How to Restore Unused Desktop Shortcuts

Written by anne hirsh
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How to Restore Unused Desktop Shortcuts
Easily restore desktop icons that offer shortcuts to progams and folders. (add directory icon image by michele goglio from

Many versions of Windows will automatically clean your desktop periodically by removing shortcuts you don't use. The good news is that Windows does not delete these shortcut icons. Instead, it stores them in a special folder, also located on your desktop, titled "Unused desktop shortcuts." You can easily restore any or all shortcuts from this folder. If you have accidentally deleted the folder or the icons within it, follow the instructions in Section 2 to restore your desktop icons.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Click the "Unused desktop shortcut" folder twice to open it, or right-click on the icon and select "Open" from the menu that appears.

  2. 2

    Click an icon you want to restore and hold down the mouse button rather than releasing it.

  3. 3

    Drag the icon to a blank spot on your desktop and release the mouse button.

  4. 4

    Repeat the process for any icon you want to restore.

  1. 1

    Click "Start," then "Programs" or "All Programs."

  2. 2

    Click the folder holding the program you want to restore if it is inside a folder. For example, to restore a Skype icon, click the "Skype" folder to reveal the actual "Skype" icons. If your program is not inside a folder, skip this step.

  3. 3

    Right-click the program icon you want to restore.

  4. 4

    Select "Create shortcut" from the menu. Your computer will create a new desktop shortcut. If "Create shortcut" is not a listed option, click "Send to," and then "Desktop (create shortcut)."

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