It can be quite shocking to find out that that your Windows desktop icons or some specific icons are missing. You might have accidently removed the icons or a malware program might have infected your PC and caused the removal of desktop icons.

However, you can get these icons back using different methods. In this tutorial, we are going to show you different methods for restoring missing desktop icons. These methods should be enough to restore the icons, whether they were accidently removed or deleted by an infected program.

Method #1: Restore Specific Icons

If you have accidently removed specific Windows desktop icons such as, My Computer, Recycle Bin or Control Panel, then you can easily restore them from windows “Personalize” settings.

Right-click on any blank area on the desktop and from the context menu, click on “Personalize”. A window will open up, click on “Change desktop icons” here located in the left panel.

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The “Desktop Icon Settings” dialog will open up. Here, check the checkbox next to each icon that you would like to restore and click on “Apply” to restore the selected icons.

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Method #2: Use Show Desktop Icons option

If all the desktop icons are missing, there is a chance you might have accidentally hidden all the icons. To restore all the missing desktop icons, right-click on a blank area of the desktop, and from the context menu, hover your mouse cursor over “View” option.

In the side menu, you will see the option of “Show desktop icons”. Just check this option and you should be able to see all of your desktop icons.

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Method #3: Restart Windows Explorer

There is a chance you might have terminated Windows Explorer by accident or an infected program might have terminated it. If that is the case, then your PC start menu and taskbar must also be missing.

To restart Windows Explorer, press Ctrl+Shift+Esc keys on your keyboard and Task Manager will open up. Here, click on “File” option and select “New Task” from the menu.

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In the next dialog, enter “explorer.exe” in the empty text field and click on “OK”. This should restart the Windows Explorer and restore all the missing icons. If you want to learn more about how to restart Windows Explorer, you can refer to our guide on how to restart Windows Explorer.

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You can also completely restart the PC and the effects will be the same.

Method #4: Use a Dedicated App

If you believe that a malware program has removed the desktop icons, then you can use a dedicated desktop icon restore the tool to restore the missing icons.

We are going to use a tiny tool called Unhide created by BleepingComputer. The app will restore all the icons and data hidden by a malware program, including desktop icons, start menu icons and files and folders.

But before restoring desktop icons with Unhide, it is recommended that you scan your PC with a good anti-malware program to get rid of the malware that is causing the issue. For this purpose, Malwarebytes is a good anti-malware program.

Once your PC is free of the malware, download Unhide (390KB file). The tool doesn’t require any installation, all you need to do is double-click on it to start and it will start scanning your PC drives automatically. The scan may take some time depending on how much data you have on your drives (5-10 minutes, on average).

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Once the scan is completed you will be notified that scan has been completed and a log file file has been created on the desktop containing details of the scan.

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Just open the log file file created by Unhide and you will see all the details of scan, including icons and data restored.

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If you have any questions or know any other trick to restore missing desktop icons, let us know in the comments below.

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