Windows 10 & Missing Desktop Icons

  1. Posts : 77
    Windows 10 Pro - 64

    Windows 10 & Missing Desktop Icons

    - Windows 10 Pro, 64 bit

    I was repairing, uninstalling, and installing an app yesterday. In the process, I somehow managed to delete many, but not all, of my desktop icons. My guess is that I lost about 60 to 75 percent of my prior desktop icons.

    My desktop icons are just shortcuts to various programs. Although I don't have a complete inventory of my prior desktop icons, I noticed that various Adobe apps (cloud, and various apps such as Lightroom, Acrobat, and others), Acronis Backup, Powershell, Intel SSD Toolbox, CCleaner and so on went missing.

    I checked my Recycle Bin and there was nothing there.

    This morning, I thought that I would simply reach into my Acronis Backup to the Desktop folder, and retrieve my missing shortcuts. When I went to the Desktop folder, the only shortcuts that were present were the ones that survived yesterday's purge. My prior shortcuts that went missing were still missing.

    While I was trying to understand what took place, I upgraded my Acronis Backup from 12.0 to 12.5. In the process, Acronis Backup created a desktop icon. I looked at my current Desktop folder, and there is *no* Acronis Backup shortcut file listed. So that leads me to my questions:

    Question One: Why do some shortcuts have files in the Desktop folder, while other shortcuts do not?

    Question Two: Is there any way to save or protect one's desktop?

    Here's the path to my desktop folder:

    On the positive side, my desktop is cleaner now.

    I'd appreciate input on my two prior questions.
      My Computer

  2. Caledon Ken's Avatar
    Posts : 20,314
    Windows 10 Pro x64 Version 1909

    Hi Stecyk

    Look in the "Public" User under "Desktop".

    I only looked when I saw your posting. Same characteristics, more shortcuts on desktop then show in my personal desktop location in file explorer. I'm assume programs that are loaded for all users are placed in Public but appear on "Your" desktop. That is what is happening on my system.

    I will note that if you delete from your personal desktop it removes it from Public desktop. (one quick test on my desktop)

    I restored by finding executable. Now it shows as a entry under my desktop (in file explorer) but did not recreate in Public location.

    Interesting behaviour.
      My Computer

  3. Posts : 77
    Windows 10 Pro - 64
    Thread Starter

    @Caledon Ken,

    That's really interesting.

    I looked at my existing location:


    It's almost empty with the exception of the program that I added yesterday (one I struggled with), Intel SSD Toolbox, which I added later on my own, and Acronis, which I just installed the latest version.

    Then, I went back to my Acronis Backup file to the same location. Boom, all the files are there, just as you suggested that they might be.

    So, somehow all those files got deleted. I'll bet dollars to donuts that somehow my repairing, uninstalling, and installing somehow triggered a massive deleting of this public folder, even though it should have been fine.

    I suppose now I can just put them back and sort them out on my desktop.

    One remaining set of questions: In my backup public/desktop, I see a file "desktop.ini". What is that file? Do I need to do anything with it?
      My Computer

  4. dalchina's Avatar
    Posts : 24,365
    Win 10 Pro (1903)

    desktop.ini is a (normally hidden) file used to apply certain characteristics to a folder.

    You can see it because you have chosen to unhide protected system files.
    You are concerned about it because it looks unusual and because it should normally be hidden

    Question Two: Is there any way to save or protect one's desktop?
    - create a backup.

    Many users prefer to keep their desktop clean.
    Note that by default, along with the default Documents, Videos, Music etc folders it's located on C:
    All those will be obliterated if you need to clean install Windows.
    The desktop is the one folder I choose to relocate- most of my other personal data is not on C:
    Occasionally I keep current working info on my desktop, and years ago occasionally lost it when restoring previous disk images or clean installing.

    You can write a small script or use a backup program to create a backup on a different disk or partition, as with any folder.

    I prefer to keep my shortcuts on my start menu (not Win 10's!) or in a rather neat small dedicated free launcher - STabLauncher.
      My Computers

  5. Posts : 77
    Windows 10 Pro - 64
    Thread Starter

    @dalchina Thank you for your comments. I expect that desktop.ini is a file that contains the order of the shortcuts that appear on the desktop or something similar.

    I do backup my computer, although not as frequently as I should. I do, however, have all my shortcuts now. And now that I know where to look for my shortcuts, it's easy peasy to retrieve them again. I have three physical drives, one SSD for my operating system and app, and two traditional drives. I back up my C drive (SSD) to one of my traditional drives. It's quick. Starting from scratch, it's less than ten minutes. If it's an incremental backup, it's about three minutes. Retrieving data is also about three minutes.

    My desktop is reasonably clean. There's no data, just shortcuts to various programs. I that I have located all my shortcuts in my user/desktop and public/desktop folders, I will go through and decide which I want to remain on my desktop, and which are rarely used and need not be on the desktop.

    I have my most common apps anchored on my taskbar. For others, I just use Cortana (or whatever it is called "Type to search here") for the app.

    Thank you for your help.
      My Computer

  6. dalchina's Avatar
    Posts : 24,365
    Win 10 Pro (1903)

    expect that desktop.ini is a file that contains the order of the shortcuts that appear on the desktop or something similar.
    No- but does contain things like the custom icon for the folder, the infotip, the characterisation of certain default folders etc.
    Windows 10 & Missing Desktop Icons-1.jpg

    We would recommend that backups and disk images be written to an external storage medium. Why?
    1. Ransomware. All your disks could be encrypted.
    2. Severe power supply failure could blow everything.
    3. Theft/fire/flood. If everything is in one place...


    Sure, have two forms of backup- one short term locally, longer term, periodic, external and generally offline. Preferably physically remote.
      My Computers

  7. Posts : 77
    Windows 10 Pro - 64
    Thread Starter

    @dalchina, thank you for the information on desktop.ini.

    Regarding backups, my most critical data is in the cloud. Soon I will be moving almost everything to the cloud. The only remaining items will be my operating system and software. I can always reinstall those. And the cloud has a 30-day-rollback capability, so I should be good. Thank you for your help.
      My Computer

  8. Caledon Ken's Avatar
    Posts : 20,314
    Windows 10 Pro x64 Version 1909

    Glad you found your icons in Public folder.

    I'm with dalcina. You can read reports, some ransomware sits idle for a very long time to specifically infect backups.

    That is another thread.

    If you could mark your thread solve it will help others to find.
      My Computer

  9. Posts : 77
    Windows 10 Pro - 64
    Thread Starter

    One can never be too safe. But at least I do have backups of my data. And I do virus scans on a regular basis, so I don't believe that there is anything lurking on my computer at present.
      My Computer


Related Threads
Our Sites
Site Links
About Us
Windows 10 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 10" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

© Designer Media Ltd
All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:13.
Find Us

Windows 10 Forums