My grandson was using my Windows 10 computer and I don’t know what she did, but all my Desktop icons have vanished?! In fact, my Desktop is completely empty! Help!!
Those pesky grandkids. I’m surprised you let her use your computer, actually, and next time I encourage you to either set up a new account for her or ask her to set one up. It’s easy: set up a local user account in Windows 10. Then when you next use your computer, just remember to sign out of her account and sign back into your own, and you’ll be good to go and she won’t be able to monkey with your account or settings!
And don’t panic. She most likely hasn’t done anything at all to your Desktop icons, files, folders, shortcuts, etc, other than simply hide them from view. In fact, there are two different visibility settings for the icons on your Desktop in any version of Windows that you should know about: having your Desktop icons visible or hidden and, completely separately, having your “hidden” files visible. Generally I recommend that you leave hidden files, well, hidden since they’re generally related to the operating system (e.g., Microsoft Windows) and shouldn’t be touched.
Let’s look at both. First, here’s a Desktop with no icons. Quelle horreur!
Definitely a bit disconcerting if you’re used to seeing files, folders and shortcuts on the left side and sprawled across the screen.
The fix is easy, fortunately. Right click on the background (not within any open windows), and a menu pops up:
As you can see, off the View option is a sub-menu with the option of “Show desktop icons“. That’s all you need to select and *poof* all your stuff shows up again, just where it was all along:
That’s one set of controls for one way you can make file/folder icons appear and disappear. Easy once you know it’s there.
But there’s a second control that you should check too, particularly if you’re seeing greyed-out file icons on your Desktop. To get to this control, search for “hidden files” in the Cortana search box:
Choose the match, “Show hidden files and folders” and an ugly old-school settings window pops up:
Why this isn’t in the shiny new Windows 10 interface design, I don’t know, but while you can usually ignore it, in this instance look closely and find this option:
I recommend that you leave this as “Don’t show hidden files, folders or drives”, because if you do opt to see them, you’re just going to have weird stuff like this show up:
Now, between those two sets of controls, I’m betting you can get all your files and folders back to normal post-granddaughter. And next time? Set her up on her own account to save your sanity!