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Windows 7: Many icons/items on my desktop suddenly missing

10 Jan 2015   #1

Many icons/items on my desktop suddenly missing

Noticed today that there are only a few icons left on my desktop whereas its usually a cluttered mess. I have no idea where everything went, My Documents and other folders appear to be untouched. This is the only user account I ever use so I'm not logged in to the wrong one or something...I just kind of noticed it this afternoon...there was an automatic update 2 days ago, after struggling with a piece of crap system restore all day I finally got it to restore back to that point but it didn't help anything. MalwareBytes doesn't find anything out of the ordinary. Any ideas? The same thing happened on my gf's laptop a couple of weeks ago...very weird.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jan 2015   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


Hello Mike and welcome to Seven Forums.

When you did the system restore did you use a restore point that was prior to the automatic update? In other words, if the update was on 1/8/15 (just as an example) did you use a restore point dated 1/7/15 or earlier?

You could also try to rebuild your icon cache.

Icon Cache - Rebuild

And you could also check for damaged or corrupt system files by running a System File Checker scan from an elevated command prompt (option two, this tutorial.)

SFC /SCANNOW Command - System File Checker

One of the Forum experts prepared this troubleshooting tutorial that may offer some additional ideas.

Troubleshooting Steps for Windows 7
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jan 2015   #3


Hi, I used a restore point on the date of the automatic update and then after that did not work I went back and did another restore point to 4 days before that. The icon rebuilder didn't seem to fix anything and SFC didn't find any file integrity issues.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

12 Jan 2015   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


One thing I didn't ask is if you've run a full scan with your installed anti-virus of choice. Even if your AV comes back "no malware found" it wouldn't hurt to run a few more Forum recommended on-demand scans with these free products: Malwarebytes; SuperAntispyware; ESET Online Scanner; Comodo Cleaning Essentials; herdProtect; to name just a few. Just make sure you select the free products and not the paid or trial versions.

If additional scans come back clean, this may seem like a drastic measure and some folks might disagree. But rather than take a lot of time trying different things that may (or may not) work, or even make things worse, I'd jump straight to a Repair Install. If successful it will fix your currently installed Windows 7 and preserve your user accounts, data, programs, system drivers, etc. If it's not successful you won't be any worse off than you already are. There's even a link in the red warning box (third bullet point) on how to obtain a full installation disk if you need one.

Repair Install
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jan 2015   #5

x64 (6.3.9600) Win8.1 Pro & soon dual boot x64 (6.1.7601) Win7_SP1 HomePrem

Is there a folder on your desktop - yes, look inside

If you can recall a unique name of one of the shortcuts, try searching c:\ for that name.
For instance say you had a shortcut named Financials-Q1
put that name in the search box.

pick a name without a space in it, because I can't recall how to make that a string ("jack and jill" might work or it will find every file with the three words)

You could also search c:\ for all files with a filetpye of LNK
In the Explorer search box, type


don't try .lnk - that might work, but if it doesn't , it gets frustrating.

What you're asking search to do is look for all files with an extension of LNK

I've accidently selected all files on the desktop (I thought the focus was in a folder) and dragged them somewhere ..
It's especially easy to do on a laptop touchpad - I really have trouble with those

Good luck
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Many icons/items on my desktop suddenly missing

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