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Tech: Windows 7 Disappearing desktop shortcuts

Bonnie Shaljean 16 Jan 11 - 07:52 AM
Nick 16 Jan 11 - 07:57 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 16 Jan 11 - 08:28 AM
JohnInKansas 16 Jan 11 - 11:34 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 16 Jan 11 - 11:46 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 16 Jan 11 - 11:51 AM
JohnInKansas 16 Jan 11 - 01:37 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 16 Jan 11 - 04:49 PM
Acme 17 Jan 11 - 01:06 AM
JohnInKansas 17 Jan 11 - 02:43 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 17 Jan 11 - 08:22 AM
Bert 17 Jan 11 - 03:01 PM
JohnInKansas 17 Jan 11 - 03:31 PM
JohnInKansas 17 Jan 11 - 09:28 PM
Mr Red 18 Jan 11 - 08:15 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 18 Jan 11 - 09:00 AM
Simon G 18 Jan 11 - 01:28 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 18 Jan 11 - 01:47 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 18 Jan 11 - 01:48 PM
GUEST,S Gilbert 23 Jan 12 - 05:26 PM
JohnInKansas 23 Jan 12 - 07:00 PM
kendall 24 Jan 12 - 08:50 AM
JohnInKansas 24 Jan 12 - 09:07 AM
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Subject: Tech: Windows 7 Disappearing desktop shortcuts
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 16 Jan 11 - 07:52 AM

It's me again: Has anyone else who uses Windows 7 (Home Premium) had trouble with their desktop shortcut icons disappearing, never to return? I also had this problem intermittently before, in this computer's previous incarnation* where some of them would vanish forever without warning, but today - when I was already booted up so it wasn't a new session - I came back to my screen from doing something else and found every single blessed one of them was gone. The only things left were Windows' own ones for the Recycle Bin and the Computer, plus a "real" folder of stuff I had left on there (i.e. not a shortcut). As far as I know, the only things that are missing are shortcuts but I'm not even sure of that. I'm still setting it up so I'm not used to anything enough to remember for sure. They were shortcuts and not Gadgets BTW.

There were about 8 or 9 of them, which have now disappeared without trace. They're not in the bin, and they didn't reappear when I re-booted. So I'll have to do them again, and even then I can't be confident the same thing won't happen, repeatedly.

Anybody else out there had this experience? And does anyone know what's causing this? More to the point, is there any way I can avoid it happening again? I looked through Help, the Control Panel, and everything else I could think of, but it didn't tell me what I need to know.

So once again I am coming to humbly consult the giant Mudbrain. John - got any of those anointing oils & balms left? (I had password-recovery problems and snooped in somebody's thread on the same subject. Must say, it sounds like a great solution: Switch the damn computer OFF and go have a relaxing bath.)

Any help gratefully received. Again. Thanks so much -

Bonnie


*Re my old recurring crashing problem referred to in my last WAAHHHHHH thread, it got so bad (rebooted itself every 3 or 4 minutes) that I finally had to take the thing back to the repair shop and get the hard drive completely wiped & the OS reinstalled, which means I've had to start again from scratch with a newly lobotomised computer and set it up again. Just got done spending hours/days re-installing, updating, transferring files, and organising my desktop. Now my shortcuts are gone... so I get to waste MORE time re-doing work that I just re-did.

Am. Not. A. Happy. Camper.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Windows 7 Disappearing desktop shortcuts
From: Nick
Date: 16 Jan 11 - 07:57 AM

Windows 7 shortcuts and System maintenance tool

Another 'helpful' tool that makes your life easier


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Subject: RE: Tech: Windows 7 Disappearing desktop shortcuts
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 16 Jan 11 - 08:28 AM

Ah Nick, you're a star! Thanks so much.

