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Article ID: 330170 - Last Review: May 22, 2013 - Revision: 2.0

This article was previously published under Q330170

Symptoms

All the icons may be missing from your desktop. However, if you open your Desktop folder in Windows Explorer, you can see your desktop icons in that window.

Cause

This behavior occurs if the Show Desktop Icons feature is turned off.

Note If you upgrade a previous version of Windows to Windows XP, and Show Desktop Icons was turned off in the previous Windows version, this setting is maintained, and user icons appear to be missing from the desktop. The Show Desktop Icons setting is ignored in previous versions of Windows if Active Desktop is turned off. In Windows XP, Active Desktop is always turned on and cannot be disabled.

Resolution

To resolve this behavior, turn on the Show Desktop Icons feature:
  1. Right-click the desktop.
  2. Point to Arrange Icons By.
  3. Click Show Desktop Icons.

Status

This behavior is by design.

More information

By default, the Show Desktop Icons feature is turned on for clean installations of Windows XP, but the Recycle Bin is the only icon that is put on the desktop. If you upgrade a previous version of Windows to Windows XP, all user icons remain on the desktop. By default, the My Computer, My Network Places, Internet Explorer, and My Documents icons are no longer put on the desktop for clean installations or upgrades. To add the My Computer, My Network Places, Internet Explorer, and My Documents icons back to your desktop:
  1. Right-click the desktop, and then click Properties.
  2. On the Desktop tab, click Customize Desktop.
  3. Under Desktop icons, click to select the check boxes of the icons you want to view.
  4. Click OK two times.

Applies to
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 Update Rollup 2
Keywords: 
kbprb KB330170
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