# Desktop Icons disappear

### Question

• Same as described in this thread, but it has not been answered/solved.

I have the same problem. Every Monday the links/shortcuts I have created on my desktop, have disappeared and vanished completely. The shortcuts are links to files on my server (available 24/7), for example an excel-sheet for my administration.

Seems like desktop cleanup utility is running, but that is nowhere to be found/configured...
I run Windows 7 Professional.

Any help is appreciated.

- www.mybrain.nl -
Tuesday, September 22, 2009 8:53 AM

• Microsoft is not perfect, I never said they were.  In fact, I'm the first person to tell you that Windows 7 is not NEARLY defensive enough.  I write that in about every 5th post I create.

I was specifically responding to the poster who had noted that a 3rd party program was the root cause, yet called it a Microsoft bug.

On the other hand, there are those of us who have never lost an icon, and have never disabled or even noticed the "system maintenance utility".  Therefore it's not a systemic problem, but rather it's a problem that somehow has been caused or triggered  by either something installed or something (mis)configured.

By the way, how can you say a program has stood the test of time, when Windows has only been out for months?  It's not really valid to say "it worked great in Vista so therefore it will work great in Windows 7".

Lastly, this is not "garbage software", it's an incredibly good deal, and has changed the planet.  Until you have written something better yourself, calling it "garbage" just makes you sound silly.

-Noel

Noel,

If you could check this thread (the penultimate post by Daniel Martin)

you will find that this is a limitation of Windows 7. If you have more than 4 shortcuts (either broken or pointing to a shell folder or unused), System Maintenance regards them as broken and removes them from the desktop. What the users would like to have is,

1. Either a way to increase the limit (4 shortcuts)

2. Disable the desktop cleanup without disabling the other maintenance tasks.

[QUOTE]

I was specifically responding to the poster who had noted that a 3rd party program was the root cause, yet called it a Microsoft bug.

[/QUOTE]

You could also check this KB where there are two workarounds for the BUG (the workarounds are not feasible). It is a BUG acknowledged by Microsoft

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/978980?p=1

PS>

[QUOTE]

By the way, how can you say a program has stood the test of time, when Windows has only been out for months?  It's not really valid to say "it worked great in Vista so therefore it will work great in Windows 7".

[/QUOTE]

On the same note, It is also not valid to say, "Vista worked fine, So 7 should also work fine"

• Marked as answer by Wednesday, May 11, 2011 5:56 PM
Tuesday, March 23, 2010 5:43 AM
• The issue can be caused by some scheduled tasks that helps you to clear the shortcuts. Desktop Cleanup Utility is not present in Windows 7. It can be caused by some third party programs. Please specially pay attention to any system optimizing programs.

Another method is enable object auditing for the Desktop folder.

1. Click Start, enter GPedit.msc in the Start Search box.
2. Open the following branch.

Computer Configuration\Windows Settings\Security Settings\Local Policies\Audit Security

3. Enable the following policies:

Audit account logon events
Audit object access

4. Open Windows Explorer, open the folder C:\Users\[username].
5. Right click the folder “Desktop”, choose Properties->Security. Click the Advanced button.
6. Click the Auditing tab. Click Continue.
8. Click the button Find Now.
9. Wait for the process finishes. Then from the users list add the following users.

ANONYMOUS LOGON
BATCH
CREATOR OWNER
Everyone
Guests
LOCAL SERVICE
NETWORK
NETWORK SERVICE
SERVICE
SYSTEM

10. After selecting each user, choose “Delete” and “Delete subfolders and files” as the auditing entries.

If you would like to check which account was trying to remove items in the folder, please open Event Viewer, check the Windows Logs\Security Log for detail information.

Since the issue occurs on every Monday, I suggest you enable this policy on Sunday evening. Otherwise there will be plenty of events. When you find that the shortcuts are vanished, please disable auditing at once and check Event Log.

Arthur Xie - MSFT
Wednesday, September 23, 2009 8:51 AM

### All replies

• The issue can be caused by some scheduled tasks that helps you to clear the shortcuts. Desktop Cleanup Utility is not present in Windows 7. It can be caused by some third party programs. Please specially pay attention to any system optimizing programs.

Another method is enable object auditing for the Desktop folder.

1. Click Start, enter GPedit.msc in the Start Search box.
2. Open the following branch.

Computer Configuration\Windows Settings\Security Settings\Local Policies\Audit Security

3. Enable the following policies:

Audit account logon events
Audit object access

4. Open Windows Explorer, open the folder C:\Users\[username].
5. Right click the folder “Desktop”, choose Properties->Security. Click the Advanced button.
6. Click the Auditing tab. Click Continue.
8. Click the button Find Now.
9. Wait for the process finishes. Then from the users list add the following users.

ANONYMOUS LOGON
BATCH
CREATOR OWNER
Everyone
Guests
LOCAL SERVICE
NETWORK
NETWORK SERVICE
SERVICE
SYSTEM

10. After selecting each user, choose “Delete” and “Delete subfolders and files” as the auditing entries.

If you would like to check which account was trying to remove items in the folder, please open Event Viewer, check the Windows Logs\Security Log for detail information.

Since the issue occurs on every Monday, I suggest you enable this policy on Sunday evening. Otherwise there will be plenty of events. When you find that the shortcuts are vanished, please disable auditing at once and check Event Log.

Arthur Xie - MSFT
Wednesday, September 23, 2009 8:51 AM
• What is the purpose of enabling object auditing? My Win7 RTM deletes shortcuts to external drives (Floppy, CD/DVD, external HD) and Control Panel shortcuts in random intervals. Deletes them even if the links have system attributes but I found it would not delete them if they have system+hidden attributes by the way.

I am the only user, there is only one Administrator account with all other user accounts actually deleted and removed from my Win7 machine. I have no password requirements. I do not log off. Just turn the machine off every night and I reimage it frequently. I use no system optimizing programs.

I offer to share details about installed progs, etc. with anyone who has this problem to see what we have in common. This thing is driving me crazy deleting my desktop links w/o permission.

