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

Tracy King updated on Dec 11, 2020 to File Recovery | How-to Articles

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.

How do I get my desktop back on Windows 10?

"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 Previous Build Go to Settings > Click "Update and security" > Go to the Recovery tab...Full steps
Fix 6. Show Hidden Files Open Windows Explorer, click on "Views" > "Options" > "Folder Options:...Full steps
Fix 7. Recover Lost Desktop Files Run EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, under the Specify a location section, click "Browse"..Full steps

According to Microsoft and a large number of Windows users, Windows 10 update indeed deletes some files in system drive or causes desktop apps 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 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 in Part 1 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 solutions in Part 2 for help.

Part 1. 5 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 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 a 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 issue. 

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.

Part 2. Recover lost or disappeared Dekstop files

Files disappeared from 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 in 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. Run EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, select location to scan lost folder.

Under the Specify a 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.

You can find the lost folder with the "Search" feature to quickly find the lost folder by searching the folder name. Then open the found folder and double-click to preview lost 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.

Bonus tips to protect Windows desktop files

When your desktop files or icons disappeared or lost, you can effectively restore them by following 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 in PC before installing 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 backup image of Desktop files in 3 steps:

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

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

Step 3: Click "Proceed" to start the data backup process.

back up data with easeus todo backup

# 2. Turn on Windows Defender and clear disk errors 

Due to virus infection or disk error, sometimes, the Desktop apps and files my 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 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 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.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why choose EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard?

"EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the best we've 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, but it's fast and efficient..."PCMag

"The first thing you'll notice about EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is that its interface is very clear and uncluttered, with only a small collection of self-explanatory controls. You won't find lots of extra options hidden in a system of hidden menus, either; what you see really is what you get."techradar

"Recover lost files, even after deleting a partition or formatting your drive."Macworld

2. Why cannot I recover 2GB data for free?

It is recommended to check the version installed is Free or Trial because they are different versions.

Trial has data preview function but cannot save any files, while the Free version enables to recover 2 GB files. The default free space is 500 MB and you may share the product on social media to get another 1.5 GB.

3. Why cannot the recovered files be opened?

A file is saved as 2 parts on the storage device: directory info (which is comprised by file name, time stamp and size info, etc.) and data content.

If the files with original file names and folder structures cannot be opened, one possible reason is the corrupted directory info. There is still a chance to recover the data content with the RAW Recovery method in our software.

4. Why isn't it suggested to recover the files back to the original drive?

The storage structure of the lost files would be altered or damaged by any changes on the drive. If you save the recovered files back to the same drive, the original data structures and data content would be corrupted or overwritten, which causes permanent data loss. So you should prepare another disk to save the files.

5. How can I check whether my data is recoverable or not before purchase?

The Free version helps you save 2GB files, so verify the recovery quality of our product before purchase.

6. How long does it take to scan the drive?

It strongly depends on the capacity of your hard drive and the performance of your computer. As reference,most drive recoveries can be completed in around 10 to 12 hours for a 1-TB healthy hard drive in general conditions.

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