Why do new desktop icons vanish on Windows XP SP3 when I reboot the computer?

Steven February 22, 2011

Whenever I add a new program that creates an icon or when I create an icon for a program, that icon disappears whenever I shut down the computer. All my old Icons are fine, just new ones vanish. Why?

  1. Steven
    February 28, 2011 at 4:20 am

    Don't know exactly what fixed the problem but my icons now stay put.. Tried everything that has been suggested . Thanks to all for your suggestions. Good to go (for now).

    February 25, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    Hello, have you tried the following?

    -- right click on desktop
    -- highlight arrange Icons by
    -- select show desktop icons

    Does your computer have a power plan installed by the computer's manufacturer? If it does, check your settings for the power plan. Sometimes, you have to change the settings so that it does not hide desktop icons.

  3. Anonymous
    February 23, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Try to uninstal SP3 and reboot then reinstal through windows update.


    1. Ctrl + Alt + Del to bring up Task Manager.
    2. Click "New Task..." then click "Browse..."
    3. Click My Computer on the left panel. Click C: - WINDOWS.
    4. Navigate to explorer.exe, right click and copy explorer. Rename it to explorer1 (.exe)
    5. Hit Cancel to go back to Create New Task window. Type regedit.exe and click OK.

    6. In the registry editor, navigate to the following Key.

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionWinlogon

    With the Winlogon key selected, look in the right side window for the
    'Shell" value.

    Double click Shell. In the Value Data box, you should see Explorer.exe. Change it to
    explorer1.exe and click OK.

    Exit the registry editor and reboot the computer.

    Start | Run | Type: gpedit.msc | OK |
    Navigate to >>
    User ConfigurationAdministrative TemplatesDesktop
    Don't save settings on exit

    Set to Not Configured.

    Don't save settings on exit
    [[Prevents users from saving certain changes to the desktop.

    If you enable this setting, users can change the desktop, but some changes,
    such as the position of open windows or the size and position of the
    taskbar, are not saved when users log off. However, shortcuts placed on the
    desktop are always saved.]]


    Read the instructions at the top
    54. Right hand side
    Save Settings on Exit

  4. Spvmespv
    February 23, 2011 at 4:42 am

    Thanks ha14 , tried all. Still no joy, same problem. If you or someone else don't have any other ideas, guess i will just have to reformat. I dread that task. (too much work, backups and all )

    • Tina
      February 28, 2011 at 3:50 am


      did the additional advice solve your issue or did you choose to reformat your computer in the meantime?

  5. Anonymous
    February 22, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    right-click on the desktop and make sure there is a check mark next to show desktop icons, if there isnt click on it,.

    clicke on the "My Computer" icon, then clicke on the Local Disk (C) and open it. On the top left side of this screen is "System Tasks" box and in it it said "show or Unhide ( the contents of the drive". clicke on that and the "Documents and Settings" . right clicke on that folder, clicked on its "Properties". see that the "hidden" box of Attributes was Checked! uncheck it and it will go into a file tranfer mode restoring all the files that were previously hidden.

    Press CTRL + ALT + DEL and click on Task Manager
    Now in the Task Manager, you want to click on File and then New Task (Run). Make sure you are on the Processes tab.
    In the Open box, go ahead and type in explorer.exe and click OK

    you can try FixIEDef.

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