Windows 10: My desktop suddenly disappeared. What happened and how to recover?

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  1.    03 Apr 2017 #1

    My desktop suddenly disappeared. What happened and how to recover?

    My personalized desktop suddenly disappeared a few days ago. I was doing nothing unusual when it changed to a format I am totally unfamiliar with. All of my icons are gone except for my icons in the taskbar. This changed desktop is very strange. As you might have detected, I don't know much about Windows 10. I wish I could go back to Windows 7. Windows 10 does nothing for me but cause problems.
    Does anyone know how I can recover my desktop? Can you give me a clue how to troubleshoot and correct? I don't understand much of the computer technical jargon so please talk to me as if I were computer illiterate. I use the computer for browsing and email only. I appreciate any and all help.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2.    03 Apr 2017 #2

    Hi, how do you recover the content? Have you tried rt clicking an empty area, click Show desktop icons?

    If not, do you have full backups, or disk images (we strongly and repeatedly recommend the routine use of disk imaging; the compressed copies of your disks mean you can recover your PC without technical help even if you have to replace your disk. You can also extract files and folders from the images. E.g. Macrium Reflect (free) + its boot medium + external storage for the image set(s)).

    Note the standard recommendation is not to keep a lot of info or content on your desktop.

    You may be happier using Classic Shell (free) as your start menu - you'll feel very comfortable with it as it behaves like Win 7/ XP start menus- configurable. It also expresses more deeply nested start menus properly, which Win 10's doesn't, and full support of drag 'n drop.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3.    03 Apr 2017 #3

    Thank you dalchina. Right clicking anywhere on the desktop does nothing. No reaction at all. Even the recycle bin icon is not there. I do not want to implement new stuff. I am more comfortable keeping everything as simple as possible using the standard
    out-of-the-box Microsoft Windows 10 system. Your suggestions, although reasonable to you, are way above my skill level. Disk imaging sounds good but I don't have a clue what you are talking about. I just want to correct the problem and continue using my computer as I have been.
    Oh, and here is some more info which I failed to mention. I have two user accounts on this one computer. One for me and one for my wife. Both are set up the same. Her computer was not affected by my problem. Her start-up desktop, although not the same as mine, was not changed.
    Thank you very much for your attention to my problem. I really appreciate your response.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4.    03 Apr 2017 #4

    ray8811 said: View Post
    I wish I could go back to Windows 7.
    Why can't you?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5.    03 Apr 2017 #5

    Hi Navy. I don't know why I can't. I don't know why I can. I really don't know much of anything. Right now all I want is to solve and correct my desktop problem. Any help is appreciated. Thanks.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6.    03 Apr 2017 #6

    right click desktop/select refresh , see if that helps
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  7.    03 Apr 2017 #7

    Chances are that your User Profile did not load properly and Windows loaded the Default Profile and desktop.
    If you browse to C"\Users\[YourUserName] you should see your personal folders. If you open the Desktop folder, all of your icons should still be there. If that is the case, then here are ways to fix it: How to Fix A Corrupt User Profile in Windows 10
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  8.    09 Apr 2017 #8

    No desktop at all

    Thanks for the advice asusG, but no desktop appears at all anytime anywhere. It seems to be covered up by the start screen. Right click does nothing at all on the start screen. I think my desktop is still there somewhere but is just covered up. It never shows. I don't know how get to the desktop. I don't want the start screen. I want my desktop. I may create a new user and transfer all my files as spunk suggested. Hope that works. I implemented Classic Shell as NavyLCDR recommended but now Classic Shell is the start screen. Still no desktop at all. This has been a miserable experience. As I said in a previous post, my wife's user account works fine. WHY ME?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  9.    10 Apr 2017 #9

    Are you in tablet mode?
    Click image for larger version. 

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    (It's a drop-down option there.. if you are using a normal PC you should have that setting as shown).

    To get there:
    Settings, type 'Tablet' in the search box, click Tablet Mode Settings.

    If it says Tablet Mode- that explains why the start menu covers the screen.

    Please take a photograph of your screen and post it using the little icon above your post to the left of the video icon. (Or if you know how and can do it a screenshot using e.g. the Windows snipping tool).

    Maybe you have a friend or family member who can help you become a bit more familiar with Win 10. The old control panel is still there too- well, mostly.

    ** I avoid most of the Win 10 features as far as I can- I don't use the apps or the Win 10 start menu - I want one that works properly, as in Win 7. I want Windows to look a bit like Win 7. So I use a start menu that behaves like Win 7's. I have transparent/opaque borders around windows where that's possible. Hey, I even have the Win 7 orb as the start button... and I almost never talk to Cortana.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    - looks a bit more familiar?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  10.    10 Apr 2017 #10

    Not in tablet mode

    Not in tablet mode. I checked. Computer is Dell Inspiron 660. I have been using Windows 10 since last summer when I thought I had to upgrade. I had been using Windows 7 and previously Windows XP and before that the early versions on several machines.
    The normal 'desktop' is where I put the shortcuts I use most often. Used desktop for years. Now nothing. The Desktop folder still contains all of these shortcuts but I don't know what to do with it. I am not a PC guru but have been a user for many years doing simple things. I do not need all the advanced features. Cortana is a joke.
    Wife's user account is working great. I must have really hit the evil key. Will keep on working through this as I have time. Thank you.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

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