Thursday, September 24, 2009 6:16 AM
• What is the purpose of enabling object auditing? My Win7 RTM deletes shortcuts to external drives (Floppy, CD/DVD, external HD) and Control Panel shortcuts in random intervals. Deletes them even if the links have system attributes but I found it would not delete them if they have system+hidden attributes by the way.

I am the only user, there is only one Administrator account with all other user accounts actually deleted and removed from my Win7 machine. I have no password requirements. I do not log off. Just turn the machine off every night and I reimage it frequently. I use no system optimizing programs.

I offer to share details about installed progs, etc. with anyone who has this problem to see what we have in common. This thing is driving me crazy deleting my desktop links w/o permission.

You may be able to find out which program wants to do such task.
Arthur Xie - MSFT
Thursday, September 24, 2009 9:15 AM
• I've enabled auditing, so now it's wait and see....

(I'm not sure if it's actually every Monday, or Mondays only... It just happened last Monday and has happened about three times before. I've been running this Windows 7 installation since August 18.)

I do not have any cleanup utilities installed and was surprised to see 33 scheduled tasks in the task-manager, most of which Windows 7 cleanup tasks... maybe one of those is the culprit.

Question for c627627 : Which virusscanner do you have installed? I run AVG myself. Do you have any other utilities running?
Thanks so far,

Marko

- http://www.mybrain.nl/ -
Thursday, September 24, 2009 9:40 AM
• I use Avira Antivir, good question, now we know it's not that. I'll go to Programs and Features to see what's listed which looks suspect: CClaner, Comodo Firewall, I don't really see anything else suspicious... I believe we'll see a flood of reports on this next month when Windows 7 gets officially released.
Thursday, September 24, 2009 2:56 PM
• YES, YES, YES!
Never so happy that something is going wrong...

It just happened again... I had my machine started this Sunday-morning, walked away, came back and it had gone to standby.
Resumed Windows and icons were gone!
So immediately started event viewer with a premade view to filter out all file delete's and there it was... a whole list of all my shortcuts being deleted. Example event below, but the bad process is: C:\Windows\System32\sdiagnhost.exe.

So questions to Microsoft:
- WHY?
- What does this 'service' do?
- What does that code in access-reason mean?
-  And what to do about it???

This is going to annoy a lot of people if not fixed before October (and has already among MSDN and other users...).

For more info: it happened when my machine was still running (at 11:48) and went to sleep/standby at 11:53; I resumed minutes later at 11:57.
Thanks,

Marko

---

- <Event xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/win/2004/08/events/event">
- <System>
<Provider Name="Microsoft-Windows-Security-Auditing" Guid="{54849625-5478-4994-A5BA-3E3B0328C30D}" />
<EventID>4656</EventID>
<Version>1</Version>
<Level>0</Level>
<Opcode>0</Opcode>
<Keywords>0x8020000000000000</Keywords>
<TimeCreated SystemTime="2009-09-27T09:48:38.904491400Z" />
<EventRecordID>166694</EventRecordID>
<Correlation />
<Channel>Security</Channel>
<Computer>D430</Computer>
<Security />
</System>
- <EventData>
<Data Name="SubjectUserSid">S-1-5-21-2912445106-491301105-188030158-1001</Data>
<Data Name="SubjectDomainName">D430</Data>
<Data Name="SubjectLogonId">0x2116c</Data>
<Data Name="ObjectServer">Security</Data>
<Data Name="ObjectType">File</Data>
<Data Name="ObjectName">C:\Users\Marko\Desktop\My Brain 2009.lnk</Data>
<Data Name="HandleId">0x4ac</Data>
<Data Name="TransactionId">{00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000}</Data>
<Data Name="AccessList">%%1537 %%4423</Data>
<Data Name="AccessReason">%%1537: %%1801 D:(A;;FA;;;BA) %%4423: %%1801 D:(A;;FA;;;BA)</Data>
<Data Name="PrivilegeList">-</Data>
<Data Name="RestrictedSidCount">0</Data>
<Data Name="ProcessId">0x1100</Data>
<Data Name="ProcessName">C:\Windows\System32\sdiagnhost.exe</Data>
</EventData>
</Event>

- http://www.mybrain.nl/ -
Sunday, September 27, 2009 10:13 AM
• Most likely it came from a scheduled task:

a task called "Scheduled"... which I disabled for the time being.

The description:
"The Windows Scheduled Maintenance Task performs periodic maintenance of the computer system by fixing problems automatically or reporting them through the Action Center."

Runs Sunday 1AM, or after that time when the computer is idle for 10 minutes and not on battery power.
It's the only task that ran at the time of file-deletion.

It deleted shortcuts to documents and left the program/batch/folder/URL-links intact.

---

- http://www.mybrain.nl/ -
Sunday, September 27, 2009 10:58 AM
• Yes! I found it too!! Screenshot: http://www.ocforums.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=77002

I left a DVD inside my CD/DVD drive and this time it didn't delete the shortcut to it but deleted all other links to non-internal hard drives, so it was paying attention to activity/presence of a DVD inside...

Windows 7 Start Menu > Control Panel > System and Security > Administrative Tools > Task Scheduler >

(upper left corner) Task Scheduler (Local) > Task Scheduler Library > Microsoft > Windows > Diagnosis >

(right pane)
Name: Scheduled
Location: \Microsoft\Windows\Diagnosis

Right click on Scheduled > Disabled.

Sunday, September 27, 2009 4:22 PM
• From the description we could find that the task will automatically fix the issues that are reported by Action Center. If you open Control Panel\Action Center you will find which diagnostic considers the shortcuts are issues. Maybe we can adjust settings to change the behavior and fix the issue without disabling the task.

Arthur Xie - MSFT
Monday, September 28, 2009 9:44 AM

• What I read from the description: Apparently it does not report it to Action Center, but 'fixes' it automatically...

Made a screen shot; but doesn't tell me much:
http://www.mybrain.mobi/images/actioncenter.jpg

Call me if it helps resolving this problem faster.

- http://www.mybrain.nl/ -
Monday, September 28, 2009 10:23 AM
• I still don't see this problem as resolved...

Questions still open for Microsoft:
- What does this 'service' do?
- Which diagnostic causes this?
- What does that code in access-reason mean?
-  And what to do about it???

