Top 9 Ways to Recover Folders Disappeared from Desktop Mac and Windows 10/8/7

If your folders disappeared from desktop Mac or Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, you can restore lost desktop files in 9 ways. One of the most effective ways to retrieve disappeared desktop folders or files is using EaseUS data recovery software. With it, you can get back any lost or missing files with simple clicks.

Table of Contents

Issue: Folder Disappeared from Desktop Mac

Users like to place their frequently-used folders or files on the desktop so that they can get quick access to those files whenever they need them. But they don't know that this habit dramatically increases the danger of data loss caused by accidental deletion, system crash, or sudden power failure. As a result, the demand for recovering folders disappeared from the desktop arise.

In this article, we will show you various ways to restore desktop files or folders that disappeared on Mac. What's more, useful ways to recover folders disappeared from the Windows desktop are also demonstrated in this article. Let's start now.  

Part 1. 6 Ways to Recover Folder Disappeared from Desktop Mac

There are two reasons that may cause the folders on your Mac desktop to disappear, one is that the folders are hidden, and the other is that the files are deleted. No matter if your files/folders are hidden or deleted, you can use the following effective ways to retrieve the missing files. 

3 ways to recover hidden or missing folders from Mac:

  1. Tip 1. Unhide files by using Finder 
  2. Tip 2.  Show hidden files with Terminal
  3. Tip 3. Find folders through Stacks 

3 ways to recover deleted folder from Mac desktop:

  1. Tip 4. Restore files from Trash
  2. Tip 5. Turn Off iCloud Drive 
  3. Tip 6. Use Mac data recovery software

Among them, the most effective way is to recover missing Mac files with EaseUS Mac data recovery software. If you don't want to use data recovery software, you can try other ways below.

Tip 1. Use Finder to Find Missing Mac Desktop Folders

macOS Finder helps organize files and folders. If you can't find a file or folder, you can find hidden files in Finder in the ways below.

Step 1. First, relaunch the Finder by clicking the Apple logo at the left top corner. Then click "Force Quit > Finder > Relaunch". If this doesn't work, you can try troubleshooting with the Finder.

Step 2. In Finder, open your Macintosh HD folder. Press Command + Shift + . (Dot) to make the hidden files appear. You can also do the same from inside the Documents, Applications, and Desktop folders.

Tip 2. Show Hidden Files with Terminal

The terminal command can unhide any hidden files on Mac. 

Step 1. Go to "Finder > Applications > Utilities" and double-click "Terminal".

open terminal

Step 2. In Terminal, run these commands in order:

Type defaults write AppleShowAllFiles true, and press Return

Type killall Finder and press Return

recover folders disappeared from desktop Mac by showing hidden files
When the commands run, you can see your hidden files in Finder and any temporary files saved on the desktop.

Step 3. Type Quit in the Terminal to exit the Terminal window.

Tip 3. Find Disappeared Mac Folder Through Stacks

If the Stack feature is available on your Mac and enabled, all your files will be organized in the category. When you click a category, it will expand it and show all the content on the desktop. 

Step 1. Go to "View" on the top of your desktop and choose "Use Stacks".

Step 2. Select "Group Stacks By" and check the way your files were organized.

Step 3. Find your missing folders and place them at the destination. 

disable desk stacks to find missing Mac files on the desktop

If there are no desktop folders, try to disable stacks to find Mac desktop files. 

The above three ways help recover missing files or folders on Mac desktop. But the premise is that the file is not deleted, but hidden. If your Mac folders are deleted or removed, take the following solutions to recover lost files or folders on the Mac desktop. 

Tip 4. Restore Deleted Desktop Files/Folders from Trash

If you accidentally deleted Mac desktop files, you can retrieve them from Trash easily. Follow these steps to get back deleted desktop files on Mac.

Step 1. Open the Trash Bin icon on your desktop, and you can see all the deleted files there.

Step 2. Find the files you want to recover, drag them to the desktop. Or right-click on them and select the "put back" option to recover deleted files on Mac from the Trash. The files will return to their original location.

restore Mac desktop files with trash

Tip 5. Turn Off iCloud Drive to Restore Lost Desktop Folders on Mac

You can sync the local desktop and document folder to iCloud Drive on Mac. The desktop and documents folders will be moved to the iCloud section of your Finder sidebar. If you find the folder disappeared from Mac desktop, you can turn off iCloud to recover the lost documents folder.

Step 1. Go to "Apple menu" > "System Preferences" > "iCloud".

Step 2. Click "Options".

Step 3. Uncheck "Desktop & Documents Folders" and click "Done".

get back disappeared files on mac with icloud drive

Tip 6. Recover Disappeared Folders with Mac Data Recovery Software

The most effective way to get back disappeared or deleted desktop files on Mac is by using the professional Mac data recovery software. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac can effectively recover lost data due to accidental deletion or other causes. 

  • Recover deleted Word, Excel, photos, videos, audio files, and other hundreds of file types
  • Recover deleted files from desktop, emptied trash, formatted hard drive, inaccessible storage device, etc.
  • Support all versions of Mac operating systems (macOS 10.15 ~ 10.9)

Now, free download this Mac data recovery tool to recover folders or files that disappeared from the desktop on Mac.

