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Desktop icons not showing on Windows 11/10

Desktop icons not showing on Windows 11/10


While we all love keeping icons and files on the desktop for quick access, it makes too much of a mess. As Windows changed, it allowed for hiding icons on the desktop, so everything looked cleaner. However, now that the Start menu and taskbar have changed, placing icons on the desktop might not make a lot of sense. Now some users are reporting that desktop icons are not showing when they put them on Windows 11 or Windows 10 desktop. If you encounter this problem, then this post will help you.

Desktop icons not showing on Windows 11/10

Follow these tips to bring icons back to the Windows desktop:

  1. Enable display of icons on the desktop
  2. Check your desktop icon settings
  3. Restart File Explorer.
  4. Scan and fix corrupted files in Windows
  5. Check the Group Policy setting
  6. System Restore

Some methods may require administrator permission.

1]Enable display of icons on the desktop

If Windows has configured to hide desktop icons, or you’ve done it before and forgot about it, you can quickly turn it on. Right-click an empty area on the desktop and choose View> Show Desktop Icons. All hidden icons will appear instantly.

2]Check your desktop icon settings:

Add icons to the desktop in Windows

If you are missing some of the icons on the desktop, such as This PC, Network, Trash, you can manually add them from the desktop.

Go to Windows Settings (Win + I)> Personalization> Themes… In the Related Settings section, find and click Desktop icon settings… Another window will open where you can choose which desktop icons can be displayed on the desktop. Once you select it, click the Apply button and the icons will appear.

3]Restart the explorer.

Restart File Explorer.

If the icons were already there and suddenly disappeared, a quick fix is ​​to restart File Explorer. To do this, follow these steps:

  • Open the task manager with Ctrl + Shift + Esc
  • In the Processes tab, find Windows Explorer.
  • Right-click it and select Restart.

Everything on the desktop will update and the icons should appear immediately.

4]Scan and repair corrupted files in Windows

The problem can also appear in some corrupted system files related to the desktop. The correct way to fix this is to use the System File Checker tool. The built-in tool can recover damaged files and replace them with new ones.

  • Open Run command (Win + R)
  • Type wt and press Shift + Enter to launch Windows Terminal as administrator.
  • Execute command SFC / scannow and wait for it to complete

Restart File Explorer and check if the desktop icons are available.

5]Check your Group Policy setting.

There are no icons on the desktop

Open the Group Policy Editor and navigate to:

User Configuration> Administrative Templates> Desktop.

Now select the “Desktop” folder in the right pane. Find on the right Hide and disable all items on the desktop

Double click on it to open the Properties window. If EnabledThis option removes icons, shortcuts, and other default and custom items from the desktop, including the Trash, Computer, and Network Locations.

6]System Restore

The last resort is to restore the System to get it back to normal. The only thing you need to be sure about is choosing the right restore point in which everything works as expected.

  • Open Command Prompt with Win + R
  • A type rstrui.exe and then use Shift + Enter to run as administrator
  • Click Next, select one of the available restart points and click Next.
  • Post this, follow the wizard and

Those were all solutions needed to fix missing desktop icons. Hope this post was helpful and you were able to understand why desktop icons are not showing in Windows.

Why can’t I click on the icons on the desktop?

This happens when the shortcut doesn’t work or there is a file association problem. Follow the detailed guide on how to fix inactive desktop icons. Once you fix your desktop icons and file associations, it should work again.

Why are my icons missing from the Start menu?

The Windows Start menu has always had quick access to folders and settings. It doesn’t exist right in Windows 10 and is configured so that users can choose what appears on the Start menu. Select Settings> Personalization> Start> Folders. Here you can customize which ones should appear.

How to recover hidden system tray icons in Windows?

Any application can add its own icon to the system tray. Sometimes you see icons. Sometimes not. Icons usually appear when there is activity, but if you want the icon to remain visible, you can do so using the taskbar settings.

Go to Windows Settings> Personalization> Taskbar> Taskbar Corner Overflow. Turn on the settings next to the icon for the app you want to display. You should now see the icons on the taskbar.


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