This is a bug that needs fixing; please update us if this has been passed on to development?
If not, where should I report these kinds of issues?

- http://www.mybrain.nl/ -
Friday, October 02, 2009 6:50 AM
• Well, disabling resolves the problem, it just doesn't explain it ;).

But excellent question, where can *legitimate* bugs be reported? I have a couple reproducible ones myself.
Sunday, October 04, 2009 2:23 AM
• I have discovered this is part of the Troubleshooting feature in Windows 7 that you can run on demand.  Be warned the following procedure may remove your unused (older than 3 months) or broken shortcuts.

If you open Control Panel > Troubleshooting > Run Maintenance Tasks then in the System Maintenance windows click "Advanced" and uncheck "Apply repairs automatically" then hit Next you will be asked to "Try troubleshooting as an administrator".  Click to allow and let the scan finish.  When it's done scanning click "View detailed Information" in the bottom of the window.  You will now see each issue this maintenance checks for including "Broken shortcuts" and "Unused desktop icons".

I think there needs to be an option to disable or fine-tune which maintenance tasks will run.  I want to run the other maintenance tasks like normal but I think shortcuts need to be an option at the very least.
Sunday, October 11, 2009 2:49 PM
• Thank you Malediction,
This is another step closer to the solution. Now it's up to Microsoft to solve!

I tried what you suggested and made sure I did have a working network connection. The Maintenance Tasks removed the icons anyway even tough the targets were all present. I my case they were all shortcuts to files/folders on my local network Also made another screenshot: http://www.mybrain.mobi/images/icons.png

Hope for a solution soon. This is still a bug.

- http://www.mybrain.nl/ -
Sunday, October 11, 2009 7:09 PM
• Dear Arthur,

Please read all my replies. My questions have not been answered and this bug has not been solved yet.
Thank you,

Marko Hoven
- http://www.mybrain.nl/ -
Tuesday, October 13, 2009 6:58 AM
• Marko, I think we've established that modifying is not possible, only disabling is.

So resolution in that sense is only possible in a future Service Pack, if not a patch. My concern is that this report would not reach who it's supposed to, so that it's included in any future Service Packs... unless a ticket number is opened with Microsoft Support (?)
Tuesday, October 13, 2009 7:50 PM
• I've had the same annoying problem since the RC, and now still on Home Premium RTM.  It usually deletes all my icons that either no longer (or not currently) point to any valid targets.  I have some old shortcuts I want to keep there while I slowly rebuild the system, but as was mentioned it also happily trashes icons for drives that are temporarily unavailable.

I've gotten into the habit of backing up my shortcuts, and replacing them (+ restoring their desktop positions with a custom program) but it's a pain and I was really hoping this was fixed in RTM.  This definitely needs a patch, at the very least icons deletions should need to be _confirmed_ by the user, and they also need to be backed up somewhere in case the user changes their mind (as I believe was done in the previous Cleanup feature).

With me it usually trashes them when coming out of Sleep, but it seems totally random.
Friday, October 23, 2009 9:39 PM
• The task runs at 1am on Sundays (or whenever the PC is next started after that time) but it also waits until the PC has been idle for 10 minutes before it runs - hence why it so often seems to happen 'randomly' after people resume their PC from sleep mode. It's not random, it actually happens whenever the next bootup occurs after 1am/Sunday, and also after 10 minutes of idle time. Disabling it in the Task Scheduler (see previous posts) should stop it happening.

If you want to check it manually on your machine (and see what else this tool does, which isn't much useful apart from maybe checking for disk volume errors) then do the following:

1) Control Panel > (System and Security) Find and Fix Problems > (System and Security) Run Maintenance Tasks.
2) Click on the 'Advanced' link and untick "Apply repairs automatically", then click on Next to start the scan. (You may also wish to select the Administrator mode in that Advanced section, to check other stuff the automated process is looking for)
3) When the scan is finished, click on 'View Detailed Information' to see what it would do to your system if you let it (click on Broken Shortcuts for a list of things it plans to remove).
4) Obviously Cancel at the end rather than running the delete option!

On my machine, all desktop shortcuts to any network shared locations and/or mapped drives are removed (not only when the link cannot be accessed, even currently active shared folder or mapped drive shortcuts vanish). This is quite clearly a bug in the Windows process - which is \Windows\System32\sdiagnhost.exe by the way - but I don't know who to report it to. Any thoughts anyone?

Andre
Wednesday, November 18, 2009 11:17 AM
• I am having this same problem.
I have done everything suggested in this thread. Mine seems to happen A LOT, mainly when the computer goes idle. The background screen comes up when I move the mouse, but all of the desktop icons and the start menu do not show up. Even if I Ctrl + Alt + Del the task manager will not come up.

Is anyone still having this issue even after disabling this task?

Much appreciated!

-L
Tuesday, November 24, 2009 3:41 PM
• a2B - can't beleive when I read your post - It was complete deja vu! I have also had this exact same problem since rc.
btw, did not notice this in beta ... Hmm.
Still wainting for MS to acknowledge and / or resolve issue.
Tuesday, December 08, 2009 2:25 AM
• First, Right Click on your Desktop, choose View, and make sure Show Desktop icons is checked.
Perhaps that got turned off somehow.

When I read this thread I went looking to see if I have the Microsoft\Windows\Diagnosis task scheduled.  I do, and it last ran this past Sunday morning at 1:00 am.  Now, what I *don't* see is my desktop icons disappearing.  They're right where I want them to be and right where I left them!  So apparently the loss of desktop icons isn't a given.

So why doesn't my system remove so called "unused" desktop icons?  I vaguely recall unchecking something that will affect that somewhere...  But to find it...  Searching...

Here are all my settings I've found that are even vaguely pertinent...

• I have checked the "Always show all icons and notifications on the taskbar" setting, in the Control Panel -> All Control Panel Items -> Notification Area Icons.

• I have unchecked "Allow themes to change desktop icons" in Control Panel -> All Control Panel Items -> Personalization -> Desktop Icon Settings.