I love the bit where they actually ADMIT that this issue is annoying, and then go on to cheerfully reassure you that it's quite normal! And then rub salt in the wound with an almost Biblical-sounding incantation that the Great Operator works "on its own accordance and following its own schedule". I'm surprised they didn't tell us that it moved in mysterious ways. But, lest you get too mellow, Big Brother then informs you that if he finds out (finds out!!!) there are more than 4 shortcuts, well, you have been warned. (Does anyone at Micro$oft ever, ever join up the dots when it comes to customer psychology?) (Didn't think so...)

I see that to fix it I have to go to System & Security in the Control Panel and click Fix Problems. Well, of course. Silly me. Of COURSE shortcut icons are a security issue, how could I be so dumb? I see they don't give you an option to shoot the Troubleshooter though.

I had just been using those shortcuts a half-hour earlier, so obviously they weren't broken or old. Unlike me, who is rapidly becoming more of both. Good old Mudcat. Good old Nick. Cheers! B xx

- - -

After playing with Windows 7 options and features you might face the annoying issue that all of your shortcuts (or just some of them) have disappeared from your computer desktop. No fear! That's quite normal. In fact, Windows 7  deletes all those shortcuts which may be corrupted, deleted or broken. The System Maintenance Troubleshooter on its own accordance and following its own schedule, performs a weekly maintenance of the whole operating system to fix  errors, things which have gone "wrong"...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Windows 7 Disappearing desktop shortcuts
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 16 Jan 11 - 11:34 AM

The recommendation at the link that Nick provided, that you just "Turn off System Maintenance" may or may not be a good idea, since disappearing icons may not be the only thing affected.

I don't have a Win7 to look at, but comments from those who do have it indicate that there are frequent and numerous things that the Win7 SM needs to repair to keep the system working and the SM may be necessary to recover from several other "faults" that appear to be fairly common.

While the SM system may appear to be like the "Big Brother is Watching You" mantra well-known from literature, Microsoft views it as a reflection of their "paternal concern" for users, so the full nomenclature is "Big Daddy's System Maintenance," or "Microsoft BDSM" - I think.

At least since WinXP Windows has had a utility for "removing unused icons" and by default in some versions it ran automatically unless you turned it off as a "scheduled maintenance" item. If run automatically it removed all icons that hadn't been "clicked" for some time, and you could change the setting for how old they had to be before they'd be zapped.

You could still run the older cleanup manually if needed using something usually called "Desktop Cleanup." Icons removed from the desktop by the older Desktop Cleanup were saved in a separate folder where you could retrieve them, but I don't know whether Win7 "saves" broken icons that it removes. Someone who has Win7 might want to poke around and see if any can be found, since often the broken ones can be easily "repaired" by editing the path(s) for the shortcuts.

A SUGGESTION FOR ALL WINDOWS VERSIONS:

A problem often encountered is that many people can't recite the complete list of icons on their desktop, so if a few of them disappear it can be difficult to tell exactly what is missing. With the expectation that lots of stuff may disappear at unexpected times, it is an especially good idea to have a record of what your desktop looks like.

MAINTENANCE ITEM: With Windows open but with the desktop clear and all icons fully visible, key Ctl-PrtScn (Control-PrintScreen) to put a picture of your entire desktop in your Clipboard. Open your favorite image editor and paste the picture in it. Save the picture someplace where you'll be able to find it if things seem to have changed on the desktop. (Recommended: Be sure to make the date part of the file name.)

MAKE A NEW PICTURE every time you make a significant change to any desktop icons.

The picture(s) will be a big help if things disappear, but can also be useful when you add new hardware or programs, since often you'll find unexpected new icons that the install programs don't mention and that are NOT explained in the User's Manuals for the new stuff. Right-clicking the icon and reading the path from the "Properties" tab may be the only efficient way to find out what kind(s) of garbage they've slammed onto your computer.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Windows 7 Disappearing desktop shortcuts
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 16 Jan 11 - 11:46 AM

Thanks John - Guess I'd better turn the Troubleshooter back on. But: These were shortcut icons I had JUST USED, and every single shortcut on the whole desktop went missing. They weren't broken, they weren't unused, and they weren't old (the whole computer is only days old).

