Why Do My Desktop Icons Keep Reappearing?


Windows makes it easy to toggle your desktop icons on and off, and after electing to hide the icons, they shouldn't reappear. When they do, it might signify a problem such as a virus or it might be a part of the configuration of the operating system. Learning the possible reasons for the reappearing icons is the first step in preventing the problem in the future.

Show Desktop Icons

  • Show Desktop Icons is a feature available in the later versions of Windows operating systems. You can access this feature by right-clicking a blank area on your desktop. Be careful not to place your cursor near an icon so that Windows can distinguish between the right-click menu for the desktop settings and the menu available for each individual icon. After right-clicking, position your cursor over the View option to open another context menu, and then click the box next to Show Desktop Icons. When the box is checked, the desktop icons will appear; when the check mark isn't there, the icons won't be present.


  • If it's a single icon you're having problems with, you may need to change the ownership of the icon. This is a security feature that controls who can and can't make changes, such as deleting an icon. After setting the ownership privileges to give yourself access, Windows should let you get rid of the icon. Right-clicking on an icon provides access to the security features via the Properties option. Clicking the Security tab at the top of the Properties dialog box displays the ownership settings. Clicking Edit lets you change the ownership to include your user ID if you have administrator privileges.


  • A virus may be turning the icons back on when you reboot your computer. The most effective way to check for a virus is to start your computer in Safe Mode and run a scan of your whole system. Safe Mode turns off unnecessary background and runs your computer with the minimum processes, preventing viruses from running. You can access the Safe Mode by restarting your computer and pressing the F8 key repeatedly. A boot options menu appears giving you the option to start the computer in Safe Mode. After your computer boots in Safe Mode, scan your computer for viruses and remove any that are found.

Asus Computers

  • Asus puts a power management function on its systems that may interfere with the Show Desktop Icons feature in Windows. The Power4Gear application has its own function that lets you hide and display icons. If your computer has this program installed, you'll need to turn the icons off in that program. You can find out if the Power4Gear application is installed by right-clicking the Power icon in the lower-right corner of the desktop. The Power4Gear program appears in the context menu if it's available. You can change your power plan to Quiet Office and check the "Hide Desktop Icons" box within the program to hide your desktop icons.

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