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Desktop Icons Don't Appear In Windows Xp

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hi! i'm running windows XP. i saw shred's post up above about patching XP for security purposes, so i went to the windows update sight and got all sorts of fixes and patches installed. i did the necessary restart. now when i reboot or log back in, about half the time the desktop icons don't appear, just my mouse cursor and the wallpaper image.

when my icons do appear the other half of the time, a little window pops up right in the center of the screen saying something about a windows reinstall, IIRC, and then a Norton window pops up oon top of that one saying that it won't allow it, IIRC.

i haven't downloaded and installed service pack 2 yet. i was going to wait until i got some stuff backed up. just in case downloading sp2 does make my computer go haywire.

i did a google search, and got maybe one good answer from the windowsnetworking.com website. something about at the command prompt, change to the %SystemRoot% folder, remove hidden attribute from the file, and some more greek speak i know nothing about a shelliconcache.

i had to access IE through the windows task manager (hitting ctrl + alt + del). this is a PITA!

any ideas what gives?


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Hey John,

Nope, sorry, no ideas. But my computer is experiencing the same problem. I'll probably go back to windows update today and see if they got a patch for the patch, or if Norton is screwing my computer up too.

First time I might have ever had a problem with Norton.

I'll keep you posted if I find anything that works.


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Something that you might try that's worked for me in the past...

Do a search for the file "IconCache.db" It's a hidden system file, so you'll need to search for files and folders containing "IconCache," and use "More Advanced Options" to search system and hidden folders.

Rename the file "IconCache_db.old" or the like, shut down, and cold-boot your machine.

IconCache.db will be reconstructed automatically, and this may solve your problem.

Usual cautions apply, YMMV...

(PS - After hard-won and not uniformly pleasant experience, I've dumped all Norton Utilities save the anti-virus - found that NSW was causing more problems than it was solving, particularly in later versions. XP does everything you need. May be contributing to your woes...)

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I installed Windows Service Pack 2 and that got rid of the disappearing icons problem.

I do still have some error messages popping up though. Plan on take your all's (the computer subforum) advice on anti-virus software, anti-spyware and hijackthis.


PM sent png

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