How to Restore Windows Desktop Icons

Some virus and malware can disable and remove desktop icons on infected computer. Even though the threat was removed, icons will still be missing from desktop because virus removal software is limited only in removing the infection. Restoring desktop icons is not covered by any anti-virus programs.

Below, you will find step-by-step guide in restoring your Windows Desktop Icons.


This is a typical way of restoring Windows desktop icons if it was accidentally removed by user or purposely taken out by computer virus.

1. Right-click on any area of the Desktop.
2. Click the Desktop tab from the newly opened window.
3. Choose Customize Desktop.
4. Click the General tab, and then click the icons you wanted to restore on desktop.
5. Click OK to save the settings.

Old Method (Not Supported Anymore)

Registry Backup

1. Go to Start > Run and type regedit on the field. This will open the Windows Registry.
2. On left pane, right-click on My Computer, then Export.
3. On Export Registry File, select “All” at the bottom to include all entries.
4. Save the file and this will be your Registry backup. Take note on the location of the file.

Restoring Desktop Icons

1. Download the script from Kellys-corner . Lift Restrictions – TM, Regedit and CMD and save it to your desktop.
2. After downloading, double click on the file and it will run script to modify registry and restore your default desktop settings.

Note: Some antivirus application may detect and warns of system modification, this is normal because the script was authored to edit the registry.


  1. michelleparton

    Thanks for this advise, my desktop icons are back.

  2. Bob Bobson

    @dan, there is only one link in the post and it is to a .VBS file (Visual Basic Script) that the article mentions.

    (From the title, I thought this article was about saving and restoring the *position* of desktop icons. There’s several shell-extensions for that.)

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