-Noel
Tuesday, December 08, 2009 5:18 AM
• Well we are having the same problem.  I've had 30+ users (out of 125 W7 deployments) complaining about this problem (otherwise they are very happy with w7).  I guess we can work around this problem disabling the diagnosis task but that's not really a bugfix ;).

I just pitty the average home computeruser when faced with this problem.

Hope this can be solved ;)
• Edited by Friday, January 29, 2010 4:08 PM
Monday, December 21, 2009 7:29 AM
• Holy Cow!!!!!   I just prepped a bunch of Win7 Pro Laptops, had shortcuts to network shares (quite a few), removed from network (left laptop on)  - next morning - BAM  Gone.    This is clearly a MAJOR PITA auto task event MS should NOT have done.   What the heck were they thinking!!!   Do they think we are connected all the time?  I am going to try to restore from last night...

I disabled the task - not sure what else is happening with the Diagnosis task - but this should be allowed to be altered and tweaked.  I am heading to Group Policy to look for it as well so I do not have to deal with this in the future.

Come on MS - who did this?
Wednesday, January 06, 2010 4:17 PM
• Thanks for this tips.

I have same problem too with shortcuts pointing to networkfiles and directorys on mapped networkstations like "U:"
After looking more into this I found a litle workaround for this problem.
When I deleted my shortcuts and made new ones with UNC-path (eks: \\server\share\dir\file.xls), the "Broken shortcuts" disappeared in information after running "Maintenance tasks".

I have other problems too with mapped networkstation to a driveletter, some programs will not instal...
Almost same workaround her ;)

Hope Microsoft can fix this ASAP!
Sunday, January 24, 2010 4:01 PM
• Hi guys,

I found the cause of the misteriously disappearing Windows 7 desktop icons and the reason why Show desktop icons now and then gets unchecked.

It’s INFRARECORDER !! Try for yourselves, when you start Infrarecorder and close it again, go have a look at “Show desktop icons”, it is unchecked (but the icons are still there). Check it on again and start Infrarecorder…. it is unchecked again.

This Windows 7 “bug” is irritating me since the beginning and now I found the cause: It’s Infrarecorder which is causing this problem.

Sunday, February 21, 2010 1:08 PM
• Hi guys,

I found the cause of the misteriously disappearing Windows 7 desktop icons and the reason why Show desktop icons now and then gets unchecked.

Nogeffedan; That is not the problem we were describing....

BTW: Microsoft.... anyone there? someone awake enough to fix our annoying bug?
- http://www.mybrain.nl/ -
Sunday, February 21, 2010 2:05 PM
• Some program on your system messes up your icons and you ask Microsoft to fix their system? Would it make more sense to try to fix the app or use a different one?

What is it you're trying to do with this freeware product? Perhaps the OS can do the job, or maybe someone can offer a suggestion for an alternative.

-Noel
Sunday, February 21, 2010 3:45 PM
• Some program on your system messes up your icons and you ask Microsoft to fix their system? Would it make more sense to try to fix the app or use a different one?

What is it you're trying to do with this freeware product? Perhaps the OS can do the job, or maybe someone can offer a suggestion for an alternative.

-Noel

NOEL!,

Are you paying attention here.. I had to sign up for this live garbage just to tell you to wake up. Are you reading the posts here. This is a Microsoft O/S problem. I have the retail, bought in the store, paid way too much for version of Win7 Pro and I am very upset about these disappearing icons. The only programs I use are tried and tested and have stood the test of time (which means they do NOT do things on my machine without my consent!).

The other posts here have been quite helpful, as this has just happened to me Sunday morning after the machine went idol for a while. I checked this asinine system maintenance utility and sure enough it wants to delete the icons I had to just recover from it wiping them. At least now I know what this is and can prevent it from running.

System maintenance is a microsoft program, I never set it up, configured it, or even want it to run for that matter. This needs to be addressed IMMEDIATELY. We already pay WAY too much for this garbage software and now it has glaring and unforgivable problems like this? This happened to me last week and I checked the forums here and all kinds of people are complaining. I cannot believe this hasn't been addressed yet. Shame on you micrsoft.

Accept the truth Noel, Microsoft is not perfect (or even as good as they used to be) and they are at fault. I will even give you proof. Make a shortcut icon on your desktop of your network adaptor straight from your network connections folder. Run system maintenance and view the info about which shortcuts it wants to delete. Guess what will be in there. If you need instructions on running the system maintenance utility then read the above posts. This is not the only icon that disappears, 7 of them vanished from my desktop this morning.

Rone

Monday, March 22, 2010 12:26 AM
• Microsoft is not perfect, I never said they were.  In fact, I'm the first person to tell you that Windows 7 is not NEARLY defensive enough.  I write that in about every 5th post I create.

I was specifically responding to the poster who had noted that a 3rd party program was the root cause, yet called it a Microsoft bug.

On the other hand, there are those of us who have never lost an icon, and have never disabled or even noticed the "system maintenance utility".  Therefore it's not a systemic problem, but rather it's a problem that somehow has been caused or triggered by either something installed or something (mis)configured.

By the way, how can you say a program has stood the test of time, when Windows has only been out for months?  It's not really valid to say "it worked great in Vista so therefore it will work great in Windows 7".

Lastly, this is not "garbage software", it's an incredibly good deal, and has changed the planet.  Until you have written something better yourself, calling it "garbage" just makes you sound silly.

-Noel

Monday, March 22, 2010 12:57 AM
• Microsoft is not perfect, I never said they were.  In fact, I'm the first person to tell you that Windows 7 is not NEARLY defensive enough.  I write that in about every 5th post I create.

I was specifically responding to the poster who had noted that a 3rd party program was the root cause, yet called it a Microsoft bug.

On the other hand, there are those of us who have never lost an icon, and have never disabled or even noticed the "system maintenance utility".  Therefore it's not a systemic problem, but rather it's a problem that somehow has been caused or triggered  by either something installed or something (mis)configured.

By the way, how can you say a program has stood the test of time, when Windows has only been out for months?  It's not really valid to say "it worked great in Vista so therefore it will work great in Windows 7".

Lastly, this is not "garbage software", it's an incredibly good deal, and has changed the planet.  Until you have written something better yourself, calling it "garbage" just makes you sound silly.

