[2022 Guide] How to Restore Desktop Icons on Windows 10/11

Lost desktop icons on Windows 10? Don’t worry! This guide will tell you how to restore desktop icons on Windows 10.


By Lena / Updated on April 2, 2024

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How do I restore my desktop icons that disappeared?

Where have all my Desktop Icons gone?? - desktop icon is now down on the bottom taskbar - really inconvenient.

- Question from Microsoft Community

Problem: lost desktop icons on Windows 10

Usually, there are default icons on the desktop to allow you to quickly access important locations and settings. In addition, we can also create shortcuts of regularly used programs to quickly launch them. However, those icons may get deleted.

● Accidental deletion. Accidentally delete some icons when clean up the desktop.
● Improper settings.You may have accidentally opened the wrong settings so desktop icons missing.
● System errors. Icons may disappear when system files become corrupt due to viruses or anything eles.

Whatever the reason, for more convenient usage, we need to restore desktop icons on Windows 10. Besides, we may need to recover missing files. Just keep reading to get the solution.

How to restore desktop icons on Windows 10

Here are some pratical ways that can help you restore desktop icons on Windows 10. You don't have to try them all, just try them one after another until the icon appear on the desktop.

Tip 1. Enable Show desktop icons

If you cannot see any desktop icons, you can turn on Show desktop icons option to restore missing icons on desktop Windows 10.

  • Right-click any empty area on the desktop.
  • Select View.
  • Choose Show desktop icons.

Tip 2. Check desktop icon settings

If you accidentally deleted some icons from desktop, you can try to restore deleted desktop icons in Windows 10 via Settings.

  • Click Start > Select Settings.
  • Chooose Personalization > Select Themes.
  • Scroll down to find Desktop icon settings and click it.
  • On the Desktop Icons Settings screen, select the icons you want to see on the desktop.
  • Click Apply > OK to confirm.

Desktop Icons Settings

Tip 3. Disable Tablet mode

For a device with a touch screen, there are two screen modes: Desktop mode and Tablet mode. When Tablet mode is enabled, many desktop icons will not be displayed to make the computer more touch-friendly. In this case, you can turn off the Tablet mode to restore desktop icons on Windows 10.

  • Click Start and go to Settings.
  • Choose System > Tablet mode.
  • Turn off Tablet mode.

Turn off Tablet Mode

Tip 4. Run SFC scan

If the desktop icons lost because of damaged system files, then you can run SFC Scannow to restore missing icons on desktop in Windows 10. It can help you repair damaged files.

  • Open Search bar and type command prompt.
  • Right-click Command Prompt and choose Run as administrator.
  • Type sfc /scannow and hit Enter.

SFC Scan

Tip 5. Rebuild the icon cache

You can also try to rebuild icon cache to restore deleted desktop icons in Windows 10.

1. Run Command Prompt as administrator.

2. Hit Enter to execute the operation after typing each command line:

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

Tip 6. Perform a System Restore

If your computer has System Restore enabled, then you can perform a system Restore to restore desktop icons on Windows 10. System Restore will restore Windows to previous date - a good working condition it was before the desktop icons disappeared.

  • Go to search box and type "system restore".
  • Choose System Restore > Click Next on the pop-up window.
  • Choose a system restore point > Click Next.
  • Click Finish to make it.

System Restore

How to recover lost files on Windows 10

When Windows 10 desktop icons disappear, some files stored in your computer may also be lost. In this case, you can use Windows 10 data recovery tool to scan the drive and find all deteletd or lost files.

MyRecover is recommended here. It’s one professional data recovery software for PC developed by AOMEI, the benchmark of the data recovery industry. This tools supports recovering 200+ types of files including documents, pictures, videos, audios, emails, compressed files, etc.

It’s free to scan your computer with ADR for Windows and you can recover data up to 30 MB each time. Below is the download button.

Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Step 1. Run MyRecover > Hover the mouse over the drive and click Scan to scan.

Start Scan

Step 2. It will automatically scan your drive to find all deleted and lost files. The found files will be listed on the left and you can type keywords in the search box to quickly find the files you need.


Step 3. Select the files and click the Recover button to restore them during or after the scanning process.

Final words

That’s all about how to restore desktop icons on Windows 10. The main reason for the disappearance of desktop icons is wrong settings or system errors, to get the icons back, you just need to adjust the settings or fix the system errors. If you find that some data is missing after retrieving the icon, then you can use ADR for Windows to scan the computer and find them.

Lena · Editor
Lena is an editor of FoneTool, she covers backup & restore, and phone data management and so on. She enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. She loves traveling, eating, reading and so on. She takes most of time with her family when she is not working.