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How to restore icons on the Windows 10 desktop

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How to restore icons on the Windows 10 desktop: Recently, by logging into Windows 10, you found yourself in a rather unpleasant situation: the desktop icons have suddenly disappeared and do not show signs of reappearing even after restarting the computer. I know, you are caressing the idea of ​​hanging on the phone and asking your “geek” friend to solve this problem for you, however you would prefer to do it alone.

Well, I’m happy to announce that your wish has been fulfilled, since you are in the right place, at a time that could not be better: in the lines below, in fact, I will explain  how to restore icons on the Windows 10 desktop  using all the tools included in the famous Microsoft operating system. Don’t worry, you don’t need to make any particular changes or untangle yourself in complex manual controls: the illustrated methods are very simple and perfectly within reach even of those who, like you, have very little technology!

I intrigued you and now you can’t wait to take action? Perfect! All you have to do is make yourself comfortable, cut out a few minutes of time for yourself and read this guide carefully: I am sure that, once you have finished reading, you will be perfectly able to bring your desktop icons back to where they should be . Having said that, I just have to wish you happy reading and good work!

Enable the display of icons on the desktop

Maybe you’ve never realized it, but Windows has an integrated feature to inhibit the display of icons on the desktop that is extremely easy to use! So, before going ahead and relying on slightly more complex solutions, I recommend checking that this feature has not been enabled, perhaps by mistake.

How? Very simple: first, go  to the Windows 10 desktop , then  right-click with the mouse on an empty point of the same to access its contextual menu and move the mouse over the View item  .

Pay close attention to the lower part of the second menu that is shown on the screen and identify the item Show desktop icons : if there is no check mark next to it, it means that the desktop icons have been hidden in this way.

If this were your case, you just have to click on the aforementioned item to reactivate the display of the icons: if you do not immediately get the desired result, try pressing the F5 key on the keyboard, or to call up the context menu again  desktop and, from there, select the Update item  . Easier to do than to say, don’t you think?

Restore icons to the desktop

Restore icons to the desktop

Lately have you noticed the disappearance of the icons related to the  Recycle BinThis PC or some of your favorite programs and you just don’t know how to restore them? This is precisely the section of the tutorial where you can find the solution to your problem.

To reactivate the display of the so-called system icons   (Network, user folder, This PC and so on) on the desktop, first  right-click on an empty point of the latter and select the Customize item  from the proposed contextual menu. Alternatively, you can achieve the same result by clicking on the Start button  (the flag-shaped button located in the lower left corner of the screen), then on the button  located on the left side of the menu that opens and, subsequently, on the item or the Personalization icon  .

At this point, click on the item  Themes located on the left, scroll down the window, until you reach the item  Settings for desktop icons  and click on it. Once this is done, put the check mark next to the boxes relating to the icons you want to display ( Computer, Trash, User files, Control Panel and  Network ), click on the Apply and  OK  buttons  and the changes will be applied instantly.

If you want to add (or restore) to the desktop the icons of the programs you use most often, you can follow these steps: open the Start menu or the  Windows 10 Start Screen , identify the application for which you intend to create a new shortcut (it could be it is necessary to access the folder in which it is contained), then “grab” its icon with the mouse and  drag it to an empty point on the desktop.

Exit tablet mode

Exit tablet mode

Another possible cause of the disappearance of icons from the Windows 10 desktop is the activation of  the tablet mode : in simple terms, it is a Windows 10 interface adapted for use with devices equipped with touch-screens, which do not provides the classic desktop, but a series of  buttons located inside an expanded full-screen Start screen, known as the  Start Screen .

Did I describe the situation you are in? Fear not, disable the Windows 10 tablet mode is simple: First, log in to the task bar by clicking the icon in the shape of  comic icon located in the  lower right of the screen (next to the clock, the so to speak), then presses the Tablet mode button  located at the bottom to restore the desktop and its icons.

If you want to prevent your device from activating tablet mode independently (e.g. when you release its tablet part from the keyboard), access  the Start / Start Screen menu , press the button  located on the left, select the System button  from the proposed panel, then the item  Tablet mode  (you can find it in the left part of the window, if this is maximized) and set first the option  Use desktop mode in the drop-down menu On  access  and then the option  Do not request confirmation and do not change mode  in the menu drop-down  When my device automatically turns tablet mode on or off .