Does this mean that there's no way to reliably have desktop shortcuts and know they'll stay there, without also compromising other necessary features? What bright spark came up with THAT?

Back to Control Panel, I guess... Very grateful for the help, as always, but feeling a little :-(

Can't imagine why you don't use Win7...!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Windows 7 Disappearing desktop shortcuts
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 16 Jan 11 - 11:51 AM

THE MINUTE I CLICKED THE TROUBLESHOOTER BACK ON THE NEW SHORTCUTS ALL DISAPPEARED...!! I JUST WATCHED IT HAPPEN!!!!

What is one supposed to DO? I really need desktop shortcuts. I can't believe it.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Windows 7 Disappearing desktop shortcuts
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 16 Jan 11 - 01:37 PM

The Desktop Cleanup in older versions removed icons/shortcuts that you haven't used recently, by just moving the shortcuts to a separate folder. That system doesn't look at whether the shortcuts actually work.

The BDSM in Win7 checks for system errors, apparently every time you restart Windows and either fixes or removes anything that it thinks "doesn't work."

Win7 BDSM apparently should not remove any "good shortcuts" so it's possible that some of your icons may have defective (or questionable) links. It's possible that a link might work, but still be considered defective by Win7 BDSM(?), but I don't have an explanation for why that might happen.

(Win7 may also include a "cleanup" for removing infrequently used icons, but that's a different thing than what you're seeing now.)

A pure SWAG (Scientific Wild-Assed Guess) would be that when you turn on BDSM the system immediately goes back to a "last working system configuartion" via System Restore, and the prior version might be one that didn't include newly added icons. Note that this is just a guess. The most likely "restore" would be to the last version that BDSM checked and "approved."

Pending a solution for the disappearing icons, you may be able to protect your shortcuts by sending copies to a folder on your computer that doesn't open at startup. I'm guessing that BDSM only checks things that are open at startup, which includes the "Desktop," and that shortcuts elsewhere won't be checked.

If you right click each icon and choose "Send To Documents" (assuming the choices are similar to Vista) a copy of the shorcut will be sent to your Documents (or "My Documents") folder. Once you've collected them all there, you can copy (or Cut) them and paste them into a "sequestered" folder that you create just for the purpose. Or you can right click the icons and select Copy, and then paste them (one at a time) into the folder where you want to hide them.

You may want to start off by saving just the icons that have been disappearing, if there are just a few of them.

Once you have them all in your private place, you should be able to copy/send one or several back to the desktop whenever necessary.

I can't guarantee that BDSM won't find them in your "secret" folder, but it would be "unexpected behavior" if it does. If the shortcuts do persist in your folder you should be able to just double-click them in your folder to get to your programs, should you get tired of restoring them everytime Win7 invites you to a BDSM session.(?)

To make it easy, you can also right click on the folder in Win Explorer and "send to Desktop" to make a clicky to get to your "saved" icons once you've made sure you have them all safely tucked in. If Win7 makes the desktop icon, and the target folder exists, it should leave that icon alone(?).

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Windows 7 Disappearing desktop shortcuts
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 16 Jan 11 - 04:49 PM

Good idea, thanks - trying the quarantine folder on the desktop now, and we'll see what happens. But with all the Windows 7 users in the world, surely I'm not the only one to want reliable desktop shortcuts? Shouldn't they have patched this problem by now? Anyway, it's a good workaround.

Hey, I bet I know what happened to that can-I-help-you-wipe-your-backside paperclip that used to butt in when you were trying to type: the Troubleshooter strangled it.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Windows 7 Disappearing desktop shortcuts
From: Acme
Date: 17 Jan 11 - 01:06 AM

I use Win7 Ultimate, and haven't seen this happen. I don't let Windows remove "unused icons" to begin with.

