My C:\programdata\desktop folder has apparently gone missing.

How do I reinstall it, without doing a complete recovery? My Recycle Bin is empty and I know I would not have deleted this file.

  • 3
    Please move this to superuser. Also, there is no such file as C:\programdata\desktop. It should be in C:\Documents and Settings\[your username]\Desktop for Windows XP. Jul 27, 2009 at 12:29
  • 6
    There is such a folder in Vista/Windows 7: C:\ProgramData
    – Ivo Flipse
    Jul 27, 2009 at 12:38
  • 2
    Ahh, I love people who never look past XP :-). Although it makes me wonder what one would want to do in that folder; it's just a link to C:\Users\Public\Desktop here anyway.
    – Joey
    Aug 13, 2009 at 11:29
  • If I navigate to C:\ProgramData\Desktop, the folder is empty. Yet if I go to C:\Users\Public\Desktop, there are a number of shortcuts in there. Something is screwy with Vista/7's virtual folders.
    – Damien
    May 28, 2011 at 1:04

2 Answers 2


I think that's a hidden folder.
2 ways of making it visible:

  • Control Panel > Folder Options > View Tab > Select Show hidden folders.
  • Just type in c:\ProgramData\Desktop in the commandbar on top of explorer. This should show the contents of the folder.
  • It's indeed a hidden folder, this trick should do it!
    – Ivo Flipse
    Jul 27, 2009 at 12:39

and when it's gone.. go to an admin command prompt and type the following.

cd \programdata

mklink /j desktop c:\users\public\desktop

attrib +s +h desktop

this restores it.

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