[Fix] Desktop or Other Apps Tile Missing on Start Screen in Windows 8 and Later, Can’t Add from All Apps Page

Start Screen in Windows 8 is one of the most impressive things (for some people) and at the same time one of the most irritating things (for many people) present in the OS. Start Screen works like a replacement for the good old Start Menu. It shows big tiles of programs in form of a grid. You can add new tiles or remove existing tiles to customize Start Screen appearance. You can check out following tutorial to learn more about Windows 8 Start Screen if you are not familiar with it:

[Windows 8 Start Screen] How to Pin, Resize, Move, Close or Uninstall App Tiles?

Windows 8 also shows all program shortcuts in a new "All Apps" page which is actually a part of the new Start Screen. If you removed a shortcut accidentally or if you want to restore a removed shortcut, you can go to this "All Apps" page and can pin or add the shortcut again to Start Screen as mentioned in point 2 of this guide.

But sometimes Windows 8 users face a strange problem. Actually Windows 8 Start Screen shows a rectangle tile of Desktop which allows you to switch to Desktop from Start Screen. Due to some unknown reasons, sometimes Desktop tile gets deleted from Windows 8 Start Screen.


If the user tries to add it using All Apps page by pressing Ctrl+Tab keys, it doesn't show in the list as shown in following screenshot:


It becomes quite irritating and there is no way to add the Desktop tile back to Start Screen. The reason behind this strange problem is unknown but I have seen this problem in a few computers. In fact I have received few emails from AskVG readers regarding this annoying problem. It might be possible that some 3rd party software removed the tile or may be temporary files cleaning software such as CCleaner removed the shortcut? But the real reason is still unknown. Anyway lets move to the solution of this problem!

Actually Desktop tile shown at Start Screen is a special type of shortcut which is present in "Programs" folder and if the shortcut gets deleted from the folder, it also disappears from Start Screen and you'll not find it in "All Apps" page as well.


To restore Desktop tile at Start Screen, you just need to copy Desktop shortcut in "Programs" folder again and it'll reappear at Start Screen.

If you are also facing Desktop tile missing in Windows 8 Start Screen problem, you can follow these simple steps to fix the problem:


1. Press "Win+R" keys together to open RUN dialog box. Now copy following string in text box and press Enter:

%programdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

It'll open "Programs" folder containing various shortcuts which are shown at Start Screen or "All Apps" page.

2. Now download Desktop tile shortcut using following link:

Download Desktop Tile for Windows 8 Start Screen

Its a ZIP file, extract it and you'll find a file "Desktop" in the extracted folder.

3. Copy "Desktop" file from the extracted folder and paste it in the "Programs" folder which you opened using step 1.


4. That's it. As soon as you copy the shortcut, Desktop tile will be re-added automatically to Start Screen. If you still don't see the tile, you can re-pin it using "All Apps" page. Now it'll appear on that page.



If above mentioned solution doesn't work for you, try following solution:

1. Press "Win+R" keys together to open RUN dialog box. Now copy following string in text box and press Enter:


It'll open "Windows" folder which contains many other sub-folders inside it.

2. Now take ownership of "Start Menu" folder.

Check out following tutorials to learn about taking ownership of a file or folder in Windows:

That's it. It'll fix the problem.

Have you faced this problem in Windows 8? Feel free to share your experience about Windows 8 in your comment...


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Posted in: Troubleshooting, Windows 8 / 8.1

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  • I had similar experience with the Internet Explorer tile. I accidently deleted the Internet Explorer shortcut, and then whenever I pin IE it pinned the desktop version.

  • There is one reason for the "missing" desktop icon. It took me some time to figure but I've noticed that I delete it by myself. In fact I use a start menu replacement - Classic Shell - and if i open the start menu there is a desktop link in the start menu. Usually i don't need that so i delete it. At first i didn't noticed the missing Desktop Tile as i don't use very often the Metro UI. But after my 3-rd install I've get in the metro UI start just after deleting the link - and no more desktop tile.