Follow these steps to recover desktop files on a Mac device: 

Step 1. Select the disk location (it can be an internal HDD/SSD or a removable storage device) where you lost data and files. Click the "Scan" button.

select a location and click scan

Step 2. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac will immediately scan your selected disk volume and display the scanning results on the left pane.

start scan on the Mac

Step 3. In the scan results, select the file(s) and click the "Recover" button to have them back.

click recover now button to recover lost data on your Mac

You can apply Tip 4 - Tip 6 to recover disappeared files or folders on Mac desktop. If you delete files from Mac thoroughly, only EaseUS Mac data recovery can recover permanently deleted files or folders on Mac. 

Part 2. 3 Ways to Recover Folder Disappeared from Desktop on Windows 10/8/7

If you are a Windows operating system user, you can get back disappeared desktop files by using Windows 10 data recovery software, CMD, or the previous version.

  1. Tip 1. Show hidden files using CMD
  2. Tip 2. Restore lost desktop files from previous versions
  3. Tip 3. Recover desktop files with Windows data recovery Software

Tip 1. Show Hidden or Disappeared Files Using CMD

Your desktop files may get missing from your Windows PC if they are hidden. But you can let them show up with the command prompt. Here are the steps:

Step 1. Press Windows + X keys and select Command Prompt (CMD) as an Administrator. 

Or you can click the Windows icon, select "Search" and type the command prompt. Right-click on it and select to open Command Prompt as Administrator.

Step 2. Determine the drive or storage device where the files are hidden and you want to recover.

Step 3. Type attrib -h -r -s /s /d G:\*.* and hit "Enter". (If it's drive D, then replace G: with the drive letter for your device). 

Tip 2. Restore Lost Desktop Files from the Previous Version

If you want to try a manual solution to show files disappeared from the desktop on Windows 10/8/7, you can follow these steps.

Step 1. Create a new folder on the desktop and name it with the same name as the disappeared folder.

Step 2. Right-click the folder and click "Properties" > Previous Versions". And then Windows will search for and list the previous versions of the deleted or lost files or folders.

Step 3. Choose the latest one and click "Restore" > "OK" to recover the disappeared folder from the desktop.

restore windows desktop files with previous version

Tip 3. Recover Missing Desktop Files on Windows with Software

If you are a Windows user, you can also use the Windows version disk data recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. This tool is famous for its high recovery rate and ultimate data recovery features. You can use it to recover deleted files from emptied recycle bin,  formatted disk/partition, corrupted internal/external hard drive, lost partition, and more. 

Now, download this top-ranking data recovery tool to recover folders disappeared from the desktop on a Windows computer within three steps. 

Step 1. Select the location to scan lost folder

Under the Location section, click "Browse" on Select Folder to choose the location where you lost the folder and click "OK" to scan the lost folder. 

Run folder recovery software.

Step 2. Find and preview found files in the lost folder

If you remember the folder name, type the folder name in "Search" to quickly find the lost folder. Then open the found folder and double-click to preview lost files. 

Or you can use the left pane to locate the lost folder, then use "Filter" and "Type" to specify the desired files.

Scan and find lost folder data.

Step 3. Recover and save the lost folder with files

Last, select the folder and files and click "Recover", browse to choose a new & secure spot on your PC and click "OK" to save it.

Restore lost folder data.


This article shows 10 methods in all to recover lost desktop files. Among them, the most effective way to recover folders or files that disappeared from Mac or Windows desktop is using EaseUS data recovery software. It enables to restore hidden, deleted, lost, inaccessible, and corrupted files without any effort.

FAQs to Desktop Files Disappeared on Mac

You have learned these effective ways to show missing files from the Mac desktop. If you have related questions, you can read these questions and answers to know more.

Where did all my desktop files go Mac?

If your desktop files have disappeared from Mac and you have saved those files & folders on iCloud Drive, they will be moved to the iCloud section of your Finder Sidebar.

Why did everything on my desktop disappear Mac?

When it comes to everything disappearing from the desktop, the first problem must be the missing folders or hidden Mac folder icons. There would be a problem with system settings or you might have accidentally deleted something as well.

How do I restore my desktop files?

To restore desktop files on Mac:

  • Tip 1. Recover Folder Disappeared from Desktop with Software
  • Tip 2. Restore Missing files on Mac via Trash
  • Tip 3. Get Back Deleted Files on Mac with Terminal
  • Tip 4. Use Finder to Find Missing Mac Desktop Files
  • Tip 5. Turn Off iCloud Drive to Restore Missing Desktop Files
  • Tip 6. Disable Desk Stacks on macOS to Find Missing Mac Folder

To restore desktop files on Windows:

  1. 1. Recover Missing Desktop Files on Windows with Software
  2. 2. Restore Lost Desktop Files from the Previous Version
  3. 3. Show Hidden or Disappeared Files Using CMD

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Updated by Cedric

Cedric Grantham is one of the senior editors of EaseUS who lives and works in Chengdu, China. He mainly writes articles about data recovery tutorials on PC and Mac and how-to tips for partition management. He always keeps an eye on new releases and likes various electronic products.

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Written by Roxanne

Roxanne is one of the main contributors to EaseUS and has created multiple posts on digital devices like PCs, Mobile phones, tablets, Mac, etc. She loves to share ideas with people of the same interest.

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