If I were you, I would do a Control A on the desktop, to highlight all of the icons, then do Control C to copy them. I would then open a new folder on the desktop and call it something like "Icons" and I would then paste all of the copies into the folder. And there they are as a backup if you lose them from the desktop.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Windows 7 Disappearing desktop shortcuts
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 17 Jan 11 - 02:43 AM

If the folder where you put your backup copies of your icons is on the desktop, you may find that when icons disappear from the desktop they'll also disappear from the folder on the desktop.

Your icons backup folder may need to be "anywhere but on the desktop."

You probably can safely put a shortcut to the folder on the desktop, but I'd recommend that the folder full of shortcuts should be somewhere else, at least until you figure out why some are disappearing.

When icons are removed from the desktop, the program files that their shortcuts point to are not removed, I presume, so a folder that a desktop shortcut points to/opens should have its contents undisturbed.

Microsoft BDSM appears to be telling you that the shortcuts/icons it removes are defective in some way. Perhaps some investigation into whether the programs that they open are "Win7 compatible" would be productive?

The Win7 manager checks for errors when the system starts, but "web gossip" indicates that it can also detect errors while running, and may reboot itself unexpectedly if it finds something significant. It apparently can only make (some) repairs during a boot cycle, but a repair boot may not log you in by your normal "username," especially if it needs a "Safe Mode" to make the repairs. The disappearance of "all of the icons" may just be because it's booted to a "dummy username" that has no icons on its desktop. A reboot with your own username/logon may show a completely different desktop, since each user must set up a "user specific" desktop.

The most widely reported annoyance I've seen with the SM repairs is that it generally can only fix one error (or few) at each reboot, so if there are several significant errors it may go into what appears to be an "infinite cycle of reboots." (A virus/trojan that reinstalls itself each time Windows opens could create a true never-ending-cycle.) Eventually it should get everything fixed in most cases(although some people say the reboot cycles never end). When it finally settles down it may open as user "Guest" or "Everybody" or as "Administrator" with a desktop that you've never added any icons to.

If this might be what's happening you might find that changing users to make sure that you're logged on with your normal logon name (reboot and logon normally or "change users") may show a different set of icons. (?)

But I'm only guessing.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Windows 7 Disappearing desktop shortcuts
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 17 Jan 11 - 08:22 AM

Thanks, guys, good suggestions. Last night I copied all my desktop shortcuts into a folder, which I left sitting on the desktop when I switched off. Fortunately it (and all shortcuts, both inside and out of it) were still there when I booted up this morning, but Windows 7 is capricious, and I am not confident that it won't butt in and cause more mischief at some stage. It has left me unmolested before, just long enough to build up trust, and then BLAM.

So, I've now made a duplicate copy of this shortcuts folder and stuck it in Documents, and whenever I add a new shortcut I will clone a copy both folders. That'll teach SM (which always brings to mind Sado-Masochist) to mess with me.

The programmes are all simple, common, Windows-Approved ones, and I am the only one who works on this computer so it's not password-restricted for different users.

Honestly, what a palaver! Just to use a standard feature that is supposed to make life more convenient. I don't know why they haven't fixed this, except that being the biggest baddest kid on the block, they don't really have to. There are too many people like me who rely on certain programmes that MUST be run on a PC. I have a Mac too, at which I am casting longing glances as I type.

Thanks so much - I'll have to work out how to do an honorary Mudcat Gratitude icon. Cheers -

Bonnie (feeling happier now)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Windows 7 Disappearing desktop shortcuts
From: Bert
Date: 17 Jan 11 - 03:01 PM

Call Microsoft and ask for your money back.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Windows 7 Disappearing desktop shortcuts
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 17 Jan 11 - 03:31 PM

Now that the dust is somewhat settled, perhaps some generic comments may be appropriate.



In Bonnie's second post:

I love the bit where they actually ADMIT that this issue is annoying

"they" would seem to imply the impression that Microsoft admitted something. The site that was linked is not a Microsoft site and the person who "admitted" (bragged would be better) that there was an incovenience is essentially an unidentified SPGWK. (Self-Proclaimed Genius with Keyboard).