  • VG is the power commander king of i-broke-it-againia. Thanks, again.

    After some fooling around, I placed that desktop shortcut here...

    C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Application Shortcuts

    It's hid from view there and still works.

    Win 8 / 64bit, if that matters...

  • This is a follow-up to my previous post...

    I probably broke the shortcut link that VG provides here by re-arranging my start-menu after installing a classic start-menu resurrection utility. (I'll make a footnote further down about which ones I have tried.) I'm a dummy, but thankfully the ubiquitous and omnipotent VG is always around to save the day. It turns out, you can't re-arrange the start menu the way I have always done (Win 95 - Win 7) because besides the other system folders (start-up, etc) which reside there, those darn yucky-start shortcuts must stay right where they are if you want the yucky-start to work. Specifically, both the 'Immersive Control Panel' which is your access to the computer settings on yucky-start as well as the desktop shortcut which VG has been so kind to provide here are required.
    [Note 1 - I was able to move the 'desktop' shortcut to another location per my first post so that it can not be seen on my brand-new good-old start-menu. No such luck with the other awful-looking little shortcuts that are entrenched there. However, I think I saw a VG tutorial on moving those shortcuts to another location, but I haven't researched it yet.]
    [Note 2 - sfc /scannow also seems to fix the yucky-start, and that option gives you ample time for a cup of coffee while you wait.]

    Here's that footnote about the start-menu software I tried...

    After some research and a pilgrimage to the palace of VG I first tried Iobit's 'StartMenu8' which was clean, simple, and worked nicely. It is professional to look at and powerfully effective. But if you like to tweak stuff, then IvoSoft's 'Classic Shell' is way more fun, and it also comes with a Windows Explorer customizer which has become as useful to me as their start menu. It's great stuff. Of course, there are probably a bazillion other great ones out there, so if the horse can run, just get on it.

    And here's a footnote about a couple of the Win 8 tweaking utilities I tried...

    TuneUp Software's 'TuneUp Utilities' is clean, professional, and has some nice automation options. If you prefer simple-yet-robust system healthcare and optionalizing, this one is top-notch. But the one I like best is Yamicsoft's 'Windows 8 Manager'. It is pretty darn clunky to look at and it also has a whole bunch of misspellings throughout the interface. But all of my posterior sensitivities about such things have been thrown out the window because I've never seen anything with so many options, and if you like options...
    [It's worth a mention that Windows 8 Manager has updated since the install, so hopefully the gurus at Yamicsoft are working on the clunkyness and the mipsellings.]

    Thank you VG for those recommendations, for the place to share experiences, and for generally making life livable.

  • Whew, Thanks! Thought I was going nuts when I couldn't find it at Start Windows 8.

    Warning: LOTS of neophyte mistakes here. I perhaps mistakenly loaded Spyware Cease and it told me I had xxx number of bytes that could be deleted....lesson learned...never hit okay blindly. Sigh. It not only deleted my Desktop Icon shortcut but ALL of my Software and Tool shortcuts from Windows 8 Start screen. Augh, stupid, stupid, stupid. Why delete all my Tool shortcuts and yet leave all the Bing nonsense that I'd removed from Start anyway???

    Got my Desktop Icon back...thanks. Now how do I reload everything else that is missing???
    The Apps search window has the basic navigation icons like Internet Explorer, Mail, Music, Weather, Photos, Games, etc., plus all the Bing drivel.

    I also looked in:
    C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Application Shortcuts


    Thank You for any help!

  • Follow-on message: **READ ME FIRST**

    I managed to answer my own question above...

    I started to explore all the folders under "Programs" opened when I clicked on the link above and restored the Desktop Icon. Ah-hah! I found all the software and tool shortcuts, right-clicked, and Pinned them to Start. I organized my Start page with just the Icons I want and use.

    Awesome! Thanks!

  • I'm searched on multiple forums about this but without any results. All people on another sites says to do right click on Desktop link and Pin to start but this won't work.. It's only add a link and when I click it open me a desktop folder, not showing just desktop like Desktop Tile App.

