No desktop

Running OS 8.1 on a G3. All stable until suddenly after boootup the desktop is no longer available. All folders/files on desktop (including applications resident on desktop) are not accessible including Trash. Items located in these folders are found when a search is performed but if clicked nothing happens. Trying to save a file on the Desktop gives error saying I do not have permission, the same happens trying to create a new folder! Searching for invisible files brings out the Trash folder but on clicking the message "it has been deleted" is given. Reinstalling AppleWorks on Hard disk worked fine but still no access to desktop, trash and 1 Gig from my 4Gig Hard Disk!
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First try a few things:
1)Restarting w/ extensions off (hold down shift while system starts-up) and see if anything is different.
2)Also try restarting and hold down command-option-P-R to reset the PRAM.
3)Holding down command-option will rebuild the desktop.

If these things don't work look into a disk utility like Norton Utilities or TechTool Pro.  They can test your system and often solve most Mac problems.

Did you recently install any new software?  Not common for a computer to just fowl up on its own.  What were you doing the last time you were using the computer.  Likely you did something without realizing it and something got corrupted.
Tool required:
Norton Utilities (
freeware version of TechTool (

You must have Norton Utilities 4.0.3 or greater to repair directory damage and maintain your machine. Version 5.0.2 is current as of this writting.

The Directory of the Volume missing the Desktop is seriously goofed up. The Directory stores all the locations of your files and other stuff. It also lives in a finite space defined at Format time. So, if you have Severe File Fragmentation (which you do, but can be remidied with Speed Disk), the Directory will "forget" info because it is full and will write over other entries. This causes all kinds of fun side effects. Unfortunatly, most Users do not look at this as a fun little puzzle (like I do), rather...they have heart attacks and other emotional reactions. The Trash, for example, physically exists, but the Directory shows that it has been deleted. Some searh tools do not use the Directory to find what you are looking for.

Norton Disk Doctor is very powerful. And, if you are not careful, you will end up with a worse problem than when you started. The best way to insure that you do not lose any Data is to Boot from another Volume and Drag ALL Volumes (partions) of the HD to another HD, Reformat the Drive and restore the Backed Up info. Since HD's should be reformatted every other year or more, this is not an unreasonable request. The money you spend on another HD will be less than the money you shell out to a tech (I make a good living doing this stuff) to do the same thing.

I am a Macintosh Technician that is not interested in "Losing" Data. This is what I would do to repair the drive. Norton Utilities, when run regularly, is a great maintenance tool. If you have nothing of value in the form of Data, run Norton without backing up first. If it repairs the drive...yippee...if not, you will have to Reformat the drive and reinstall all your Apps. The risk is yours to weigh.

Good Luck,

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