In this case, the information appears to be accurate, and with the exception of the minor grammatical error(s) the poster offers good information. A pervasive problem, since about the time that Vista appeared, has been that Microsoft has ceased posting publicly accessible information on any of their products. Help files conained within the products invariably contain no help, and instead refer you to "chat groups" where "someone may have found a solution."

For one specific problem, at the recommended Microsoft recommended/provided chat groups I found more than 80 separate threads related to the problem. Eleven had "solutions," at least five of which would completely disable your computer if applied. Two of the eleven were obviously deliberately malicious, but the others were apparently just stupid. There were only three threads where anyone claiming "Microsoft credentials" gave vague, conflicting, and mostly unusable "answers," but I have no way of verifying that the three "Microsoft" people were actually knowldegeable Microsoft advisors.

Also, in the same post:

(Does anyone at Micro$oft ever, ever join up the dots when it comes to customer psychology?) (Didn't think so...)

The basic problem with "the new Microsoft" is that they actually did make an attempt to do this. Microsoft observed that they got a lot of "dumb questions" from users, and decided to completely redesign everything. They brought in large groups of users and gave them lots of toys to play with, and their "psychologists" and "efficiency analysts" observed what the "users" did, and tried to make the system "more responsive" to their sampling of deliberately "inexperienced users."

Since they intentionally excluded experienced users from their test groups, the test subjects didn't even know of the existence of most of the most essential things the programs could do for experienced users, Microsoft concluded that those things weren't very important and they were obliterated, removed, hidden, and obscured in the "new systems." To avoid confusing anyone, they also removed the previous help files, and replaced them with "visit our web chat site."

Microsoft intentionally attempted to make all of their products "more idiot friendly" and in doing so made them suitable only for "beginner (idiot) users." They intended to widen their "user base," and in doing so they accidentally(?) excluded much of their existing base of professional users.

From a purely commercial view, they probably were "correct," since the vast majority of new users aren't really interested in doing much beyond "twits" and "tweets" and pasting chain letters to each other.

Two years or so ago, news reports (confirmed by "softies" we know) indicated that no senior Microsoft managers associated with Vista remained at Microsoft. We don't know how many left in disgust or how many fled in fear.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Windows 7 Disappearing desktop shortcuts
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 17 Jan 11 - 09:28 PM

No help for Win7, but a "formerly tech" newsletter received today indicates that Microsoft finally has posted information about where commands used in Office 2003 can(?) be found(?) in Office 2010.

Roadmap for the Ribbon Interface offers "interactive" programs that display Office 2003 menus, and when you hover over a command it purports to tell you where the command is among the 745 commands on the eight tabs (in Word, without the Developer tab you have to add to do anything) on the Office 2007 Ribbons.

You can (it says) run the programs from the web site, or download them to your own computer to run when the need arises.

Also offered, is a set of "Roadmaps" that provide Excel spreadsheets showing lists of Office 2003 commands with the "new Ribbon" commands that "sort of" correspond to them.

In typical fashion for the "new Microsoft," the "Interactive Guides" require you to click on the links and go to separate sites where the download buttons are located.

With no explanation, in the following paragraph where the "Roadmaps" are offered, clicking on the links takes you to a page that tells you that they're available, but there ain't no download button to give them to you. (The page appears broken.) For the Roadmaps, back on the previous page, you can right click and "save target as" to get them (which doesn't work for the "interactive programs).

Note that there are separate downloads for each of the Office programs, in each category.

The nuts are still running the asylum, apparently, but anyone using Office 2007 might find these helpful.

Also on the first page linked, under "Additional Stuff" there's a link to "Download Help to Get Started" that pretends that they've produced an actual "Help file" that you can add to your office programs if you can tolerate having two separate help buttons in them. I haven't looked at whether it actually has anything helpful in it, but it's available for anyone interested.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Windows 7 Disappearing desktop shortcuts
From: Mr Red
Date: 18 Jan 11 - 08:15 AM

Would it be adviseable to save all the shortcuts as copies in a place that Windows doesn't know about? MyDocuments\shorts for instance. Alt least it would be easier to re-instate them. Especially as you build up the set.