    Your Solution really works!! Thanks so much!!!

  • Worked like a champ. I think VG is right about the 3rd party software. I didn't have any problems until I installed some music ripping software. It also took out my STORE tile, but I think I know what to do to fix it now.

    Thanks VG!

  • thanks for this info...

    1000 likes for u.

  • thanks, i had that problem but now it's fixed

  • Or else press Win+D.. oldest method of opening the desktop via keyboard shortcut

  • i never got the tiles back, the desktop file refused to live there; but the the link to a start button did work and i do like it better. i dislike hidden gimmicks in OS's. i just want to get my work done. win 8 seems faster, but too much trouble to learn. i might as well switch to mac os and not have these sorts of horrors. thank you for you support. -p.

  • do you have Shortcuts for, window store, PC setting etc.... I accidentaly deleted all

  • This problem is not only with the Desktop, Lot of other Icons goes missing.
    Even App Store is not there.
    All you need to do is take ownership of a folder.
    Go to
    Take ownership of the Start Menu Folder. That's it.
    How to take ownership, Google that out. I don't believe in Spoon Feeding.

  • hi there, I'm having a problem opening my tiles on my desktop pc, I still have all my tiles showing there but I just cant open them.. please can you help me
    Any suggestions would be appreciated..

  • Thanx so much, it really solved my problem! I do believe it's caused by 3rd party program.

  • i'm no techie. when I unzipped the file there are two 'desktop' files - ini and lnk. which one should i copy? also, the accessories/system tools which gives cmd prompt doesn't appear anywhere. .

  • Oh my goodness thank you so much, I was having a heart attack. It worked, What a relief!. I don't even know how it went bye bye in the first place but thanks again!. Windows 8 is awful.

  • thanks...........thank you very much.......i'm so happy now because long time to find the solution of kind this problem..........i'm very excited.......:D :D

  • The above solution to the missing Desktop tile on the Windows 8 Start Menu does not always work.
    If you are updating from Windows 7 to Windows 8, and you are keeping your personal information from Windows 7, you could end up with 2-Start Menu files, each containing a Programs file. The Desktop link must be in both Programs files, to ensure it shows up as a Start Menu tile.
    Use Computer to locate the 2 Start Menu files, at C:\Program Data\Microsoft\Windows. Each Start Menu file will contain a Programs file. The Desktop link will probably be in the first Start Menu\Programs directory. Copy it to the second Start Menu\Programs directory, and it should show as a tile on the Start Menu. If not, search the apps and pin it to the Start Menu.

  • thank you so much. this is useful for me. thanks.!!!

  • that was handy. thanks. it worked on mine.

  • Missing Desktop tiles. I read the article but do not see my situation. Maybe you know an easy fix.
    I had a few programs (about 5-10 I think) that were not showing up on my Start screen after I did the Windows 8.1 update, they were there before the update but gone when the update completed. One I use is Iheartradio, so I went to the MS Store to download it again. It said I already owned the program and I saw the install but, so I pressed it. A couple seconds later(faster than normal installs) it flashed in the upper right hand corner the installation completed, but in fact it did not and I could not find it in the Start screen or the ALL Apps screen when I sorted it by name or by install date.
    Do you know where in Windows 8.1 I would need to go to uninstall IHeartradio so I could reinstall it or if I need to create a new shortcut I do not know where to point the shortcut to pick up the Iheartradio info

    Thanks Jim

  • VG

    ^^ By default Windows 8.1 doesnt show any installed program shortcut on Start Screen. Microsoft has changed this behavior in Windows 8.1, in Windows 8 it used to add new programs shortcuts automatically on Start Screen.

    You need to manually pin desired program shortcuts on Windows 8.1 Start Screen using All Apps page.

    If you cant see the app in All Apps page, you can try to uninstall the app using Windows Store and then try to reinstall it.