-Noel

Noel,

If you could check this thread (the penultimate post by Daniel Martin)

you will find that this is a limitation of Windows 7. If you have more than 4 shortcuts (either broken or pointing to a shell folder or unused), System Maintenance regards them as broken and removes them from the desktop. What the users would like to have is,

1. Either a way to increase the limit (4 shortcuts)

2. Disable the desktop cleanup without disabling the other maintenance tasks.

[QUOTE]

I was specifically responding to the poster who had noted that a 3rd party program was the root cause, yet called it a Microsoft bug.

[/QUOTE]

You could also check this KB where there are two workarounds for the BUG (the workarounds are not feasible). It is a BUG acknowledged by Microsoft

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/978980?p=1

PS>

[QUOTE]

By the way, how can you say a program has stood the test of time, when Windows has only been out for months?  It's not really valid to say "it worked great in Vista so therefore it will work great in Windows 7".

[/QUOTE]

On the same note, It is also not valid to say, "Vista worked fine, So 7 should also work fine"

• Marked as answer by Wednesday, May 11, 2011 5:56 PM
Tuesday, March 23, 2010 5:43 AM
• Okay so an excess of broken shortcuts can cause it.  I stand educated - thank you.  It turns out that I have never found the need to have even one broken shortcut (or one pointing to a non-file) on my desktop.

If you have such a shortcut, there is a bit of a roundabout way, and I'm pretty sure you'll end up with a shortcut that works and not have it deleted by the System Maintenance tool...  I've just tested that such a shortcut actually works.

Move the shortcuts to non-files to a folder somewhere safe, e.g., a subfolder in your My Documents area.  Now create shortcuts on your desktop to those shortcuts, each of which has a target like this:

explorer "path\to\shortcut\ShortCutName.lnk"

There's an even more direct method for shares that may be offline:  Just prefix the UNC name with explorer:

explorer \\Computer\Sharename

This workaround also has the possible potential to result in better behavior by Explorer, in that it checks links on occasion, and has been reported to stall or not update its windows when such links are broken.

-Noel

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 11:42 AM
• HI Noel,

Thank you for picking this up.
I must say is is not BROKEN shortcuts... it will delete ALL shortcuts pointing to files that reside on my network/server. The files exist, the drives are there, the server is available; And besides all that, there is no reason for Windows to touch my own shortcuts at all!

Just leave them alone and remove this nasty procedure from the cleanup/maintenance tasks.

Thank you,

Marko Hoven

- http://www.mybrain.nl/ -
Tuesday, March 23, 2010 12:26 PM
• Shortcuts incompatible with broken software, then.  :)

I agree with you, I surely don't want some kind of automated maintenance task chomping my desktop shortcuts.

Try what I suggest above as a workaround.  It's likely why I've never seen the problem.

-Noel

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 2:24 PM
• Still having the same problem.  Any word on a fix?

Running Windows 7 Professional 64-bit on a Dell Precision T3400

Monday, April 05, 2010 5:36 PM
• I have gone into the Task Scheduler>Microsoft>Windows>Diagnostics and disabled this task. It's a scheduled task that removes the icons. This worked for me.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010 6:47 PM
• That seems a bit extreme...  Do you know all of the features of the task that you have disabled?

The description reads, "The Windows Scheduled Maintenance Task performs periodic maintenance of the computer system by fixing problems automatically or reporting them through the Action Center."  That wording implies more than just icon cleanup.

However, there's a marked lack of documentation on this.  It's not clear whether the output you'd see in the Maintenance section of the Action Center is directly connected to this task, for example.  Worse yet, the Action of the Task Scheduler in this case is just listed as "Custom Handler" and its contents are not visible.

If you disable the whole Scheduled Maintenance Task:

- Do you lose the notification of fixes for crashes or bugs?
- Do you lose the ongoing check that the security software is starting properly?
- Does something that Windows needs not get cleaned up?

I really hate this opacity, where Microsoft thinks they know better than we do what should be running on our computers.

-Noel

Tuesday, April 06, 2010 7:08 PM
• Noel,
I agree it is a bit extreme and I hate disabling any default task. It’s the only solution I could find that worked.  I have had my system running this way for five months and I don’t see any other issues caused by disabling this task. I wish they did a better job explaining what periodic maintenance of the computer is.  I still received notifications for fixes and don’t have any issues with the security software starting.

In my case the icons that disappeared were network shares. The issue happens on laptops that are not connected to network making the share shortcuts look like they are broken links. I assume the task running checked the shortcuts and deletes them when they look to be invalid.  This only happens to users that happen to have their system up and running off the network over the weekend when the task runs.
Let’s hope this is corrected soon. I hate dealing with missing shortcut issues first thing Monday morning.
Elery
Wednesday, April 07, 2010 1:44 PM
• Thread mentioned something cleaning up icons older than 3 months, but my computer is only a couple weeks old and I created these desktop shortcuts just a few days ago. I am not running any utility that I did not run on XP or Vista, but my shortcuts did dissapear. Definitely something wierd going on in Win 7 and microsoft doesn't seem to know what it is or why. Very annoying to organize things like you want and then they magically go away.
Monday, May 10, 2010 1:11 AM
• By the way, my desktop shortcuts were not 'broken'. I think Windows7 may be 'broken'.
Monday, May 10, 2010 2:10 AM
• More info here. I created shortcuts on my desktop to some microsoft supplied programs which exist on my C drive in Microsoft folders (solitare, spider solitare, freecell,...). These shortcuts are not to any third party software, are not on any network share, the targets are always there and are not 'broken'. I created some with a simple copy/paste, some with 'paste shortcut'. In all cases, they could dissapear in anything from a few hours to a few weeks. This has happened repeatedly and has happened ever since the first day with my new gateway computer with MS windows7 proffessional. Hopefully, people will stop saying that windows is cleaning up 'broken' shortcuts. There is nothing broken about them other than they just randomly dissapear.  I have still not seen any fix from Microsoft or any official comments on this problem. I have finally given up and will start informing people not to go to Win7 because there are bugs which MS refuses to acknowledge or fix.