Other useful solutions

Did none of the previously reported solutions work? The icons on your desktop have not disappeared but are displayed incorrectly, perhaps with blurred icons or, worse still, in the shape of a white sheet? Then the problem may lie elsewhere: below, I’m going to show you a series of solutions that, most likely, can restore the correct display of icons on the desktop of your PC.

The only recommendation I have to make to you, before starting, is to proceed by trial and error and follow the procedures in the exact order in which they are listed.

Regenerate the icon cache

To speed up the loading of the images linked to each icon, Windows 10 keeps a small copy of their previews in a specific file, which is called an icon cache file .

It may happen that, over time, the cache of icons is damaged in some way, resulting in a direct distortion in the icons or the complete lack of them: it is in the latter case, in particular, that symbols are displayed on the desktop in the shape of white sheets.

To remedy this problem, you can  regenerate the icon cache by intervening in the following way: open a File Explorer window by  clicking on the yellow folder icon located in the lower Windows bar, click on the View  item  located at the top and, subsequently, on the Options button  .

At this point, click on the View tab  in the new window that appears on the screen, put a check mark next to the item  Show hidden folders, files and drives , remove it from the  Hide protected system files (recommended ) box , click the Yes button  to confirm the will to continue and then on the OK button  .

After completing this operation, press the combination of Win + R keys  , type the command  % localappdata%  in the proposed panel, press the Enter key  on the keyboard, identify the IconCache  or  IconCache.db  file  and delete it, then  restart the computer : the icons should be come back like new!

Reset system files

Didn’t the previous solution have the desired effect? You can make a further attempt to “repair icons” through the Windows sfc utility  : if you have never heard of it, sfc is a command line executable program that allows you to analyze the files necessary for the correct functioning of Windows and, if necessary, restore them automatically.

To proceed, open the  Start / Start Screen menu by clicking on the Start button located in the lower right corner of the screen, select the Windows Tools folder  right-click on the Command Prompt button  , select the  Other> Run as administrator item from the menu contextual proposal and then press the Yes button  .

Once the Prompt is open, type the sfc / scannow command inside it  followed by pressing the Enter key . Then wait for the analysis and correction to complete, then restart the computer and the icons should return to their original appearance.

Return to a previous recovery point

Have you tried everything, just everything I have shown you before, but the icons on your desktop just don’t want to go back to normal? So, as an extreme solution, I recommend that you restore your computer to a previous state by using  Windows System Restore .

This feature of Windows, in particular, allows you to bring the system back to an earlier date: in this way, all the settings and customizations applied after the chosen date, as well as the new installed programs, will be lost. However, personal files created after the date the computer is reported will remain intact.

To proceed and restore Windows 10 to a previous state, press the  Cortana search bar , type the word restore inside it  , click on the Restore button  and select the item  Open resident system restore in the new window that opens on the desktop.

Once this is done, click on the Next button , add the check mark next to the  Choose a different restore point item , click the Next button again  , add the check mark next to the Show more restore points item  , then select from the proposed list the restore point created on the date immediately preceding the occurrence of your problem with the icons. If you wish, you can know in advance the programs that may stop working by pressing the Search for interested programs button  .

Make the necessary choices, click on the NextFinish and  Yes buttons  to start the recovery procedure, which could take some time; at the end, the computer will restart automatically and, subsequently, a window relating to the successful restoration will be shown. If you need further clarification on this procedure, you can consult my specific guide on how to bring the PC back to a previous date , in which I have clarified all the necessary steps in detail.

If even this procedure failed to restore the icons on the Windows 10 desktop , then you may need an even more drastic solution, such as the  complete reset of the PC. In this way, you will have the possibility to return the operating system to its initial state, exactly as if you had just installed it, with the opportunity to keep your personal files intact: don’t worry, it is a very simple procedure, which I have detailed in my guide on  how to restore Windows 10 .

Before proceeding, be aware that the application of the procedure just mentioned involves the total loss of all the settings, programs and drivers installed on the computer.