  • Thank you very much .....! It works... 100%

  • thanks this helped i got this strange problem too luckily i had chrome installed so i could get onto the desktop

  • my messaging tile disappeared.. after skype was activated,, i want my messaging tile back what should i do???

  • the shortcut is there but all shortcuts don's appear at start menu
    and i search form it but nothing found and i don't know why

  • Just noticed that another poster had hit on what I believe was also my problem - Installed CD ripping program which, after install, I found that the windows media player was totally gone plus the desktop icon. That being said, windows 8 / 8.1 is the biggest piece of c**p ever foisted upon computer users. I loathe this 'Widget' ridden pile of j**k.

  • I did it all the way to step 3 but when i tried to replace the original one i got the error message that i dont have permission, even thought i am the only admin

  • VG

    ^^ You can try to take ownership:


  • Wheew! Thanks dude! You just saved me! :)

  • Thank you So much for such an easy and to the point guide. God bless people like you. Thanks :)

  • I love you !
    I love you !
    I love you !
    I love you !
    I love you !
    Thank you so muchhhhhhhhhhhh !!! :) :) :)

  • I am an old lady, so not very computer literate. I hate windows 8. I got
    confused and deleted or unpinned my tile with the seascape pic on it which was my window to open my IE. I don't know how to get it back. I don't see it in the all apps page. Can someone
    please help me?? I did finally get the IE tile customized with my fave toolbars but would like to have my original tile back.

  • Thank you so much DON SHRIVER,
    I've been looking for a fix for a while now and none seemed to work. I didn't upgrade from Windows 7 but did a clean install of Windows 8.1 and your method worked! I pasted the downloaded Desktop.Ink file into C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs and the tile showed up on the Start Screen. I can't thank you enough.

  • If all of the tiles missing from metro screen.
    Copy and Paset %programdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs folder.. it will shows two programs folder. but works fine

  • for some reason folder and file permissions is corrupt and you no longer have access/permission to the %programdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu and its sub-folders !
    FYI sfc /scannow didn't work for me and I managed to run the icacls again. the trick here is you have to take the ownership of the "start menu" manually unless icalcs will fail and you will get "Access denied" error ! to double check that if it's the same case go to %programdata%\Microsoft\Windows\ and try opening the "start Menu" you might get this error mesage ; "you don't currently have permission to access to this folder"

    then if it's the case this might help you !

    - right click on "start menu"
    - go to security tab
    - click on advanced
    - in front of the owner click on change > advanced > find now
    - pick your username or administrator
    - click OK
    - choose the "replace owner on subcontainers and objects" radio button
    - click apply and OK

    - open a privileged cmd
    - run this (icacls "%programdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu" /reset /t /c )
    - notice that at the end you should have 0 failed processing files !!

    restart your computer and hopefully you're good to go !

  • I have tried everything on this page including all of the comments and still not working.

    I installed windows 8 fresh and then later upgraded to 8.1 last night. Today all of my icons are gone from the start menu.

    I mean like 90% of the tiles/app icons have gone. and also they are not in the "all apps" area.

    I really hate windows 8 but I have no choice this is my business computer and I have already purchased the license for 12 computers in my office.

    Any ideas?

  • Don't know how I did it but when I right click on a file or folder on my Windows 8.1 desktop the pointer turns to the blue rotating (working on it) symbol for approx 10 seconds then my screen flashes to a basic blue screen with small blue title bar along the bottom and then back to the Desktop screen and I don't get the right click pop up menu and the pointer is back to the arrow.
    I works fine if I just right click on the desktop screen but not when I right click on items on the Desktop screen.
    Also the laptop is now selective as to reading a plugged in usb HD's where as before it would read any external HD.
    This all seemed to happen after I used the Windows DISK CLEAN-UP (Scrub) app.

  • VG

    ^^ It might be happening due to some new entries in context menu added by a 3rd party software. You should try to remove unnecessary entries from file/folder context menu and it might solve your problem.

    To see and remove those entries, you can take help of following articles:


  • hello thanks for giving this step by step procedure for getting desktop shortcut again in the start screen of windows 8 operating system. thanks alot. this procedure is very helpful.