Sunday, June 13, 2010 11:11 PM
• In my case, the folder shortcuts to the server are the ones that dissapear. They are not "dead links" in any way. This is extremely aggrivating, as we obviously keep all our important data on the server, and only give users shortcuts to access them on their computer. Losing them every week is a major pain. I can't go around every week and re-add all the shortcuts they repeatadly lose.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010 12:41 PM
• What baffles me is why this isn't fixed yet??

If it affected most people, then we would have seen an update long ago. So we must be in the minority - something about our systems, our shortcuts and/or our network share configurations must be triggering this somehow.

For me, I had a bunch of desktop icons that I copied from my XP installation (which is installed on D:), some of which were no longer pointing to anything valid.  But like others found, it didn't just kill those (and I don't want them automatically killed anyway as I was going to fix them up later).  The OS should _never_ automatically kill anything - it can ASK, it should never just delete.

I also have an external network share, a couple of external E-SATA drives, and a few internal ones.

(of course I haven't seen the problem for a long time as I disabled the maintenance schedule).

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 3:13 PM
• Hi All.

I'm late coming into this discussion. But I think it is falacy to insist that it it 3rd party SW causing the problem.

For the 5th time since installing W7 in Mark 2010, the icon to "My Computer" has disappeared. That is certainly not to a 'broken' link. Heaps of other links have disappeared including "Control Panel". Again not a link to a remote system.

From my hmble observation it seems that the clean up process looks at a "last opened" timestamp on the shortcut & decides that it hasn't been used in nnn days so it must no longer be on interest. Hence it gets deleted.

I've today re-linked a set of desktop shortcuts and copied them to a folder under My Documents. Shall see how that goes.

I've been a champion of MS products since 1981 (yes AT-1 & DOS-1). For we technically able this problem is a regular annoyance. Image those less enabled who have to interrupt their work day to get a tech around just to re-enable desktop shortcuts. That would not be winning any PR points for MS.

Regards, PSt.

Sunday, November 07, 2010 11:32 PM
• SOLVED ON MY MACHINE!

Here's something to try.  I think your computer thinks it has two monitors and only one woke up or they did not wake up at the same time.  What is happenbing is that all your icons are off to the left but you can't reach them.  I discovered this when I pressed the "home" button on my keyboard that normally brings up my internet homepage (it is on most keyboards a little picture of a house in the upper right or left).  I saw a small movement on the left of my screen -- which had been completely blank except for the wallpaper and unresponsive up to that moment -- and realized it was the very right hand edge of my home page.  I was able to drag it to the right so I could see it.  I thus realized my computer was up and running but all the icons, taskbars etc were shifted left, off to an imaginary screen on the left.

Next time you are rebooted and running, go to your display control center (you may be able to get it by right clicking on the desktop).  If you see two monitors shown as running and you only have one monitor, this is probably why you are having the problem.  Make the changes and apply so that you only have one monitor recognized by your computer.

I think my computer believed I had two because my monitor came with two cables (a VGA and some other type).  I hooked them both up, so the computer sees two output lines and doesn't know they go the same screen.  The problem has occurred with a number of gateway computers from looking at the verious discussion sites and forums; I know the Gateway comes with two cables and doesn't tell you which one is the right one for your screen, so a lot of people may be connecting both cables to the same screen.

See if this works.

Saturday, December 04, 2010 7:19 PM
• The icons have started disappearing on my ASUS laptop - I didn't update to WIN 7, it was pre-installed.  I've had the laptop about a month, and it was ok until the last week or so.  I've not installed anything out of the ordinary - AVG, Warcraft, Tweetdeck, and OpenOffice, all of which were installed before the problem started (except for perhaps an AVG virus definition file update).  I did notice that although "show desktop icons" is enabled, a quick disable and re-enable brings the icons back up.  But after rebooting, they disappear again.  I also noticed that at startup, the icons appear quickly, but as soon as something still loading finishes it's process, they disappear.  Makes me miss the old XP system tray, where you could see the active program icons appear one-by-one.

I'm going to try turning on auditing, and I'll post what happens.

Helen

• Edited by Friday, December 17, 2010 3:48 PM bad grammar
Friday, December 17, 2010 3:46 PM
• Is there anyone for whom this did not work:
Yes! I found it too!! Screenshot: http://www.ocforums.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=77002

Windows 7 Start Menu > Control Panel > System and Security > Administrative Tools > Task Scheduler >

(upper left corner) Task Scheduler (Local) > Task Scheduler Library > Microsoft > Windows > Diagnosis >

(right pane)
Name: Scheduled
Location: \Microsoft\Windows\Diagnosis

Right click on Scheduled > Disabled.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011 4:21 AM
• Wow!

One year later.... I just reinstalled my laptop and BOOM! Same problem again... still not fixed through a Microsoft update.... Anyway: for everyone else out there. This is the solution!

*****

take ownership of this file:

C:\ Windows\ Diagnostics\ Scheduled\ Maintenance\ TS_BrokenShortcuts.ps1

and replace the 4 in line 44 (-gt 4) with a higher value.

*****

- http://www.mybrain.nl/ -
Wednesday, May 11, 2011 6:01 PM
• This is the real solution!

*****

take ownership of this file:

C:\ Windows\ Diagnostics\ Scheduled\ Maintenance\ TS_BrokenShortcuts.ps1

and replace the 4 in line 44 (-gt 4) with a higher value.

*****

- http://www.mybrain.nl/ -
Wednesday, May 11, 2011 6:02 PM
• Great find, but...  Please fix?  It's now pretty clear that they made it do this on purpose!

The real glitch is why the system should think a shortcut to a server that's online is a "Broken Shortcut" though...

-Noel

Thursday, May 12, 2011 12:05 AM
• Great find, but...  Please fix?  It's now pretty clear that they made it do this on purpose!

And it's now pretty clear that they need to make it not do this on purpose.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011 7:00 PM
• So what you're saying is that you'd prefer they made the desktop cleanup feature optional or directly configurable.  I have to agree; that would be nice.

But what regular folks want doesn't ever seem to get to the Microsoft people making the decisions.  Maybe they figure for each of us asking for something to be changed or made configurable, there would be 1000 non-technical users who'd get in trouble if they actually did change it or add a configuration dialog for it.

