[Sovled] Lost or Missing Desktop Files After Windows 10 Update

Stay calm if Windows 10 update deletes your desktop files or icons disappeared from your desktop. This page guide you to determine whether the desktop is missing or deleted by Windows update and guide you to recover missing desktop icons and bring all lost files with manual solutions and automated EaseUS file recovery software.

Table of Contents

How do I get my desktop back on Windows 10/11

"I'm having this problem that the desktop files and some apps disappeared after Windows 10 update. Some files and folders stored on the desktop of my PC disappeared after Windows 10 upgrade. I don't know where to find them.

How do I recover the lost files and get my desktop back to normal on Windows 10?

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Fix 1. Show Desktop Icons Right-click on the desktop, go to View, and uncheck "Show desktop icons"...Full steps
Fix 2. Set Icons to Show Up Open "Settings" and click on "Personalization" > "Themes" > "Desktop icons settings"...Full steps
Fix 3. Switch User Account Click the Windows icon and click your username at the top. Select the other visible account...Full steps
Fix 4. Disable Tablet Mode Right-click on the Windows icon and select "Settings". Click "System" > "Tablet mode"...Full steps
Fix 5. Go Back to the Previous Build Go to Settings > Click "Update and security" > Go to the Recovery tab...Full steps

According to Microsoft and a large number of Windows users, Windows 10 update indeed deletes some files in the system drive or causes desktop apps to missing. So how to fix this issue?

First, you need to check out whether the desktop files are lost or missing. You can right-click on the Windows icon > Open File Explorer > Navigate to C:\Users\Public or  C:\Users\UserName\Documents and search the missing file name at the right search bar.

Search missing files on Windows desktop.

Next, choose the right solutions toward your current issues:

If files show up in File Explorer after searching, they are not lost but saved on a specific location on your PC. Follow manual solutions to restore your Windows desktop icons and files. If nothing shows up in File Explorer by searching, your files are probably hidden or lost. Refer to the solutions to recover missing files first.

Part 1. Recover lost or disappeared Dekstop files

Files that disappeared from the desktop may be deleted by Windows 10 update or got hidden by the OS or other programs. Therefore, you have two options here to restore the lost or missing files.

Method 1. Show hidden files on Windows 10 desktop

Step 1. Open Windows Explorer, click on "Views" > "Options" > "Folder Options:. 

Step 2. Go to View Tab and check "show hidden files, folders and drives" (uncheck the option "Hide protected operating system files" if there is this option). Click "OK" to save all the changes.

show hidden files in file explorer

Close the Folder Options window and then go back to the desktop to see if you can find the saved documents and files.

If no files, folders nor apps are found, you need to refer to a more powerful data recovery software to fix this issue. 

Method 2. Recover lost desktop files with data recovery software

Reliable data recovery software can effectively recover disappeared or lost desktop files on PC due to Windows system update. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard allows you to recover any lost files, apps, or folders in Windows PC or storage devices under complex situations.

Besides, it also supports USB recovery, hard drive recovery, external hard drive recovery, etc. in a few simple clicks. Let's see how to restore the desktop files with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard:

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.

Part 2. Five ways to restore missing desktop apps and files

Due to Windows 10 bug, desktop and saved files may disappear after Windows 10 update. And you may try here below manual methods to get lost desktop back:

Method 1. Show desktop icons

Step 1. Right-click on the desktop, go to View, and uncheck "Show desktop icons".

Step 2. Re-check the Show desktop icons option to see if the desktop icons and files show up. If not, try multiple times to repeatedly uncheck and re-check the box.

Show desktop icons.

When the desktop files and icons show up, continue with the next step to arrange your Desktop.

Step 3. Right-click on your desktop, select "View" > Check, or uncheck "Auto Arrange Icons".

Auto Arrange desktop icons.

It would make all files and folders appear on the left side. And you can drag and drop them where you need them to be.

Method 2. Manually set Windows icons to show up

Step 1. Open "Settings" and click on "Personalization" > "Themes" > "Desktop icons settings".

restore desktop icons

Step 2. Check desktop icons like Computer (This PC), User's Files, Network, Recycle Bin, and Control Panel that you'd like to show them on desktop.

Click "Apply", then "OK".

add desktop icons in Windows 10

Method 3. Switch User Account to find missing Desktop files

Sometimes, when you logged in to the wrong account, the saved files and installed applications on the Desktop may disappear. All you need is to switch the right account and bring the missing files and apps back.

Step 1. Click the Windows icon and click your username at the top.

Step 2. Select the other visible account on the list, click to switch to it.

