Windows 10 was a good upgrade over the past iterations, and fixed many of the mistakes in Windows 8.1, but kept the best elements of Windows operating system. One of them is the icons, which is the default method of launching applications from the desktop.
But what to do when you see Windows 10 desktop icons missing? Here, I shall discuss how to change icons on Windows 10, and what to do if you see Windows 10 desktop icons missing.
How To Change Desktop Icons?
Icons are customizable in Windows 10, but there are some complex steps involved. We have already covered this, so check out this article on Customizing Windows 10 taskbar icons. Follow the steps involved there, and you should be able to easily change the desktop icons on your computer.
Fixed Windows 10 Desktop Icons Missing
If you cannot change the desktop icons, or the desktop icons go missing, here are some simple solutions that you can try to troubleshoot this error.
Solution 1: Check If The Icons Are Disabled
One of the first things you should check if the icons are disabled. There is an option in Windows 10 that allows you to turn off the desktop icons. This is a fantastic way to clean up your desktop and go for a minimal look, but if you do this unexpectedly it may be troubling for you.
To check if the icons are disabled, follow these steps:
- Go to your desktop, and right click on any empty space.
- From the context menu, hover on View > to reveal additional menu.
- Make sure that there is a checkmark next to Show desktop icons.
- If no checkmark is present, click on the option to change the setting.
This should bring back the desktop icons, and you should be able to change icons as mentioned above.
Solution 2: Restart Explorer.Exe
The explorer process handles the icons present on your desktop. Any error with your icons should be fixed by simply restarting this explorer.exe process. To fix disappearing icons by restarting explorer process, follow these steps:
- First, open task manager. You can use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + Esc.
- Under the Processes tab, locate the explorer.exe process and click on it.
- Click on the End task button under the list of processes. Or else, you can select this option from the right click context menu.
- If the explorer process does not restart automatically, Click on File in the top ribbon bar inside Task manager.
- Click on Run new task. This will launch a run dialog inside task manager.
- Here, type explorer.exe and press Enter.
With Explorer restarting, you should see the icons come back to your desktop. Check if the error persists.
Solution 3: Turn Off Tablet Mode
The Tablet mode is a new addition to Windows 10 targeted towards Microsoft’s 2-in-1 devices. These tablets are slightly different from traditional Windows devices, and the apps installed are a variation of the metro apps. So, there is a chance that your device is not showing the icons because it is in tablet mode.
Follow these steps to turn off tablet mode using the Settings app:
- Open the Settings icon by pressing Win + I.
- Click on the System option.
- From the left pane menu under System, click on Tablet mode.
- In the left pane, change the setting to Use Desktop mode under the When I sign in drop-down menu.
- Restart your device.
Upon restart, your device will start in the default Desktop mode, where you should be able to see all your icons again.
If you cannot exit tablet mode, check out this article on how to troubleshoot Windows 10 stuck in tablet mode.
Solution 4: Rebuild Icon Cache
The icons on your computer are not loaded every time, instead the cache data is saved to prevent excessive load on the GPU. Rebuilding the icon cache can be extremely useful if you see errors with your icon database. This can be done via the command prompt, follow these steps for the same:
- Open an elevated command prompt. To do this, open a Run window by pressing Win + R, type cmd and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to launch Command Prompt with administrative privileges.
- Type the following commands one by one and press Enter after each one of these:
cd /d %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer
attrib –h iconcache_*.db
Reboot your computer, and you should see the icon cache being rebuilt again.
Solution 5: Run DISM And SFC Scans
If none of the solutions above helped you, there may be some core system files missing or corrupt. This can happen due to a multitude of reasons, which include incorrect Windows Updates, app installations, and much more. Luckily, you can run DISM and SFC scans, which are the built-in tools to check and repair the core system files.
Run the DISM and SFC scans, wait for the scans to finish, and check if the desktop icons missing error persists. Your issue should now be resolved.
So there you have it. Now you know how to change desktop icons, and how to troubleshoot is you see Windows 10 desktop icons missing. Comment below if you found this useful, and to discuss further the same.