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Missing desktop icons, short cuts and folders

Posted on 2014-01-09
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Last Modified: 2014-01-13
I was working on my computer yesterday during the latter part of the afternoon,  when all of sudden ALL of my desktop icons, short cuts and folders on my desktop DISAPPEAR.   I was like what the hell happen here.   There are several admin accounts on the computer and my account which is an admin account as well.   I restarted the computer (everything fine), however the desktop came up (blank)  to the desktop background  (nothing else).

I can log in as another admin account and everything appears fine,   WHAT is the problem and HOW to I get my stuff back.   My folders and other things that were on my desktop.   From the other admin account I can see and access "my user account AND desktop, folders and short cuts.   What caused the problem and how to I get back to work and or NORMAL??
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Question by:misterd
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by:CompProbSolv
CompProbSolv earned 1000 total points
ID: 39769040
Check if the files are really there but marked as hidden or system.  You will find them in c:\users\{your login name}\desktop.  Make sure that you have enabled viewing of hidden and system files (Control Panel, Folder Options).

There is also a virus that causes this sort of thing, but see what you find above first.
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jhyiesla earned 1000 total points
ID: 39769044
OK, I can think of several possibilities.  First it is Windows so who knows :)

Second - and more likely, is that someone was accessing that computer remotely, like through a mapped drive and deleted the files - after all the desktop and My Documents are all stored in files on the computer.

Third. if you have a roaming profile, someone may have deleted the files there.

Fourth, you may have some infection. Even if the computer looks OK, I'd still run Malwarebytes, just in case.

Fifth, something you were doing or didn't know you were doing could have wiped the files - not likely.

I'd also check the actual folders that should contain your files to see if they're really gone.  You might also want to search the Users folder and sub folders to see if somehow they just got moved to another folder.
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by:misterd
ID: 39769075
I can my desktop, icons, folders and everything else --  when I browse using another admin account on the computer.  However when I login using that account.   There is nothing on the desktop.    It is completely blank.    I have been to open folders and files from my user account (using another admin account)  ---  however as I stated the desktop when I log in is blank.
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Expert Comment

by:CompProbSolv
ID: 39769085
Have you tried enabling "Show hidden files, folders, and drives" and disabling "Hide protected operating system files"?
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by:jhyiesla
ID: 39769111
OK, then if the files themselves are still intact in your folders, I would reboot the computer, not just log off, and log in as another admin.  I would then copy your user folder somewhere else and then delete your user account from the computer. Then log back in as you and let if rebuild a new set of user folders for you.  Then, finally copy things like your desktop icons and folders and documents into the new folder structure from where you saved them in the first place.
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by:Rob Hutchinson
ID: 39769122
Sounds like you are getting a "TEMP" profile when you login.

Can you check the user folders when you are logged in?

If you are getting a TEMP profile folder name instead of your normal user profile folder, make sure that you "do NOT' copy the contents from your older user profile to this TEMP profile folder as when you reboot, all your profile content will be gone.

What I would do is look foor your old profile folder, and make sure that this folder and all your files in this folder are backed up to another drive.

Then remove the old profile using a different login, reboot, and login using your login creating a new profile copying over your old folder content from the backup you made.

Whatever you do, don't delete the old profile until you are sure that you have a backup of the old profile first...meaning look via Explorer to verify the contents are actually there.

via Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\System
Then click the left menu option titled, “Advanced system settings”
Then click the “Settings…” button under the “User Profiles” section
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by:jhyiesla
ID: 39769132
I agree with the last post.  You want to make sure you are copying the true user folder and not something temporary.
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by:jcimarron
ID: 39769270
misterd--
As mentioned there is a virus or a rogue AV program that can hide your desktop items.  
Have you scanned with antivirus and antimalware apps?

This app will help restore your Desktop if the virus is the cause
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/unhide/

If the missing items were only shortcuts you should be able to recreate them.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 39770446
run these to check for malware:
http://www.malwarebytes.org/mbam.php                         MBAM
http://majorgeeks.com/RogueKiller_d6983.html                  Roguekiller
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by:jboddy
ID: 39773995
I have seen roaming profiles with redirected folders for the desktop and My Documents, losing all their icons when the client looses their link to the server.
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