If the desktop icons disappear in Windows XP, right-click on a blank area on the desktop, move the cursor over Arrange Icons By, and then select Show Desktop Icons. The process of restoring missing desktop icons varies depending on the version of Windows and the exact problem.
If you are using a Windows 7 computer or a later version, right-click on a blank area on the desktop, select View, and then tick the check box next to Show Desktop Icons. Open the Windows Task Manager if the desktop icons are still missing.
Click File on the Processes tab, select New Task, and type “explorer.exe” into the dialogue box. Click OK to restart the Explorer process and restore the desktop icons, Start button and Windows taskbar. If the desktop icons have disappeared due to corrupt files, click Start, and type “cmd” into the dialogue box. Right-click on CMD in the search results, and click Run as Administrator. Open the Command Prompt, and then type “sfc /scannow” to scan and repair damaged files.
Alternatively, if the taskbar, Start button and desktop icons have both disappeared, press and hold the power button for five seconds to turn off the computer. Press the power button again to turn on the computer and recover the missing desktop icons and features.