How to Fix Apps on Desktop Disappeared on Windows 10/8/7:9 Ways

All apps on desktop disappeared? Read this article to learn nine solutions to restore your disappeared desktop icons with ease.


By Kelsey / Updated on April 3, 2024

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How do I get the icons back on my desktop that disappeared?

When searching on Google or other search engines for all apps on desktop disappeared or desktop suddenly empty, you will find that a large number of Windows users are plagued by this problem, whether they are running Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, or Windows 11.

What may cause the disappearance of desktop icons? How to restore missing desktop icons? Read on and get back your disappeared desktop icons in 9 proven ways easily.

Why are my app icons disappearing?

We can summarize the reasons for the disappearance of desktop icons as follows:

  • Desktop icons are accidentally hidden.
  • The system files are corrupted, causing the desktop icons cannot to be displayed normally.
  • Your computer is in tablet mode.
  • The Windows system is not updated on time.
  • There is a cache data problem.

How to recover apps on desktop disappeared in 9 methods

Desktop icons disappeared can be caused by various reasons, so there are also various methods to restore them. But before trying any complicated methods, we recommend that you restart your computer first to avoid desktop icons not being displayed because the computer is not fully loaded.

Way 1. Show desktop icons

The most common cause of the "my desktop icons are gone" is that the desktop icons are hidden. You can easily solve it by showing desktop icons in these steps.

Step 1. Right-click anywhere on the desktop, and click View on the pop-up menu.

Step 2. Check if there is a check mark next to the Show desktop icons option. If not, click Show desktop icons to make all desktop icons disappeared on Windows 10/8/7 visible again.

Show Desktop Icons

Way 2. Disable tablet mode on Windows

Typically, computers have two screen modes: desktop mode and tablet mode. When your computer is in tablet mode, desktop icons and desktop files may be disappeared. You can turn off tablet mode and check if the desktop icons are displayed normally.

Step 1. Click Windows Start and select Settings, then tap on System.

Step 2. Choose Tablet mode from the menu on the left, and turn off the tablet mode by selecting Use desktop mode under When I sign in.

Use Desktop Mode

Way 3. Restart Windows Explorer

Windows Explorer is the main component of the operating system and also manages desktop startup, etc. Sometimes, Windows Explorer malfunctioning can cause your desktop to go blank. The solution here is to restart Windows Explorer.

Step 1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to enter Task Manager.

Step 2. Right-click Windows Explorer under Process, and hit End task.

End Task Windows Explorer

Step 3. On the File menu, click Run New Task. Then, run the explorer.exe command and click OK to relaunch Windows Explorer.

Type Explorer Exe

Way 4. Update your Windows system

If your Windows system has updates, for example, you are using Windows 7, 8, or 10, and the latest Windows system is Windows 11, your Windows 10 apps disappeared from desktop may be related to the vulnerability patch included in the system update.

Please update your Windows system to the latest version to get back missing desktop icons by selecting Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update, and then select Check for updates. If there are available updates, install them.

Check For Updates

Way 5. Reconfigure desktop icons settings

If you find that some of my desktop icons disappeared on Windows 10, 8, or 7, (like can't find Recycle Bin or This PC), you can check the desktop icon settings to restore them easily.

Step 1. Press Windows + I to launch Windows settings, and choose Personalization.

Step 2. Choose Themes, hit Desktop icons settings, and tick the check boxes of the apps on desktop disappeared, then click Apply.

Show Recycle Bin Icon Windows10

Way 6. Repair Windows system with system file checker

Sometimes, virus invasion or some human errors may cause system files to be corrupted or deleted, which may result in desktop icons disappearing. System File Checker helps you scan your computer for corrupted system files and automatically repair them. Please follow the steps below:

Step 1. Search for “command prompt” in the Windows search box and select Run as administrator.

Step 2. Input the following command, and click Enter.

sfc /scannow

Type SFC Scannow

After the scanning is completed, see if all desktop icons disappeared from Windows 10/8/7 come back.

Way 7. Rebuild desktop icon cache

The Windows system maintains the icons to be displayed on the desktop through cache files. When the cached data is out of sync with the icons on desktop, it will cause problems such as Windows 10 desktop icons missing. You can restore desktop icons on Windows 10 by rebuilding the desktop icon cache data.

Step 1. Run the Command Prompt as administrator likewise.

Step 2. Type the following five lines of commands and press Enter after each.

  • taskkill /F /IM explorer.exe
  • cd /d %userprofile%\AppData\Local
  • attrib -h IconCache.db
  • del IconCache.db
  • start explorer.exe

Step 3. Reboot your computer, and check whether or not your desktop icons reappeared.

Way 8. Reset PC to factory settings

Resetting your computer is the least ideal way to cope with apps on desktop disappeared, but it works. It's important to note that resetting computer will result in all apps on computer being deleted, but you can choose to keep your personal files.

Step 1. Click Start > Settings > Update & security.

Step 2. Tap Recovery > Reset this PC > Get started.

Recovery Reset This PC Get Started

Step 3. Choose Keep my files if you don’t want to remove files. Then, go on with the on-screen prompts and reset your PC.

Way 9. Recover all disappeared desktop icons with recovery software

In addition to using the desktop icon recovery method that comes with the Windows system, you can also use third-party software to restore your missing desktop icons. MyRecover is a well-known data recovery software that helps you recover deleted/lost data from computer hard drives, external drives, USB flash drives, SD cards, and other storage devices.

  • It uses a data scanning method combining Quick scan and Deep scan to help you quickly find lost files.
  • It supports the recovery of office files, photos, videos, and other more than two hundred types of files.
  • It can recover files and save them with the original file name, format, and path.
  • Its interface is intuitive and provides data recovery in various scenarios, including emptied Recycle Bin recovery, formatted disk recovery, system crash recovery, etc.
  • Support Windows 11/10/8/7/Servers, and NTFS/FAT32/exFAT/ReFS, etc.

Click the download button to get the recovery software and install it on your computer. Then, follow the steps below to know how to get apps to show on desktop.

Download Software Windows 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Step 1. Run MyRecover, hover the mouse over the drive saved deleted files before, and click Scan.

Select Location To Scan

Step 2. The utility will automatically scan your computer to find the missing apps.

Scanning Drive

Step 3. Select files and click the Recover files button to restore them to a specified path to fix apps on my desktop disappeared.

Select EXE Files To Restore


If you meet the “apps on desktop disappeared” issue, please know that there are multiple ways to restore them. Whether you have lost desktop icons or desktop files, you can use MyRecover, a free recovery software, to get them back.

Kelsey · Editor
Kelsey is an English editor of AOMEI Technology. She is passionate about helping people find effective ways to deal with all problems in computer. She has great insights into data backup and recovery, disk partition and clone, and other data protection measures. She likes learn computer skills to improve herself and enjoy quality time with family and friends.