  • This didn't work for me. the desktop shortcut is already in there but it doesn't appear anywhere else. I tried replacing the file with yours, but that didn't work either. any help? I have a downloaded version of windows 8 if that matters.

  • same problem and can't get it fixed.

    What a mess this is.

    Who thinks like this? Certainly not people who need to use computers everyday.

    Get a clue Microsoft and make it easy for us to use your stuff.

  • Ummm.... A similar thing happened to me... could you help me? well, a day before "this" heppened, I noticed that my computer (64 bit with intel core i7) was working pretty slow and realy strangely, afterwards my computer turned off while it was sleeping due to the loss of batery (which usualy happends)... next day i pluged in the charger and all and turn on my computer, then i see:

    _ while we get ready, point the mouse to the corner _ [shows pictograms and and all]

    then after that it finnaly gives me acces back to my computer screen. so i put in my password and i go into my start menu: THERE WAS NOTHING AT ALL THERE, nothing, i serched in the "all apps", it said: no apps found (for each letter i put in individually) so then i presed the assist button which is the button built on my computer, and it sended me to my desktop (finally!) but... my background was chainged to the default background and all my icon arragements were set back to the default, i didnt lose any of my apps (everything i had in the original desktop befor this happened) and my task baras nothing in it anymore and i cant put stuff back. I seem to have lost all my built in windows 8 apps like: the windows 8 music player and all....

    and thats pretty much all the details i can think of atm .... if u need any moredetails or u want to help me and all, send me an email... dont know if i m alloud to post my email here but ya...

  • VG

    ^^ It seems the improper shutdown caused a system restore in your computer. When Windows detected an improper shutdown, it restored the computer to factory settings. Sorry to say but I cant help much in this issue.

  • Thanks, it works. I also have the store missing. Can I get a link to download that too.

  • VG

    ^^ Create a shortcut to %windir%\WinStore\WinStore.htm and pin it to Start Screen.

  • hello there please help, i opened my laptop and suddenly i didnt find any pinned folders on the start page! whenever i go and pin a folder, i go back to start and i dont find it!!!!

  • I had the same problem. I couldn't even see most of the apps in my "All apps". I was frustrated!
    When i went to Start Menu folder (C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu) after reading this article, I could not see any folder or file. Then i put a check on the Hidden Items Check Box. I made them unhide. All my apps are visible again!! Including Desktop Tile!

  • thank u so much !! im happy now !! my desktop tile is back !!

  • I was told by microsoft tech that he would delete 'store' from my start screen because this was causing the problem... I gave him my system for over 6 hours and finally gave up after he could not fix the problem and so then I did a complete restore of my computer without his help.
    All was working fine, except I do not have 'store' back and my 'microsoft solitaire collection' is gone also... Can you help me get 'store' back on my start screen??? Most answers tell you to go to the 'store' and get your programs there, but I don't have 'store'.... so what do I do??? thank you for your help.

  • It worked at last Take control of your folders

  • Hi Mr. VG.
    I just want to asked about on how to reinstall MS Office Enterprise 2007 on Windows 8 coz I uninstalled it due to its always says to configure and installing every time I opened ms word/excel etc. It take a minute to wait. So, I decided to uninstalled it and to reinstall but now I don't know how to find the uninstalled programs on windows it. Any help from you. Thank you.

  • I tried to open Start Menu folder (C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu) but my Start Menu folder is gone. How can I retrieve it? Please help :(

  • VG

    ^^ Try to enable "Show hidden files and folder" option in Folder Options and then check the folder again. If you find the files/folders inside Start Menu folder hidden, remove hidden attribute from their properties.

    You'll need its setup disc to reinstall it.

  • Done enabling it but the Start Menu folder is still missing. Actually my laptop just got infected so is it possible if that folder is deleted?

