To restore desktop icons in Windows 8, right-click on the desktop, select Personalize, click on Change Desktop Icons, choose the desktop icons you wish to restore in the Desktop Icon Settings window, and click OK. In addition, enabling the Show Desktop Icons option, restarting Windows Explorer and undoing the changes made by malware may restore desktop icons in Windows 8.
If the desktop icons are only hidden from view, right-click on the desktop, select View in the context menu, and click on Show Desktop Icons. If the Start menu and taskbar are also missing, a program or system error may have caused Windows Explorer to crash. To restart Windows Explorer, press Ctrl+Shift+Esc, go to the File menu in the Task Manager, select Run New Task, type "explorer.exe" in the dialog box, and click OK.
Certain types of malicious programs hide desktop icons, in which case installing an anti-malware program is necessary to scan for the infection and remove it. Once the computer is clean, utility programs such as Unhide can restore desktop icons and all other data hidden by malicious programs.
By default, the Windows 8 desktop only displays the File Explorer, Internet Explorer and Recycle Bin. The Desktop Icon Settings window can add more desktop icons, including Computer, Control Panel and Network. In addition, it can change the appearance of the icons and prevent themes from changing them.