And if you write protect any of them maybe windows would have a problem removing them.

Just a thought.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Windows 7 Disappearing desktop shortcuts
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 18 Jan 11 - 09:00 AM

Yes, I've got a folder of copies hidden in Documents, as well as another folder of duplicates, which is on the Desktop - this is in addition to the working shortcuts themselves, which are miraculously still sitting out there in harm's way. So I do have clones as a backup if I need them.

How do you write-protect a shortcut? That sounds like a good idea!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Windows 7 Disappearing desktop shortcuts
From: Simon G
Date: 18 Jan 11 - 01:28 PM

This sound like a case of a computer booting up with the wrong time, and then at some point later the time gets corrected after a check over the internet. So the clicks on the icons minutes before appear to be in the distant past.

Computer usually boot with the wrong time when the motherboard battery is drained.

Is this a possibility. Have you seen incorrect creation/modification dates on file, wrong date on emails?

Simon G


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Subject: RE: Tech: Windows 7 Disappearing desktop shortcuts
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 18 Jan 11 - 01:47 PM

Nope. It's a brand new computer with a brand new battery which is kept 100& charged, and I always use it on the mains cos I tend not to move it around. Calendar & time are always accurate.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Windows 7 Disappearing desktop shortcuts
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 18 Jan 11 - 01:48 PM

That hieroglyphic is of course supposed to read 100%...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Windows 7 Disappearing desktop shortcuts
From: GUEST,S Gilbert
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 05:26 PM

I was all excited that I found a thread for a problem that's recent! Til I realized it is now 2012... but I figured why not put my two cents in if they can help the other lost souls with this problem.

My story: last night I decided to turn my computer off. I usually hibernate it so I can leave programs up and whatnot and then shut down/restart a couple times a month. This morning, my desktop was clear of everything but the Gadget type things. Even the single file I had and the recycle bin were gone. I restarted again to no avail. So I asked The Internet how concerned I should be (virus anyone?).

I was relieved to hear this is simply Microsoft being obnoxious and not an imminent threat to life and liberty. I followed the first suggested fix and I was told "Windows will check for routine maintenance issues and remind you when the SM troubleshooter can help fix problems." That didn't sound too bad- I can handle reminders. So I did some digging. Under Control Panel=> System and Security (Find and Fix Problems link => System and Security (Run maintenance tasks link) popped up the problem child. I think. Under "Advanced" I unchecked "Apply repairs automatically." However, it is a zombie and will keep trying to worm back in. Sneaky lil bugger will even return when I click run as administrator.

Bottom line: Turning off SM can be okay if you're willing to run 'maintenance tasks' manually and squash automatic repairs EVERY TIME.

Disclaimer: I am not heavily involved in CS and rarely delve below the surface. So take my conclusion for what it's worth :\


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Subject: RE: Tech: Windows 7 Disappearing desktop shortcuts
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 07:00 PM

I had sort of forgotten about this thread, but since I've been recently forced to go Win7 I've run into a few things that are a lot simpler than they might look, although it usually takes about twice as many clicks as in earlier versions to do much of anything.

Just for one, if you right click on the desktop, and pick "View:"

... ... ... there's a choice to "show desktop icons" that normally will have a checkmark. Click to remove the check and they will all disappear.

... ... ... Clicking the same thing to put the checkmark back makes them all magically reappear.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Windows 7 Disappearing desktop shortcuts
From: kendall
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 08:50 AM

My mudcat icon left town and I've tried everything to get it back. Everytime I see that notice "Installing updates" I know I'm in for it!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Windows 7 Disappearing desktop shortcuts
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 09:07 AM

kendall -

If you set it as your home page you won't need an icon. Where the #@$! else would you want to go? Are you cheatin' on us?

John


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