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Desktop icons: lost, deleted or disappeared – get them back

Desktop icons: lost, deleted or disappeared – how to get them back

It’s taken you by surprise. All the desktop icons, links and files have disappeared! Have they been deleted? Are they lost? I understand the immensity of the problem and your anguish. But, relax; most probably you can get all the icons back so take a deep breath and read on.

If all the icons have disappeared or are lost, most likely you or someone else, have accidentally hidden them. Windows Vista gives you the option of showing or hiding all desktop icons in a couple of mouse clicks. This feature can be found under the view menu.

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Get back the lost desktop icons

Go to your (now) blank desktop, right-click (click the right-button on your mouse) and select Show Desktop Icons option from the “View” menu. That’s it – all icons, links, shortcuts will be back on the desktop. So you see, the icons had just disappeared! Now that you know of this cool feature, use it well.

Show desktop icons in Windows Vista

On a similar note, you can change the size of the desktop icons through the “View” menu by selecting one of the presets – Large Icons, Medium Icons or Classic Icons – or using the Control key and mouse scroll wheel for custom sizes.

Desktop icons deleted

This is a different ball game altogether. If the desktop icons have been accidentally (or intentionally) deleted, you can go to the Recycle Bin and restore the files and shortcuts back to the desktop.

Open the Recycle Bin by double clicking on it, select the files that were present on the desktop and then right-click and choose “Restore“. The files, shortcuts and icons will be back where they belong.

Restore the deleted or lost icons back to the desktop from the Recycle Bin

Is the Recycle Bin empty? Hmm! Now the only way to get the links and shortcuts back is to create them once again – please refer the tip on creating shortcut icons for desktop. Unfortunately, if you had stored files on the desktop and these were deleted, there is no straightforward way to get them back once the Recycle bin has been emptied. You can try using some free and commercial “undelete” programs but their success in restoring deleted / lost files depends whether the space used by the deleted file has been overwritten by a new one.

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  • Phyllis on February 8th, 2017 8:18 am

    How do I get my mail icon back

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