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Old Jul 23, 2007, 12:23 PM   #1
Ollie Cromwell
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Weird OS X Problem Desktop icons disappeared

Anyone come across a problem where all the desktop icons disappear? I also cannot right click on my desktop to bring up a contextual menu, my machine appears to be running faultlessly apart from that. I have run Onyx to reset permissions and have checked the disk but cannot seem to find anything wrong.

Help!!!


Running OSX 10.10 on a quad core 2.66 Mac Pro.
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Old Jul 23, 2007, 12:32 PM   #2
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One thing that could cause this to happen is accidentally renaming the Desktop folder in your user folder to something other than "Desktop".
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Old Jul 23, 2007, 12:33 PM   #3
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Try restarting Finder
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Old Jul 23, 2007, 12:44 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swiftaw View Post
Try restarting Finder
or the computer.
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Old Jul 23, 2007, 12:47 PM   #5
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Have you by chance been connected to an external monitor recently?

Had a co-worker "lose" a folder on his desktop this weekend due to it simply being off-screen. View->Arrange By->whatever brought the folder back to the screen.
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Old Jul 23, 2007, 12:48 PM   #6
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I have tried all the basic stuff like resetting permissions reasing all preference files and restarting the machine.

It seems weird the desktop is locked off, I cant right click on the desktop, (I can on an application window and even on the dock, just not on the desktop itself?)
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Old Jul 23, 2007, 12:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atszyman View Post
Have you by chance been connected to an external monitor recently?

Had a co-worker "lose" a folder on his desktop this weekend due to it simply being off-screen. View->Arrange By->whatever brought the folder back to the screen.
My Mac pro is connected to 2 external monitors, neither of them is the issue, it is not just a single folder that has disappeared, all my drive icons, folders and files have disappeared, I have a blank inaccessible desktop...

I cant go to view and sort my icons by the way as I cannot right click on my desktop. Part of the problem that I mentioned......
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Old Jul 23, 2007, 12:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ollie Cromwell View Post
My Mac pro is connected to 2 external monitors, neither of them is the issue, it is not just a single folder that has disappeared, all my drive icons, folders and files have disappeared, I have a blank inaccessible desktop...

I cant go to view and sort my icons by the way as I cannot right click on my desktop. Part of the problem that I mentioned......
Sorry about that, I think of laptops most of the time... what it should have read was additional monitors rather than external.

You don't have to right click to be able to do View->whatever, the View menu is in the menu bar and accessible by left clicks as well.

I realized it was a long-shot but thought I'd offer the idea just in case it was a similar problem to one I'd seen recently.
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Old Jul 23, 2007, 12:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atszyman View Post
Sorry about that, I think of laptops most of the time... what it should have read was additional monitors rather than external.

You don't have to right click to be able to do View->whatever, the View menu is in the menu bar and accessible by left clicks as well.

I realized it was a long-shot but thought I'd offer the idea just in case it was a similar problem to one I'd seen recently.
What is weird is that the whole View menu is greyed out and inacessible, other menus are working but not that one? Hmmmm..
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Old Jul 23, 2007, 01:25 PM   #10
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What happens when you take a screenshot? (CMD+SHIFT+4)

OSX should save the screenshot to your desktop (unless you have changed that with a 3rd party hack).
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Old Jul 23, 2007, 01:33 PM   #11
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I've had this problem...very rarely...but sometimes my external HD icons will disappear but if I go into Finder I can see them. This is on a MacBook, if it makes any matter.
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Old Jul 23, 2007, 01:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kilamite View Post
What happens when you take a screenshot? (CMD+SHIFT+4)

OSX should save the screenshot to your desktop (unless you have changed that with a 3rd party hack).
I can take a screenshot, if I open a finder window and navigate to my desktop folder it is there (along with everything else that should be on my desktop)

This is really causing me a lot of head scratching!
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Old Jul 23, 2007, 03:00 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ollie Cromwell View Post
I can take a screenshot, if I open a finder window and navigate to my desktop folder it is there (along with everything else that should be on my desktop)

This is really causing me a lot of head scratching!
Here's a MacFixIt Forum's Thread with some suggestions for a problem that sounds identical to yours.