Now that you know why it happens and how it works, courtesy of the above posts, hou could just reconfigure it yourself, via the suggested alteration on line 44 of TS_BrokenShortcuts.ps1.  It's not an easy GUI configuration dialog, but hey, any port in a storm.

-Noel

Tuesday, July 19, 2011 9:06 PM
• Helen,

Did you ever solve your problem with the disappearing icons?  I am having the exact same issue with my ASUS computer--the icons disappear even though the "display icons on desktop" is checked.  I uncheck it and recheck it and the icons return, but soon enough they disappear again.  So frustrating, and this thread doesn't seem to be addressing our issue.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011 3:36 AM
• Unfortunately, I haven't.  Lately, it's also accompanied by my task bar being set to disappear (which I did not do), and my wallpaper reverting to the ASUS default.  Personally I suspect it's one of the ASUS pre-installed utilities, like Spendid.  I just found this site - http://forum.notebookreview.com/asus/ - so I was going to start reading through those forums too.  Otherwise, I love my g60vx rbbx05.

Please post if you come across anything.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011 3:43 PM
• Wednesday, August 17, 2011 4:13 PM
• Has anyone considered this....

I have one user of 4 who is losing her shortcut icons. She is the only one with remote desktop access, and so, in her user login through active directory, she has limits on her login times.

As it so happens, 1AM Sunday her machine is logged out (aka, she has no network access from 10PM to 5AM).....so....

If her login has no network access during the time this scheduled task runs, it would see all of her shortcuts to network shares as "broken" and then delete them. I have changed her access to 24/7 from Sunday in to Monday to test this theory. Now I play the waiting game until then, but just something else to consider.

Logically, it makes sense to me and these computers really only do what we tell them to do...my machine runs win7 and has never deleted an icon...so there has to be some outside influence causing the problem. The only difference between her login and mine is that I'm a sysadmin with 24/7 access and she's a local user with limited remote access. So that's where I'm starting my CSI investigation into the missing icons.

• Proposed as answer by Monday, October 31, 2011 3:15 PM
Monday, October 31, 2011 3:14 PM
• Granger,

You've probably got it just about right.  But rather than change user access, why not just tweak the number in the power shell script listed above?

-Noel

Monday, October 31, 2011 5:17 PM
• This is the real solution!

*****

take ownership of this file:

C:\ Windows\ Diagnostics\ Scheduled\ Maintenance\ TS_BrokenShortcuts.ps1

and replace the 4 in line 44 (-gt 4) with a higher value.

*****

- http://www.mybrain.nl/ -
I would take it a big step forward and just comment out the brokendesktop checking altogether.

So, instead of changing the value, just place a # infront of lines 44-47 and 49. That way the script will always report no links to fix. Should look like this afterward (elipses has replaced erroneous code for easy reading):

# if(-not([String]::IsNullOrEmpty($brokenDesktopShortcuts) .............. -gt 4)) #{ # Update-DiagRootCause -id "RC_BrokenShortcuts" -Detected$true ............
#} else {
Update-DiagRootCause -id "RC_BrokenShortcuts" -Detected $false ............ #} That should fix the "bug" by disabling the feature entirely while still allowing the other maintenance in the scheduled task to run. • Edited by Tuesday, November 01, 2011 7:28 PM Boy is this site a pain to use. • Proposed as answer by Tuesday, November 01, 2011 7:30 PM Tuesday, November 01, 2011 7:22 PM • You're absolutely sure the else clause doesn't need to run? Seems to me we want it to actively change RC_BrokenShortcuts to$false and your change would not have it do so.  That's the reason for the more conservative suggestion to just change the number to something very large.

-Noel

Wednesday, November 02, 2011 1:02 PM
• As mentioned a number of times, this problem is due to a scheduled task that runs weekly.

I have taken a slightly different approach that seems to work.

If you wish to have shortcuts on your desktop that point to a location on the network and they are disappearing,

1) Create a folder on your desktop called "Shortcuts"

2) Place the shortcuts you want to have available in the Shortcuts folder.

Another solution that could be as effective would be to create the folder elsewhere and create a shortcut to it that is placed on the desktop.

I hope this helps.

http://www.wncden.com/blog/index.php/2010/05/02/weeds-in-our-computers?blog=6

Thursday, December 15, 2011 5:01 PM
• What baffles me is why this isn't fixed yet??

From everything I can see, it's still exactly the same in the Windows 8 Developer Preview as well...

If this concerns you, please go add your opinion to this thread.  Microsoft may choose to make changes before Windows 8 is released.

-Noel

Thursday, December 15, 2011 6:21 PM
• I've been following this discussion in a few threads, and I'd just like to throw this in...this problem is easy to re-create and does *not* only apply to broken shortcuts!

I can copy a dozen links to my desktop to various network resources located on mapped drives. I can even have the network folders open that the shortcuts point to (so obviously not broke). I then immediately manually run the scheduled task located in the Task Scheduler Library at Microsoft->Windows_>Diagnosis. The shortcuts all disappear because they are supposedly "broken", even though I may have them open and active!

What is also interesting to note, is that if I edit any of the shortcuts to use the UNC path of the resource as the target, rather than the mapped drive letter, that those shortcuts using the UNC will not be bonked. It has something to do with Windows believing those shortcuts using a mapped drive letter are disconnected, even though they're clearly not.

At first I thought my users reporting this were crazy, or that there was some third party software responsible, but this appears to me to most definitely be a bug in the way Windows is evaluating what is "broken"!

Thursday, December 29, 2011 6:56 PM
• FWIW - If anybody comes across this thread and wants a way to solve this across an entire domain, I've overcome this problem domain-wide using group policy by creating a GPO (Computer Configuration\Policies\Windows\Settings\Security Settings\File System) that gives Authenticated Users modify access to %SystemRoot%\diagnostics\scheduled\Maintenance\TS_BrokenShortcuts.ps1. I then copied the file, placed it in a share accessible by Authenticated Users, commented the entire thing out, and set a Preference (User Configuration\Preferences\Windows Settings\Files) that replaces the existing TS_BrokenShortcuts.ps1 with the commented out copy.

