Where Did My Desktop Icons Go in Windows 11? Find Out Now!

Have you ever turned on your Windows 11 computer only to find your desktop icons missing? Panic not! There’s a logical explanation for why this happens, and it’s usually an easy fix. Whether you’ve accidentally hidden your icons or they’ve been displaced due to a system update, we’ve got you covered.

Step by Step Tutorial: Recover Missing Desktop Icons in Windows 11

Before we dive into the steps, it’s important to know that following these instructions will help you restore your desktop icons to their rightful place on your screen.

Step 1: Check if Desktop Icons are Hidden

Right-click on your desktop, hover over ‘View’, and see if ‘Show desktop icons’ is checked.

Sometimes, the simplest solution is the right one. If ‘Show desktop icons’ is unchecked, simply click on it to bring your icons back.

Step 2: Restart Windows Explorer

Open Task Manager, find Windows Explorer, right-click and select ‘Restart’.

Restarting Windows Explorer can refresh your system and bring back those missing icons.

Step 3: Check Display Settings

Right-click on your desktop, select ‘Display settings’ and ensure that the display scale and layout are correct.

Incorrect display settings might resize or reposition your icons off the screen.

Step 4: Use the Search Function

If an individual icon is missing, use the search bar to find the program and create a new shortcut on your desktop.

This step is handy when just one or two specific icons are playing hide and seek.

Step 5: Run a System Scan

Open Command Prompt as an administrator and type ‘sfc /scannow’ to run a system scan.

A system scan can detect and fix any underlying issues within your Windows 11 system that might be causing the icons to disappear.

Once you’ve completed these steps, your desktop should be back to normal, with all icons in their place.

Tips for Maintaining Desktop Icons in Windows 11

  • Regularly update your Windows 11 system to avoid bugs that can affect desktop icons.
  • Avoid using too many icons on your desktop as it can clutter and slow down your system.
  • Organize your icons into folders for a cleaner and more efficient desktop space.
  • Consider creating a backup of your desktop layout in case icons go missing again.
  • Use desktop icon software that can save and restore your icon setup.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find the ‘Show desktop icons’ option?

Right-click on your desktop, hover over ‘View’, and you should see the ‘Show desktop icons’ option in the submenu.

How do I open Task Manager?

Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard or right-click the taskbar and select ‘Task Manager’.

What does ‘sfc /scannow’ do?

The ‘sfc /scannow’ command scans all protected system files and replaces corrupted files with a cached copy.

Can a virus cause my desktop icons to disappear?

Yes, it’s possible. Always ensure you have a good antivirus program installed and running.

What if the steps above don’t work?

You may need to explore advanced options like creating a new user profile or restoring your system to a previous point.


  1. Check if Desktop Icons are Hidden.
  2. Restart Windows Explorer.
  3. Check Display Settings.
  4. Use the Search Function.
  5. Run a System Scan.


Dealing with missing desktop icons in Windows 11 can be frustrating, but it’s usually an easy fix. With the simple steps outlined above, you can quickly restore your desktop back to its full glory. Remember, keeping your system updated and avoiding clutter on your desktop can help prevent icons from going missing in the first place. If you ever find yourself scratching your head and asking, “Where did my desktop icons go in Windows 11?” just revisit these tips and steps to solve the mystery. Happy computing!

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