Where Did My Icons Go?
A very upset person called my shop convinced that their machine had been “hacked”, probably had “spyware”, and they wanted me to “fix it”.
There was nothing terribly unusual about that, but their answer to one of my basic questions was unusual– what is happening that makes you think your machine has been hacked?
A: “When I turned on my machine, several of my icons were gone.”
That answer (and a few others) told me that, yes, my client’s machine had been altered, but not by a hacker or spyware infection. Their machine had been altered by a “helpful” Windows feature called the Desktop Cleanup Wizard.
The Desktop Cleanup feature keeps track of your usage of the icons on your desktop and periodically (every 60 days) offers to remove the icons you have not recently used. Sometimes it will run when you aren’t looking.. which is what happened to my caller.
The icons are not deleted, they are moved to a folder and you can put them back on the desktop if you want. The folder is C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Desktop\Unused Desktop Shortcuts.
It will also place a shortcut to that folder on your Desktop, as shown.
Tip of the day: Turn off the automatic aspect of the Disk Cleanup tool, and avoid those pop-up balloons and “missing” icons.
1. Right-click a blank spot on the desktop, and then click Properties to open the Display Properties dialog box, click the Desktop tab.
2. Click Customize desktop to open the Desktop Items dialog box.
3. Click to clear the Run Desktop Cleanup Wizard every 60 days check box.
Click OK twice to close the dialog boxes.
* To run the Wizard manually, click Clean Desktop Now on the Desktop Items dialog box. You can perform a manual cleanup at any time, even if you have disabled the wizard.
Today’s free link: Stickies for Windows lets you put yellow sticky notes on your Windows desktop, much like the popular Mac OS application. It is very simple and very customizable. (Far better than the Vista Sidebar widget.)
Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix
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• About Tech Paul
I am a (semi)-Retired CompTIA Certified computer & network technician, and the owner of Aplus Computer Aid. I have been building/fixing networks and computers since Windows 95 was the new kid on the block.
I have regularly posted how-to’s and tricks & tips and general computing advice here since 2007. (Use the Search tool to find answers.) Sometimes I answer (your) specific questions in an article if I believed the answer is generally helpful to “everyone”. All the writing you see is my own, typos and all. There is an implied “IMHO” in what you see here.
You can write to me using this form.
Note: You are responsible for using this blog and its content. I am in no way liable for any losses caused by user error, viruses and/or other malware, hardware or software failure, or any other conceivable reason.
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