[7 Ways] Desktop Files & Folders Disappeared from Windows 11

Why were desktop files disappeared in Windows 11? How to recover? This article gathers 7 methods to help you. Check it out.


By Lora / Updated on April 2, 2024

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How do I restore my desktop files & folders in Windows 11?

With significant changes and improvements in Windows 11, many users are willing to upgrade their Operating Systems to Windows 11.

Thanks to the new features, users can enjoy and utilize their PC more flexibly and smartly. Yet, problems won’t be shaken off that easily. For example, some reported black screen after Windows 11 update.

Moreover, plenty of users still face data loss from Windows 11. One of the issues they met was that desktop files disappeared in Windows 11.


Lost files on the desktop from Windows 11 after the update


Windows 11 lost all the files on the desktop after the update. Where are the files???


- Question from Windowsphoneinfo


Before addressing this issue, it is necessary to figure out why are folders and files disappearing from desktop.

Why have my files disappeared from my desktop?

It is common to attribute the loss of desktop files & folders in Windows 11 to these reasons.

  • Accidental deletion.
  • Windows update.
  • Wrong account logged in.
  • Hidden files/folders.
  • Virus infection.
  • Improper indexing settings.

Among the causes, file deletion and Windows updates are more common and frequent. In the next part, corresponding methods are ready to help you recover desktop files and folders disappeared from desktop.

How to recover desktop files & folders disappeared in Windows 11?

7 methods are prepared here. The first action is to check the Recycle Bin to recover the files lost from your desktop. Before emptying the bin or removing them from it again, they will stay there in case you need them.

>> Just go to the Recycle Bin > choose the needed files > click Restore.


If the deleted files are not in the Recycle Bin, it indicates that the data were permanently removed. Check out the following methods to get them back.

Method 1. Recover the files disappearing from desktop effortlessly

To recover permanently deleted files from Windows 11, there is no easier & more efficient way than using professional Windows data recovery software like MyRecover.

MyRecover, specially designed for Windows users, offers advanced data rescue techs in Windows 11/10/8/7/Server. With its helpful features & intuitive user interface, all users can recover lost/deleted files/folders from HDD/SSD/SD card/USB in 3 steps.

Easy. There is no need for any knowledge or data recovery experience. 
Convenient. Support for recovering lost data while keeping the format, filename, path, and quality intact. 
Efficient. Restore most used files, including photos, videos, documents, emails, zip files, etc. 
Quick. While scanning, support previewing/sorting/filtering/recovering files. 
Compatible. Available in Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, SP1, and Server.
Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download
Please stop using the C drive after desktop files & folders disappeared from desktop. Thus the files are still recoverable. 
Enjoy the free version and select 30 MB of files to restore for free. Also, upgrade MyRecover to Pro/Tech to start unlimited data recovery.

Step 1. Install and run this app > hover the mouse over the source location > click Scan.


Step 2. While scanning, you can sort the files by Date modified, Type, Size, Path, etc. If you can still recall the filenames, inputting the names or extensions to target your wanted files faster is also feasible.


Step 3. Choose Deleted files > go to the desktop folder > select what your need and click Recover x files.


Also, navigate to the OneDrive folder; thus, you can easily recover deleted desktop files from OneDrive after permanent deletion as well.

Method 2. Check the account you logged in

Since Windows PC allows users to create, sign into, use, and manage multiple user accounts, it is reasonable to check if you have logged into the wrong account.

>> Just click the Windows icon on the toolbar > click the profiles icon > choose the correct account, and switch.

Method 3. Show hidden files & folders on the desktop

Viruses can hide, modify, move, delete, and encrypt your files & folders and make them missing from the original location as well.

Try to show hidden files/folders/drives to see if your wanted files are back.

The steps to show hidden files in Windows 7 are slightly different. Please check the tutorial.

Step 1. Go to the upper/parent folder where your files were lost on the desktop > click the 3-dot menu button > Options.


Step 2. Click View > Show hidden files, folders, and drives.


Then see if the files are visible now.

Method 4. Restore the previous version

Another approach is to turn to backups after finding the desktop files disappeared in Windows 11. The Previous Versions is one of the in-built backup features of Windows computers.

As long as you have enabled File History and system protection of the C drive, you can restore previous version of files/folders to get deleted/lost/corrupted/damaged data back.

Step 1. Right-click the parent folder that contains the lost files > Properties.


Step 2. Click Previous Versions > choose a preferred version > Click Restore.


This feature also allows you to find previous version of Word documents.

Method 5. Turn to File History

As mentioned above, Windows 11 File History is also a helpful backup tool. By default, it backs up the Library, Desktop, Contacts, and Favorites of the C drive every hour.

Thus we can restore desktop files disappeared in Windows 11 using File History.

Step 1. Type File History in the search box > Open.


Step 2. Navigate to the Desktop folder.


Step 3. Choose the wanted files > click Restore.


All selected files will be restored to the original location.

Method 6. Restore from Windows backup

Since Windows 7, Windows computers have been built with the Backup and Restore feature helping users back up and manage their files.

We can fix the windows 11 desktop folder missing issue by using Windows 11 backup and restore feature.

It requires a backup made in advance to restore from it.

Step 1. Start Control Panel > click Back up and Restore (Windows 7) under System and Security.


Step 2. Click Restore my files.


Step 3. Click Browse for files > select needed files > Next.


Step 4. Choose to save the files in the original location or customize the location > Restore.


Method 7. Check the indexing options

Wrong or improper indexing options can also lead to the files disappearing from desktop.

Step 1. Input Indexing Options in the Windows 11 search bar > Open.


Step 2. Wait for the indexing process to complete > Advanced.


Step 3. Click Rebuild.


Then, follow the instructions to fix it.

Wrapping up

Manu users are bothered by desktop files disappeared from Windows 11 issue. Thanks to MyRecover - the advanced data recovery tool for Windows, and the inbuilt backup tools in Windows, users can get their files back.

Backups are always helpful. Using professional data backup software for Windows to protect your data is a wise choice and will rescue you when accidents happen.

Lora · Editor
Lora is an editor of AOMEI Technology. She is also a tester and editor of AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. -- "Keep testing, write the most useful tutorials for helping people recover the lost data for Windows and phones" is the most meaningful thing for her. Dedicated to creating helpful tutorials, she hopes her tutorial can assist users to effortlessly solve data loss problems on their personal computers and mobile phones.