  • My COMPUTER I CRAZy, y windows was running smoothly for the last year or so and then yesterday my lil brother downloaded Windows 10 skinpack I tried uninstalling it but avg detected a virus adn forced restart after that y right click doesnt work i have to lock the computer then come back on for me to see what i had clicked appear on screen and nothing shows after clicking it that and my start screen has apeared on desktop and tays there even thoug its off ad i cant use it it just stick onto it and looks blurry and lags the whole COMPUTEr hELP!!!!ad i ant use control panel as it is blocked and cant uninstall anymore and antivirus wont work NOTHING WORKS ITS A MIRACLE MY INTERNET EXPLORER gt ON

  • VG

    ^^ It seems some malware got installed in your system by that skinpack. You should try a clean install if you can afford. First post your HijackThis log file in following topic:


  • THERE is a problem that I lost all shortcut on window 8.1 start &no any tile show on start page .so what do I do to get my start page shortcut.

  • There is no camera application mail people on start screen of windows 8 ..plzz give me solution

  • THANK YOU SO MUCH! I had no idea how to get to my desktop, but once I used the helpful Google app (thank you), I was able to get it back. Once again, thanks,

  • Noooo! It is very simple:
    In addition to searching for "Desktop", you can also find "Desktop" in the "All Apps" list, where you can right click it, and "Pin to Start". And in the end of list you can see the tile of Desktop.

  • thank you so much. Here is what i think caused it to happen to me: i was modding a game i downloaded from steam (it was not illegal) and then the game crashed and brought me back to the start screen. I then noticed the icon for the desktop was gone and it might be because that's where the game was open when it crashed(?). i didn't open the game up, i just went strait to google to find out how to fix the problem and this site fixed it so thanks! (and don't mod games kids)

  • i read this complete article ..but the solution provided in this link ddint work for me.. after updating my os from windows 8 to 8.1, nothing i shown in start screen.. not even desktop short cut key!!!

    info: i bought this laptop in germany with german key board and now changed the language to English..does it make any issue?

  • VG

    ^^ First try to create a new user profile. If it doesnt help, try reset or refresh PC options.

  • really..i ws having so much trouble without that "DESKTOP" tile
    now its totally solved thanks a lot......

  • Thank you so much. I'm really upset about this.

  • I also read this complete article but it did'nt worked for me............ what i have to do now i was really upset help me...........

  • And there is no apps on my screen even a user namer name of mine. I can just see a blank screen when i start my pc.
    INFO- I just added a new toolbar on my pc does it make any issue regarding this.

  • Please can i get an info on this... when i start up my pc and i put my password in the login page as required, i find out that my start screen is empty, its just all blue, then i right click so as to click the "All apps" button n there is nothing there too, after reading this article i ran %programdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs, and i saw all the folders n shortcuts there. but they dont show on my start screen, what do i do please?

  • VG

    ^^ As I earlier suggested try to create a new user account. If it doesnt work, you can try to repair Windows using setup disc.

  • Thanks,but my music and camera tile is gone what to do.

  • Its not working in my hp....
    please suggest some more solutions so that I can bring my start menu tiles back.

  • I was so embarrassed when i had seen missing desktop icon in start menu...this article let me find it out the solution. Thank you very much askVG.com

  • hello ther .. i really need a help .aafter updating my vaio laptop all ....each and every shortcut tiles gone missing from start up scrren .. it just show nothing .. plz help

  • Thank youuuuu !! i love u Man dats work 100%

  • Thank you for the tip! I finally got the desktop tile back, it had frustrated me forever on my laptop!

  • My Desktop And OneDrive Icons Are Missing. Where I Can Restore Those From? I'm Using Windows 8.1.

  • This method restore my Desktop icon. Can you upload the OneDrive.ink as well. Please?

  • nice to see that great feeling for you who give us all kind of solutions

  • Your Solution resolved my issue !!
    Thanks so much!

  • Thanks man. Solution 2 worked for me. Thanks again

  • I would just love "Google Chrome to be posted on my start screen

  • This probably works fine for programs, but it does not work for apps. To say that I'm frustrated is an understatement.

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