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On a fresh Windows 7 installation, I created some shortcuts icons to network shares on the Desktop.

Without any warning, these icons are sometimes and randomly deleted from Desktop. I totally don't understand what it happens! They are not hidden, they just are simply deleted.

This behavior occurs on one computer in my company. Others Windows 7 computers are not affected by that. And also it's the first time I encounter that.

Do you have an idea about this problem? Thanks.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

a possible source of the problem is:

pulled from the google cache as the domain appears to have disappeared

" In Windows XP, there is a Desktop Cleanup Wizard that by default runs every 60 days to move unused desktop items to a folder named “Unused Desktop Shortcuts. This feature can be disabled by right clicking the Desktop, go to Properties > Desktop tab > Customize Desktop button > uncheck Run Desktop Cleanup Wizard every 60 days. However for Windows 7, this feature has been changed to system maintenance where it cleans up unused files and shortcuts, and perform other maintenance tasks.

System maintenance is scheduled to run once a week and if it finds more than 4 bad or broken shortcuts, it will remove all of them. As for desktop shortcuts that are valid but not used for more than 3 months, they will also be removed.

To prevent this from happening, you can turn off computer maintenance from Control Panel > Troubleshooting > Change Settings > select Off for Computer Maintenance but this would mean you would stop Windows 7 from checking volume errors, and also checking for troubleshooting history and error reports that are taking up disk space. Another method is to disable checking of unused desktop icons and broken shortcuts.

1. Install Take Ownership right click extension if you haven’t.
2. Open My Computer and navigate to this path C:\Windows\diagnostics\scheduled\Maintenance
3. You can either delete or move this 2 files to another location on your hard drive.
TS_UnusedDesktopIcons.ps1 > For checking unused desktop icons
TS_BrokenShortcuts.ps1 < For checking broken shortcuts

Once both of this ps1 files are moved out of the Maintenance folder, the weekly scheduled computer maintenance will no longer check for unused or broken shortcuts and automatically remove them from your desktop.

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Tags: broken shortcut, computer maintenance, shortcut, unused shortcut

Comments 2 Responses to “Windows 7 Shortcuts Missing or Disappeared after System Maintenance”

1. PD says: October 6, 2010 at 5:05 pm

  Works great!! I created a folder within the maintenance folder to store the ps1 files in case I ever need to put them back.

2. Meitzi says: October 21, 2010 at 1:58 pm

  If Not Exist “%SystemRoot%\diagnostics\scheduled\Maintenance\TS_UnusedDesktopIcons.ps1″ goto VALMIS
  takeown /a /f “%SystemRoot%\diagnostics\scheduled\Maintenance\TS_UnusedDesktopIcons.ps1″
  takeown /a /f “%SystemRoot%\diagnostics\scheduled\Maintenance\TS_BrokenShortcuts.ps1″
  icacls “%SystemRoot%\diagnostics\scheduled\Maintenance\TS_UnusedDesktopIcons.ps1″ /c /grant *S-1-5-32-544:f
  icacls “%SystemRoot%\diagnostics\scheduled\Maintenance\TS_BrokenShortcuts.ps1″ /c /grant *S-1-5-32-544:f
  md c:\drivers\backup
  del “c:\drivers\backup\TS_UnusedDesktopIcons.bak” /F
  del “c:\drivers\backup\TS_BrokenShortcuts.bak” /F
  move “%SystemRoot%\diagnostics\scheduled\Maintenance\TS_UnusedDesktopIcons.ps1″ c:\drivers\backup\
  move “%SystemRoot%\diagnostics\scheduled\Maintenance\TS_BrokenShortcuts.ps1″ c:\drivers\backup\


A scheduled clean up task that removes unused icons could be moving them

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I changed the name of some of the listed .ps1 files I found thanks to your link. Maybe this will work. Thanks for your advice! – Velcro Nov 24 '10 at 21:00
NOTE: THE ABOVE LINK IS DOWN AS OF 01-29-2011. Please post answers in full, or quote and give reference. – Mike Jan 29 '11 at 19:31
@Mike there u go – RobotHumans Jan 29 '11 at 21:47
The first remedy (disable maintenance) worked just fine for me; I would like to try the second one (remove TS_BrokenShortcuts.ps1) as it looks better to disable just that one thing. Nevertheless I get a message saying I can not delete/remove/rename the file for lack of privileges. It is at a computer at work(s' network), but as far as I can see I have administrative powers at it (my PC not the net). Any idea? Is there some "mega-admin" powers I don't have? – Rolazaro Azeveires Aug 19 '13 at 19:26

I am an IT Admin where I work. This was a problem for one of our users.

Windows 7 has a System Maintenance troubleshooter. It will detect and delete broken shortcuts. If you have a shortcut to a network drive, and the connection is intermittent (cable issue maybe), the System Maintenance troubleshooter will see the shortcut as broken. It will be automatically deleted.

To disable the System Maintenance troubleshooter, follow the steps below.

Also, you will want to correct the intermittent connection. First, try swapping the cable for one known to be good.

Retrieved 01-29-2011 but abridged/edited

Desktop shortcuts disappear in Windows 7

SYMPTOMS On a computer that is running Windows 7, shortcuts that you create on the desktop disappear.

CAUSE These shortcuts are regarded as broken and are deleted by the System Maintenance troubleshooter.

The System Maintenance troubleshooter performs a weekly maintenance of the operating system. The System Maintenance troubleshooter either fixes problems automatically or reports problems through Action Center. When there are more than four broken shortcuts on the desktop, the System Maintenance troubleshooter automatically removes all broken shortcuts from the desktop.

WORKAROUND To work around this issue, use one of the following methods.

Method 1: Keep the number of broken shortcuts on your desktop to four or less.

Method 2: If you must have more than four broken shortcuts on your desktop, you can disable the System Maintenance troubleshooter.

Note If you disable the System Maintenance troubleshooter, all the maintenance tasks that it performs are disabled. Therefore, we recommend that you use Method 1.

To disable the System Maintenance troubleshooter, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
  2. Under System and Security, click Find and fix problems.
  3. On the left navigation pane, click Change settings.
  4. Set Computer Maintenance to Off.

MORE INFORMATION You may create shortcuts on the desktop that frequently become "broken." For example, a desktop shortcut for a USB device may be regarded as broken if the USB device is not connected when the System Maintenance troubleshooter performs its maintenance.


  • Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Windows 7 Home Basic
  • Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Windows 7 Ultimate
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