Switch user account to find missing files.

Step 3. Sign in with the password of the other user account.

After this, your files and disappeared app icons should be available again.

Method 4. Disable Tablet mode, switch to desktop mode

This method only works on a device with a touch screen. Tablet mode is enabled on Windows 10 and it may cause desktop or icons missing issues. 

Here are the steps to disable the Tablet mode:

Step 1. Right-click on the Windows icon and select "Settings".

Step 2. Click "System" > "Tablet mode". 

Step 3. Under I sign in, select "Use desktop mode" and disable "Hide app icons on the taskbar in tablet mode" by switching to "Off".

Disable tablet mode to show up disappeared desktop.

Method 5. Go back to the previous Windows build

When your desktop disappears due to Windows 10 update, you can revert it to the previous Windows Build so to resolve this issue.

Step 1.  Go to Settings > Click "Update and security" > Go to the Recovery tab.

Step 2. Click "Get Start" under Go back to the previous version of Windows 10.

Go back to previous version of Windows 10 and bring missing desktop back.

Then follow the onscreen instructions to roll back Windows 10, bringing the missing desktop back.

Bonus tips to protect Windows desktop files

When your desktop files or icons disappeared or are lost, you can effectively restore them by following the solutions provided in Part 1 and Part 2. Besides, you may also want some practical tips to protect the Windows desktop files. Here, we've collected two reliable tips to help.

# 1. Create backups for Desktop valuable files

To avoid similar issues from happening again, we'd like to suggest you create backups for desktop files and important data on PC before installing the Windows update.

You may copy all valuable files on the desktop to another secure device as a backup or refer to a powerful file backup software to create a full backup of all files on your PC at one time.

Here are the detailed steps of creating a backup image of Desktop files in 3 steps:

Step 1. Launch EaseUS Todo Backup software and then choose "File", "Disk/partition" or "OS" for different backup purpose.

back up data with easeus todo backup

Step 2. Choose the system, disk partition, files or apps that you want to back up. Then click "Browse" to select a destination where you want to store the backup file.

Product News
EaseUS Todo Backup now supports users to back up files to the cloud. All you need to do is sign up with an EaseUS account, then you could enjoy a large cloud storage space. More advantages of backing up to the cloud include accessing backup files anytime and anywhere, saving file copies offsite, so you don't need to worry about virus attacks or computer failures, and easier and faster backup and recovery operations.
back up data with easeus todo backup

Step 3. Click "Save" to start the data backup process.

# 2. Turn on Windows Defender and clear disk errors 

Due to virus infection or disk error, sometimes, the Desktop apps and files suddenly disappear on your PC. To avoid this issue, we also suggest you turn on Windows Defender or use virus cleaner software to protect your PC and run a disk check command to clear existing errors on your local hard drive.

Steps to turn on Windows Defender, Virus & threat protection

Step 1. Right-click Windows icon and select "Settings" > Click "Update and Security" > Click "Open Windows Defender Security Center".

Open Windows Defender.

Step 2. Click "Virus & threat protection" on the new window > Go to Virus & threat protection settings.

Step 3. Turn on these three options: Real-time protection, Cloud-delivered protection, and Automatic sample submission.

Turn on Windows Denfender.

Steps to run a disk error check

Step 1. Open My Computer/This PC, right-click the C: drive that your invisible Desktop files were saved on, and click "Properties".

Step 2. Click "Tools" under Error-checking, select to scan existing errors in your drive. Click "Check" to start the process.

Check and fix existing disk errors.

Step 3. Click "Scan drive" to begin scanning and repairing any found hard drive errors.

Scan hard drive error.

Was This Page Helpful?

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.

Read full bio

Written by Tracy King

Tracy joined in EaseUS in 2013 and has been working with EaseUS content team for over 7 years. Being enthusiastic in computing and technology, she writes tech how-to articles and share technical solutions about Windows & Mac data recovery, file/system backup and recovery, partition management and iOS/Android data recovery.

Read full bio

Product Reviews

TrustScore 4.7 | 323 reviews
  • EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is a powerful system recovery software, designed to enable you to recover files you’ve deleted accidentally, potentially lost to malware or an entire hard drive partition.

    Read More
  • EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the best we have seen. It's far from perfect, partly because today's advanced disk technology makes data-recovery more difficult than it was with the simpler technology of the past.

    Read More
  • EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro has a reputation as one of the best data recovery software programs on the market. It comes with a selection of advanced features, including partition recovery, formatted drive restoration, and corrupted file repair.

    Read More