Icons disappearing from Desktop in Windows 10; still shown as being on Desktop(and able to be accessed) in File Explorer

Yesterday some icons had disappeared from my Desktop when I turned on my laptop. Some were files that I had placed directly on the Desktop, and others were shortcuts. When I go to the Desktop in File Explorer, everything seems to be still there, and I can still access everything using File Explorer.

If I try to move one of the disappeared files from File Explorer onto my Desktop, it says “File and source destination are the same”. If I go to my actual Desktop, click on an icon, and then keep pressing a letter key that’s the same as the first letter of a disappeared icon, it will cycle through any icons that haven’t disappeared and that start with that letter. It will then look as if no icon is selected, and when I press enter the file connected to the disappeared icon will open. It’s as if the icons are still on the desktop, I just can’t see them for some reason.

It seems like all the icons that have disappeared were ones that were on the right side of my Desktop. Those icons on the right side of my Desktop that didn’t disappear were all also shifted towards the center of my screen and placed in a different order for some reason. 

I’ve tried right-clicking the Desktop and toggling “Show Desktop Icons” on and off. I’ve tried restarting my laptop. Neither helped. I’ve also ran a Malwarebytes and an Avast Antivirus scan. Neither turned up anything. 

Any advice would be appreciated. 🙂


I resolved my similar issue by going to the OneDrive settings and unchecking "Desktop'.  Got the scary message that if I stopped syncing I would lose everything on the desktop but continued to proceed and all my missing icons and folders magically reappeared.

  Note: if things go wrong and want to revert the process, simply use the CTRL-Z shortcut command to undo.

Good luck!


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