Windows 7 is the operating system that has been used up by many people these days. One problem that many of the people using Windows 7 encounter is the disappearing of icons from the desktop. For many a people, this is no less than a mystery. They consider this to be a virus or something similar in nature that has caused the removal of desktop icons from the computer. This is actually because of a myth behind this process.

The myth behind the desktop icons disappeared:

There is a built in service known as the System Maintenance Troubleshooter in the Windows 7 that checks for all those icons that are having broken links to the destination. Once the utility gets to know the shortcuts that are not linked to anything or the link is broken or offline, the utility deletes the icons.

This system wide check occurs once a week within your system. The system maintenance troubleshooter checks for all the broken links. It attempts to re-build the broken links at the first place through another utility known as the Action Center. In case the System Maintenance troubleshooter detects more than four broken shortcuts on the desktop and the action center cannot fix either of them, the System Maintenance troubleshooter automatically deletes those icons from the desktop setting you in a mystery.


You can prevent the deletion of these icons in either of the following methods:

  • Limit the number of icons on your desktop that are broken for most of the time. Try keeping active desktop shortcuts so that you don’t misplace any of them. The count of broken icons should be no more than four. Keep it even lower than that.
  • If you are required to keep the broken shortcuts on your desktop that are more than four in quantity, you can certainly have the System Maintenance troubleshooter disabled on your computer. The utility won’t run and you won’t have your broken shortcuts identified. This can be dangerous at times as the System Maintenance Troubleshooter performs system wide actions just to protect your computer from many issues; therefore disabling the utility could be dangerous. It maintains many other tasks as well.
  • You can disable the System Maintenance troubleshooter by following the instructions below:
    • Click Start Menu, and then Control Panel.
    • Under the System and Security section search for Find and fix problems.
    • You would have a link to Change settings on the left navigation panel of the Find and fix problem window.
    • You can turn off the System Maintenance troubleshooter here by setting the Computer Maintenance to off.

There could be several examples to broken icons on your desktop. The most common of such examples is the link to any Mass Storage device that is portable and you connect to your computer. You might create the link to access that through your desktop but the System Maintenance troubleshooter would find it broken when the device would be detached from the computer. Another example could be of a network resource available on the local area network. It would be found broken in case the network resource is down.