Missing Shortcuts

By Kiltie ·
On one of my computers on my home network, all the shortcuts disappeared. (Win XP Pro - all up to date)

This happened a week ago, I have been researching it since, no luck so far except to suggest a desktop/user login problem.

As I am only user, no, but desktop and admin menus suggest nothing.


All desktop shortcuts went.
All Quick Launch went (except show desktop)
All Systray went (except time)

most oddly of all, but may hold the key....
All Start/Programs links went too, all empty

I can rebuild them manually, reinstall what is needed, but it sure is a puzzle.

Have I lost a shortcut cache maybe?

Only new thing installed was PC-cillin suite (which I have since uninstalled - it was a worse resource hog than Norton)

Any Ideas my friends?

To repeat, it is not a problem, I can reinstall manually, I am merely curious, this is a techie thing that is probably simple, but outside of my experience.

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All Answers

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Check this

by lowlands In reply to Missing Shortcuts

It sounds like most of your personal settings vanaished! These are all stored under for example C:\documents and Settings\Kiltie.
One option is a profile corruption, check if under C:\documents and Settings you can find a directory called something like Kiltie.ComputerName or Kiltie.DomainName and if the "original" directory stille exists. If so, you should be able to copy your shortcuts, QL and so on from there to the new profile.

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To me it sounds as if

by w2ktechman In reply to Missing Shortcuts

your desktop folder was removed, deleted, or corrupted.
You can try to re-create it by blowing away the ntuser.dat file (or renaming it) while logged on as an administrator.
then log back in as the user and it should re-create the profile, but not with all of the other icons (installed apps), as those would need to be re-added.

Or, look in the docs and settings folder for your logon being used, and look in that folder for 'desktop'
are your icons in there?
what about in a different folder?

Also, could you have used the hide desktop icons option?

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Ty for ideas

by Kiltie In reply to Missing Shortcuts

[ side note, may not be related, but the affected machine has just lost all network connectivity, Windows complains a cable is unplugged, silly M$, checked that, replaced cable, etc etc, that ain't the problem, looks like Windows is the problem to me]

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Ok, I get it

by w2ktechman In reply to Ty for ideas

This is a common profile thing that happens when the ntuser file is altered. Since it has the same name but a different SID (or whatever its called these days), it will create a new profile called username.computername or username.domainname depending on the domain association.
you can rename the old folder to something else, and then try it again. I have not tested this scenario, but it may just work.

As far as the profile and icons, that is just the way it goes. To add icons to 'all users\desktop' will add them to all new users as well. But you will need to change the default appearance to be 'classic' instead of 'XP' style.

The good news. Any programs installed, should work fine. They may need to have a small portion re-installed 9for the other user) but usually disks are not needed.

To return it to the point that it was before the NTuser.dat file was renamed, replace the file to its original name and **** away the second profile. Then you should be able to log back on with the icons messed up still.

Now, for the messed up icons. Have you tried start -- run -- sfc.exe /scannow ? It might be a file that was changed by a program (or quarantine).

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As of last night, this is sounding familiar.....

by gadgetgirl In reply to Missing Shortcuts

(Kiltie, just remember I'm not a techie!)

Have no idea of solutions, but I think I may have an inkling on the source of the problem.

Up until Monday, I was using PC-Cillin as well. The version I had is now no longer supported, so I ditched the program, and put on MacAfee instead.

Monday night I started losing icons - although the two folders I have constantly on my desktop as shortcuts stayed put, I lost the recycling bin, Adobe reader shortcut, 2 install shortcuts for programs.

Last night I had only the 2 aforesaid folders left on the desktop. After a while, I miraculously had the MS Outlook shortcut put itself on there also; why, I have no idea - I don't use Outlook or Express at all on my lappie.

Like I said, no solutions as yet, but I think we now have a clearer idea as to the possible culprit.

If it starts on its' peculiarities again tonite, I'll let you know.....


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getting URGENT now

by Kiltie In reply to Missing Shortcuts

Not in the sense of hours, but looks like a total conversion to Linux this weekend, maybe, so we are looking at urgent=days.