Now when I fire off the scheduled task my network shortcuts to resources on mapped drives remain intact, with no discernible trouble caused in the event logs.

Cheers,

Mike

• Proposed as answer by Friday, December 30, 2011 6:26 PM
Friday, December 30, 2011 6:25 PM
• Try

Broken shortcuts are deleted from the desktop in Windows 7 http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2642357

Thanks, Digvijay Nath
Monday, January 30, 2012 1:16 AM
• Try

Broken shortcuts are deleted from the desktop in Windows 7 http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2642357

Thanks, Digvijay Nath
Thanks Digvijay, I've installed the Hotfix, added the needed registry entries, re-enabled the Maintenance task and manually ran it - all my icons have survived, so it looks good. This fix is also scheduled for inclusion in SP2. ... of course it's not really a 'fix', it just enables power-users to disable the deletion behaviour via registry keys. I think MS should have changed the strategy altogether as it's far too aggressive.
• Edited by Wednesday, February 01, 2012 11:19 AM
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 11:17 AM
• This certainly seems to be vexing many people - I suggest a way to avoid the problem:

Don't use the desktop! - Likewise keep your own Documents, Music, Photos etc. where Windows cannot muck with them at all - in Folders you create yourself!

Since the first time I lost files due to a re-install of ye olde Win95, I have always created a Folder "Private" or "Personal" preferably on a second Drive, but certainly away from ANY folder system that Windows sets up for me.

As Applications create Desktop Links, I move them into a Folder which I created: "C:\DT\Apps" which is further broken up into "C:\DT\Apps\Internet", "C:\DT\Apps\System", "C:\DT\Apps\Games" etc., Documents can be stashed in "C:\DT\Documents", Downloads into "C:\DT\Downloads" and so on. (DT is just my mnemonic for DeskTop)

To provide easy access to this lot, right-click on the TaskBar, select "Toolbars > New toolbar... > Select the C:\DT Folder". OK and you'll get a nice little "DT" entry with chevrons, down near the notification area. Click on those chevrons,  and you'll get a cascading list, similar to the W7 Jump-lists, easy to use and available even when you have a big spreadsheet covering most of your screen real estate!

A Link or Shortcut to "C:\DT\Documents" can be placed in the "My Documents" Folder just to make access easier from those silly programmes which insist on using that Folder as a default starting-place.

A side effect of this is that backups are simple - C:\DT\* holds all your data and there is only the one path to backup. (Of course, if you use "\Private" or "\Personal" for Documents etc., & "\DT" for pseudo Desktop, you'll need to consider that in your backups.)

Network and Internet Links, Shortcuts unused for months, all seem to be 100% safe because they are NOT within the Windows System structure, and are therefore immune to the windows cleanups.

Your mileage may vary, but I have used this tactic since W95 days, and it hasn't let me down yet.

MY Computer, MY Data, MY Links, where I put them! - NOT a cure, but a simple way to avoid the rough road!

Sunday, March 04, 2012 2:26 PM
• This had me puzzled for a while.

I found a work around / solution here:

Network Shortcuts Disappear - Windows 7 Fix

I hope it helps.

• Proposed as answer by Monday, June 11, 2012 2:50 PM
Monday, June 11, 2012 2:49 PM
• This has been fixed by a Microsoft "Fix It" tool or a simple Registry modification if you are comfortable getting in there & adding a couple new values. Here's the KB article info:

## Broken shortcuts are deleted from the desktop in Windows 7http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2642357

• Proposed as answer by Friday, June 29, 2012 7:42 PM
Friday, June 29, 2012 7:36 PM
• hi, please see if this solution works for you:

There is an issue with an application called InfraRecorder, this is a CD\DVD recording software. When you install this software the Windows option to Show Desktop Icons is unselected. To Fix this just turn that option back on. To turn the option back on , do this:

1. Right click the desktop

2. Select View -> Show Desktop Icon

3. Make sure the option is checked.

I hope this helps.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012 1:00 AM
• This is my contribution to this discussion.  It involves editing the file:

"C:\Windows\diagnostics\scheduled\Maintenance\RS_RemoveShortcuts.ps1"

to this:

PARAM($brokenDesktopShortcuts,$brokenStartupShortcuts)

. .\CL_Utility.ps1

Import-LocalizedData -BindingVariable localizationString -FileName CL_LocalizationData

Write-DiagProgress -activity $localizationString.DeleteBrokenDesktopShortcuts_progress #This is to coerce the script into recognizing Microsoft fix kb2642357$a = Get-ItemProperty -path "hklm:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\ScheduledDiagnostics" | select IsBrokenShortcutsTSEnabled
#Only remove shortcuts if this registry entry doesn't exist or is not zero
if (($a.IsBrokenShortcutsTSEnabled -eq$null) -or ($a.IsBrokenShortcutsTSEnabled -ne 0)) { Remove-FileList$brokenDesktopShortcuts
}

Write-DiagProgress -activity $localizationString.DeleteBrokenStartupShortcuts_progress Remove-FileList$brokenStartupShortcuts

I had to resort to this because even the Microsoft kb2642357 didn't work for me.

• Edited by Tuesday, September 18, 2012 9:14 PM formatting
Tuesday, September 18, 2012 9:12 PM
• The automated fixit tool from MS kb2642357 was broken almost immediately by updates.  But the manual method has consistently worked for me with Win7-32 bit versions.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 6:55 PM
• Not working for me too.

This hotfix is a crap. Not working, the problem still live.

Friday, November 23, 2012 11:11 AM
• Prevention - is the best cure!

Sunday, October 20, 2013 8:53 PM
• Try to do a sfc /scannow from command prompt and then "show desktop icons" from the properties by right clicking your desktop. source: Desktop Icons Missing
Friday, July 04, 2014 11:15 AM
• We have exactly the same and here it seems the following problem. System Maintenance Task is running while the Workstation is sleeping in Energy Safe Mode. Maped Network drives are disconnected.
So the Maintenance Task finds the Icons pointing to those drives not working and deletes them.

We'll ccheck that out. And will disable Sleeping Mode.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 9:33 AM