How do I Get Missing Icons to Reappear on a Mac Desktop?

Written by marshal m. rosenthal
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How do I Get Missing Icons to Reappear on a Mac Desktop?
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

The OS X operating system is responsible for running an Apple Macintosh computer. The system can become overwhelmed and fail to display icons on the desktop. You can employ several methods to restore missing icons to the Mac’s desktop, none of which will harm the OS X operating system. You need neither additional software nor extensive experience with OS X.

Skill level:
Easy

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Go to the “Apple” menu. Select “Restart” from the “System Services” drop-down sub-menu.

  2. 2

    Select the “Restart” button from the pop-up menu or wait a few seconds for an automatic restart.

  3. 3

    Wait as the Mac reboots itself and the desktop appears on the screen. The missing icons should now appear on the desktop.

  1. 1

    Double-click on the main hard drive of the Mac to open its window. Double-click on the ‘Users” folder inside of the window to open the “Users” window.

  2. 2

    Double-click on the icon inside of the window that looks like a little house.

  3. 3

    Double-click on the “Library” folder to open its windows. Scroll down to the “Preferences” folder.

  4. 4

    Double-click on the “Preferences” folder to open its window. Scroll down to the “com.apple.finder.plist” file. Drag the file to the Trash. Right-click on the Trash icon and select “Eject” from the pop-up menu. Close all open windows on the desktop by clicking the red button in the upper-left corner of each window.

  5. 5

    Go to the “Apple” menu and select the “Restart” sub-menu from “System Services.” Click on “Restart” on the confirmation window. Wait as the Mac reboots and the missing icons reappear on the desktop.

  1. 1

    Double-click on the Mac’s main hard drive. Double-click on the Applications folder in the window that appears.Double-click on the Utilities folder to open its window.

  2. 2

    Double-click on the Disk Utility program to launch it.

  3. 3

    Select the Mac’s main hard drive’s icon in the left column of the Disk Utility program’s main screen. Click on the “First Aid” tab at the top of the window.

  4. 4

    Click on the “Repair Permissions” button at the bottom of the window. Wait as a series of lines scroll up inside of a window in the middle of the Disk Utility program’s main screen. Quit the Disk Utility program once the scrolling has stopped. Close any open windows on the desktop.

  5. 5

    Go to the “Apple” menu and select “Restart” from the “System Services” sub-menu. Click “Restart” in the confirmation window that appears. Wait as the Mac reboots and the missing icons appear on the desktop.

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