XP sux anyway, I will keep one of my machines in the network dual boot 98SE/XP Pro so to be able to help users, another 89SE/2k Pro for those, I have spares, but all low grade stuff, "will do in a pinch" is the phrase that comes to mind.

However, I am still fighting, doing what I do best.

Got a sort of connectivity back (ie lights light up), but can't get the network, however that may need another thread.

Back to this thread:

Whenever I boot, XP creates a new user profile, username.computername in Desktop and Settings.
I don't have that user (Home network, single user)
So I reboot to 98SE, delete it, try XP again.
same thing, username.computername is created.

so..... (scratching my head) I rename the computer, reboot to 98SE, delete the dam thing again, reboot to XP

There is a new username.newcomputername profile appearing.

How the **** do I stop this MONSTER, and tell it what to do?

I.E. How to get it to obey me, instead of doing it's own thing without permission and OVERRIDING MY INSTRUCTIONS?


Linux sure looks sweet now, only problem is it's ahead of schedule and I haven't chosen one yet.

Puppy, Knoppix and Ubuntu are favourites.....

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A partial solution

by Kiltie In reply to Missing Shortcuts

I have managed to get the XP Desktop back now.

But I am still missing many of my program links.

The programs are there, I can access them manually. But this is a real mystery. That's what bugs me. I want to know what happened and why.

As I said before, it is no biggie, really, this machine is about to be switched to Linux anyway, I am fed up with Windows.

I'll keep a couple of machines with XP/2K and 98SE to support users I need to help with.

Thanks to W2k for your advice, wasn't spot on, but was the closest help given.

Any more comments would be appreciated, as this is something I'd still like to solve.

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Hey, You are back!

by w2ktechman In reply to A partial solution

Had a good vacation?

I still think that the icons were moved to another folder accidentally. Sometimes mice will highlight lots of crap.

Another thing would be about the other desktop profiles. Were any of them affected (all users, admin, etc.. And where the shortcuts resided (all users, etc.).

If a shortcut resides in 'all users' desktop folder, it will appear for all users.

I once had a bunch of 'crazy' things happen on a system, and then I blew away the temp files, funny though, it didnt **** them away, it integrated them all into 1 big temp file under the c:\Windows directory. Search the system for *.tmp files and delete them.

(sorry if I am being too basic, I work with people that need help turning on a computer everyday, and cannot follow instructions like 'click on this').

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No vacation

by Kiltie In reply to Hey, You are back!

I was very ill for about 10 days (wish it was a vacation, maybe in California where my fiancee is)

I am stuck alone here in Scotland.


I got XPs desktop back, but the other problems remain.

No programs apparently installed, but they are still there in Program Files folder.
I am gradually reinstalling them, as needed, even though I don't need to, just so they show up again on the start menu.
They even disappeared from add/remove programs menu.

What gets me is the puzzle. What happened?
It's not the desktop shortcuts that bother me, that's no problem really, but why everything disappeared.

I don't like unsolved mysteries like this, especially as I am supposed to be a techie expert ;-)

I know what you mean about the simple users, I have written many articles explaining for rank beginners basic stuff, like what a desktop is, how to cut and paste, what the clipboard is, how to drag and drop, even how to reboot!!!!
(not kidding there - some just switched their machines off by the power switch)

Thanks for your help W2K, I am still curious as to what happened, mainly, but this whole thing is driving me to a permanent Linux solution ahead of schedule.
I was hoping to wait until my replacement machines arrived early next year. (I may still hang on a bit, as I have 98SE and 2K Pro systems as backup and a semi working XP Pro system)

Thank God I created a dual boot system on all of my computers on my home network, that way I can easily save data. (although I can use LiveCD disks in an emergency)


EDIT: I forgot to give Puppy Linux a plug, as one of the smallest yet most powerful distros (50-60MB) it is well worth a mention!!!!
I have over a dozen versions of it. Tigs will add her endorsement no doubt.

It has saved my bacon many times

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Even add/remove programs?

by w2ktechman In reply to No vacation

It sounds like the backup registry key was needed to fix a reg boot problem. If so, it would have made everything the same as right after the OS was first installed (SW key).
The problem that I have is that XP (last I knew), did not auto replace with these backup keys, it is a manual process (unless SP2 changed that, or an update).

That is an odd scenario though.

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