I have discovered what seems like a bug in Windows 10. I wonder if anyone else has experienced this and if so, have any workarounds?

I have two internal drives. Windows 10 is installed on an SSD, the second drive is a HDD with my data files. I have changed the location of Documents, Desktop and Downloads to be this HDD instead of C:\Users*username* So far all is good.

Yesterday I turned on Bitlocker for the HDD where my user folders reside. When I booted into Windows again after a restart, I got a prompt that my desktop user folder obviously couldn't be accessed (along with a blank desktop). After entering my Bitlocker password, the desktop went back to normal.

The problem is that Windows 10 Start Menu and task Bar lost all icons and customizations because of this. Upon boot the taskbar is empty and the start menu has reset to default. I am also unable to pin anything to them or change them whatsoever.

The only way to get the taskbar and start menu to work and accept pinning anything to them is to move my Desktop folder out of the Bitlocker encrypted HDD back to C:\Users*username*, so it can be loaded automatically upon boot.

1) Is there a workaround for this behavior so I can keep my desktop in the encrypted drive without loosing access to my taskbar and start menu pins?

2) Is there a way to get back my old start menu? After I turned Bitlocker on it has disappeared and been replaced with the default start menu. After I moved my Desktop folder to C:\Users*username* I can again pin stuff to it, but all my old pinned programs and changes are nowhere to be found and didn't reset after changing the location of my Desktop. Where are they?

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  • I presume you have used this procedure: pcworld.com/article/3025345/windows/…. What about other personal folders - they remained on C:? – Vojtěch Dohnal Apr 2 '17 at 14:55
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    Try to kill explorer.exe using task manager after entering the Bitlocker password and then run explorer.exe from Task manager, what happens? (Of course with desktop on HDD) – Vojtěch Dohnal Apr 2 '17 at 14:57
  • What you describe, isn't a big, it's simply undefined behavior – Ramhound Apr 2 '17 at 15:46
  • @VojtěchDohnal Yes that is what I have been doing for the last couple of years. I just never encrypted my separate HDD until now. Only Documents, Desktop and Downloads went to the HDD, the rest remained on C. C is not encrypted, only the HDD. I will try your suggestion now! – Karl Apr 3 '17 at 20:26
  • @VojtěchDohnal restarting explorer.exe brought my start menu and pinned items back. I wonder if the same problem happens with VeraCrypt, or if I used my TPM instead of password for encrypting the HDD. Do you know if this can be reported to Microsoft somehow? – Karl Apr 3 '17 at 20:33

Alright, the problem is the Desktop directory. Rather than force end explorer process which cause another issue, today i found it is better to moved Desktop directory back to C:\Users\username\Desktop and create a symbolic link to keep the desktop files secured with Bitlocker.

The steps are:

  1. Moved back Desktop directory to original location C:\Users\username\Desktop
  2. Moved Desktop files to safe location (in this case to D:\username\Desktop)
  3. Delete Desktop directory in step-1
  4. Create Dekstop directory symbolic link using elevated command prompt:


mklink /D C:\Users\username\Desktop D:\username\Desktop

This way the Taskbar Pinned apps - in my case - not disappeared unlike before.

Hope this help.

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