Kim Barloso

How to recover files and shortcuts on your Windows 10 Desktop


List of methods to recover icons (aka shortcuts) lost from the Windows Desktop. Step by step guide for each recovery method.

Icons disappearing from the Desktop is a problem occurring due to several reasons: abnormal computer rebooting, system failure, unplanned system update, corrupted /files. As a result, not only icons but also /files and folders disappear. Among them might be important documents and textual records. Many users do not even realize that important data should be stored in the cloud and not on the desktop.

Restoring Desktop items requires time and minimal skills but fortunately the process is usually easy. How - we'll explain later (choose the suitable way or try each method until you succeed to recover the /files).

Rescuing the icons disappeared from the Windows 10 Desktop can be done in several ways:

  1. With the Windows "Personalization" area;
  2. With the Desktop context menu;
  3. Files and shortcuts placed in the "Trash";
  4. Windows restore method;
  5. Disabling the tablet mode;
  6. Rescuing the Desktop folder through Recuva.

Restoring shortcuts through the "Personalization" section of Windows

This method works for Windows 7, 8, 10. It will be useful if not all icons are missing but only the system icons such as Computer, Trash, Documents and others being part of Windows Explorer.

To restore the disappeared icons by means of the "Personalization" setting, you should:

  1. select the Personalization command from the Windows context menu ( right mouse button on the Desktop) and open the section of the same name;

  2. in the window that appears, go to Themes ;

  3. select the line Desktop Icon Settings in the Contributive Settings section;

  4. in the window Desktop Icons Options , in the section Desktop Icons , mark the shortcuts to be returned to the Windows Desktop;

  5. Click Apply and OK consecutively.

The selected items will appear again on the PC desktop. If for some reason this did not occur, restart Windows ( Restart > Power Off > Reboot ).

Restoring missing icons from the context menu of the Desktop

If icons were accidentally or intentionally hidden from the Windows context menu you can restore them to the Desktop in the same way but in the reverse order:

  1. The context menu is called (you have to move the cursor to an empty space on the screen, right-click );
  2. In this context menu View and in the secondary menu Display Desktop icons

  3. If the option Display Desktop icons is already checked, then you should disable this option and re-enable it ;
  4. revoke the context menu and click on Update .

  5. After these operations the Desktop will recover the "disappeared" (hidden or mistakenly disappeared) /files as well as all the shortcuts.

Obviously this is the simplest way to recover Windows 7, 8 and 10 shortcuts and it would work only if the data was not really removed to the Trash or bypassing it.

Restoring Desktop items from the "Trash"

The "Trash" is an intermediate system designed to temporarily store /files deleted from the hard disk and other storage devices. To restore deleted /files (to recover them from the "Trash" to the Desktop), you need to perform several actions:

  1. open "Recycle Bin" using the context menu or the Windows search bar;
  2. in the opened "Recycle Bin" folder, mark all /files to be restored;
  3. right click and in the window that appears, click the line "Restore"

We should note that deleted /files are stored until the Recycle Bin is full. This may occur at any time, therefore if you have not had time to check the contents of the Recycle Bin, do it now.

Recover Windows

While using your PC, the Windows 10 operating system periodically remembers its current state by saving the recovery points. Consequently, you may try to recover /files by rolling back to the saved state. This will work if your desktop /files are stored in this "snapshot".

Useing a Restore Point to rollback Windows

to restore Windows 10 to a previous state you should perform the following steps:

  1. Go to "Control Panel" from the "Start" menu;
  2. from "Control Panel" select "Restore";
  3. from this window: click on "Start System Restore" and click on "Next" ;
  4. confirm the restore point.

File Restore via Disable Tablet Mode

In Tablet Mode the /files and folders and /files on the Desktop are not visible. And to access again the "invisible" icons you need to disable this function. This can be done by:

  1. Start - Settings - System;
  2. In the "System" window select "Tablet Mode"
  3. The option "Hide Icons" must be set to "Disable;
  4. Reboot the computer.

Recover desktop /files with Recuva

How to recover /files with Recuva:

  1. Download Recuva for Windows
  2. Run Recuva and select the file type to be recovered. In the window that appears, it is recommended to select "All /files" type.
  3. Specify the folder where you want to recover lost /files: C:\Users\"username"\Desktop (specify username in Latin letters).
  4. Wait for the Scan Complete
  5. From the list of /files offered by the program to recover, indicate those items you want to display on the Desktop.
  6. Click the "Restore" button.

“Hello. My name is Kim. I discovered that technology, when used with a purpose, can be pretty amazing. To share the wonder of tech, I’ve written for blogs like and With over three years of freelance writing experience in the technology and entertainment niche, I can write a storm about a software app, a cool browser extension, a new mobile device and other geek-centric stuf... “

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Kim Barloso