Updated: March 22, 2023
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by Chris Wolker
Tech Expert & Writer
1013 resolved issues
Verified Expert in:
Smartphones, Tablets, Gadgets, Apps

My laptop starts but my icons are missing on the screen

Hello, thank you for using Howly. I’ll be happy to help you out! May I ask your name?

Customer Replay


Nice to meet you, *****!
Have you checked the recycle bin on your desktop?

Customer Replay

as i said my screen doesnt show me icons

Are just some icons missing, or all icons are missing?

Customer Replay

it was working yesterday, i shut it down and started it up an hour later and the icons were gone

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Right-click on an empty portion on your desktop. Hover on "View", then make sure the "Show desktop icons" option is checked.

Customer Replay

i don't have an empty portion

Click on your desktop screen with the right mouse button 1 time -> hover on "View" -> Check if you will see a checkmark near "Show desktop icons"

Customer Replay


Got it
On the bottom of your screen click on folder icon ( or press Windows + E shortcut)
On the left side click on Desktop
Let me know what you would see

Customer Replay

Dont have Windows on the left side

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Got it. Try shortcut Windows+E buttons
You can find a Windows button in the left bottom corner of your keyboard between Ctrl and Alt buttons

Customer Replay

i see Quick Access

  1. Step 1: Press WIN + I on your keyboard to quickly open up Settings. You can also do this by clicking on Start and then Settings.
  2. Step 2: Select "System" from the menu items.
  3. Step 3: Click on the “Tablet mode” menu item.
  4. Step 4: Change the "When I sign in option" to "Use desktop mode". Also, choose "Always ask me before
    switching" under "When this device automatically switches tablet mode on or off".
  5. Step 5: Restart your computer.
Customer Replay

i am lost i tried Win +1 nothing happen

It's not number 1, but letter i

Customer Replay

i got to systems but dont have tablet mode

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Got it. But have you tried to reboot your PC after this issue occur?

Customer Replay


Got it
Press the Widnows+A buttons, and let me know if you would see tablet mode there. If its on - click on it 1 time, and let me know if it would help

Customer Replay


Got it
Are you able to use the Command Prompt?

Customer Replay

what is that


I will assist you in this

  1. Press the Windows + R keys the on-screen keyboard. This is going to bring up the Run utility.
  2. Type in “cmd” and press the Ctrl + Shift + Enter keys on your keyboard. Doing so, you’re launching the Command Prompt with administrative permissions.
  3. If prompted, click Yes to allow the Command Prompt to make changes on your device.
  4. Input the following commands, pressing the Enter key in-between each new line. This is going to restore your icon cache one step at a time: file commands
Customer Replay

they are up

These commands you should write
Let me know after you finish with the steps

Customer Replay

the icons are back

Oh that's great!
I’m glad I was able to get that sorted out for you. Is there anything else I can assist you with today?

Customer Replay

no thank you for all your assitance

Thank you for reaching out. Please let me know if you have any other questions and I'll be happy to clarify them for you! Have a nice one!

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