back to a 7/12 version and it failed.

    Initial Cause of this problem - I found a virus in quarantine that was cleaned at about the time the user claims that the desktop went black.  The path of the virus pointed to the other user account I had thought she had.

    Solution - I went into the folder view settings in Control Panel and changed it to view all hidden files.  User's account became visible again.  Right-clicked on profile, unchecked the box next to Hidden and then everything worked when we logged back in under the user's account, including the desktop wallpaper and all folders, icons, and files reappeared.

    I hope nobody else ever has this problem, but if you do then you can try this.  Thanks to kubilayelmas for your help!

    • Marked as answer by JeanieGHF Tuesday, July 19, 2011 9:59 PM
    Tuesday, July 19, 2011 9:59 PM