Another question: Do you have any 3rd party Finder modification/navigation tools installed?
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Old Jul 31, 2007, 04:23 PM   #14
MissEss
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Similar issue

I had some app icons disappear .. and then my entire profile vanished. Not sure if this is the same thing you are experiencing, but a heads up that if you haven't backed up in a while, do it now.
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Old Aug 12, 2007, 05:00 AM   #15
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My hard drive icon disappeared when I took a screenshot (like the screenshot file was written to the desktop in the place where the hard drive should have been, and hard drive was gone). Restarting finder did the trick!
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Old Sep 24, 2008, 06:01 PM   #16
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Here's how you fix this. Close all open apps except for Finder. You can Command+tab to cycle through them. Use Command+q to quit each one. Once you are sitting at your desktop with Finder having focus on the top menu bar, go to View > Clean up. Voila, they should return. Apple REALLY needs to fix this problem. Any time you move your icons around on the external monitor, they seem to "stick" to that monitor and when you unplug your laptop from the external monitor, they don't automatically move back to where they were previously located on the laptop screen. It's been a problem ever since OSX came out. Apple knows about it, but apparently don't care enough to fix.

Welcome to Apple - think different. YAY!
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Old May 27, 2009, 05:05 AM   #17
phenotypical
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official fix

I had this problem too - running 10.5.7

Clears up by logging out and back in.

But this solution from Apple support seems to have fixed it: http://support.apple.com/kb/TS1916

"Make sure the computer name in Sharing preferences is not blank. Also, make sure the computer name only includes ASCII characters from following set:
0123456789abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyzABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ"
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Old Jun 5, 2009, 07:35 AM   #18
phenotypical
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official fix not

Eh, thought that fixed it. Went over a week without seeing it, but it happened again this morning. Weird. Logging out and back in always fixes it - but would be nice to see resolved.
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Old Jun 29, 2009, 08:46 AM   #19
bradc6
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Same problem here

MacBook Pro 2.33, ghz 3 gb ram
connects to an Xserve
system 10.5.7

run Entourage, Mail, Photshop, QXpress, Irritator, typical design crud. Methinks it is an OS issue.
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Old Jul 1, 2009, 04:12 PM   #20
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me too

This just happened to me after a restart. Weird. I just upgraded iphoto, but i doubt that has something to do with it. M$ entourage is doing som kind of update as well, i put the blame that way.
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Old Jul 10, 2009, 09:11 PM   #21
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me too

I had this problem twice now. The first time I restarted and everything appeared again as it should but re-aligned to the right, not in my customized pattern.

They disappeared again, this time I relaunched Finder and everything came back as they should in their customized places.

I went back and renamed my computer in the shared section underneath system preferences. I had a "." in my name, so I am hoping this doesn't happen again after the renaming. If it does I'll let you all know.

I'm currently running 10.5.7 on a MBP
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Old Jul 10, 2009, 09:14 PM   #22
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Yeah, restart and shutdown. My computer acts funny if I don't shut it down once in a while
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Old Jul 28, 2009, 07:51 PM   #23
Joseph Meltzer
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Solution

Try going into

/Users/username/Library/Preferences/

open up

com.apple.Finder.plist in textedit.

look for the "CreateDesktop" entry and change "false" to "true".

Hope this worked
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Old Aug 31, 2009, 01:46 AM   #24
pdigz
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This worked for me...

Had this problem----desktop unresponsive, no context menus, icons disappeared, etc ----to be completely honest this happened hours after installing Snow Leopard on my Macbook Pro AND , I'm sure not coincidentally, uninstalling Path Finder. I tried everything on this and other forums and nothing worked.
Tried editing Finder Plists, nothing worked, but...
This did:

1. Go to user/library/preferences/ and
2. Remove (move/delete/whatever--I originally just moved them but they are not needed so ended up deleting) these two files:
com.apple.finder.plist
and
com.apple.FolderActions.plist

3. Force quit to relaunch Finder.

Everything back to normal (in my case).

Good luck, hope it works for you, this was driving me crazy.

Last edited by pdigz; Aug 31, 2009 at 01:52 AM.
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Old Sep 9, 2009, 08:05 AM   #25
nhawk
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Try this...

Start Terminal from Spotlight (Apple+Space). In Terminal type "killall Finder." This will restart all instances of Finder. The icons came back on the desktop for me.
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