Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Some Of My Icons Vanished*

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 unusedor 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.
unchk

* 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 download: 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.)

* This question has come up twice this week, so I decided to repost this article. It first appeared 8/25/08.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

Share this post :

October 8, 2009 - Posted by | computers, how to, Microsoft, PC, tech, Vista, Windows, XP | , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Post your Comment/Question

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: