The Desktop is the center of Windows OS. We keep a lot of files there, and since this is where you land up after you log in to your account, it creates chaos if you can’t access it. Sometimes the system throws an error that says Desktop refers to a location that is unavailable. First of all, there is nothing to panic about. Your files are safe, it’s the system that is not able to find them. In this post, we will suggest you a couple of fixes that will help you recover from Location is not available error for Desktop in Windows 11/10.
Desktop Location is not available or accessible
C:\Windows\system32\config\systemprofile\Desktop refers to a location that is unavailable. It could be on a hard drive on this computer, or on a network. Check to make sure that the disk is properly inserted, or that you are connected to the Internet or your network, and then try again. If it still cannot be located, the information might have been moved to a different location.
This message usually pops up in post-login scenario. Since each user has their own profile, and Windows needs to get you started from somewhere, it first checks for this. It is possible that due to some misconfiguration in the registry or global or user profile settings, the location is not correct. It can also happen during an update or some irregular program uninstallation, profile corruption, and more.
When this happens, Windows creates a new desktop for you that has no data except for the default ones. This is what becomes scary.
Fix Desktop refers to a location that is unavailable
The solution is applicable for Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7. Also, you will need admin privilege for all of these methods. If you have a regular account, either you need to create one or ask your admin on the PC to do this for you.
To fix Desktop Location is not available, follow these steps:
- Manually copy the Desktop folder to System Profile
- Add Desktop location through Registry Editor
- User Profile might be corrupt
- Update RPC settings
Let’s check out these steps in detail.
1] Manually copy the Desktop folder to System Profile
If you look at the error message closely, it’s looking for your Desktop at C:\Windows\system32\config\systemprofile. However, the usual desktop location is at C:\Users\<username>\Desktop. They are mapped internally. So to fix this, if it works, follow the steps below:
Paste the Desktop folder you just copied.
Then, restart your computer, and see if the problem has been resolved.
In case you cannot see your desktop folder, change the view setting to show hidden files to reveal it.
2] Add Desktop location through Registry Editor
In the Run prompt (press Win+ R ), type regedit and hit Enter.
Navigate to the following key:
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders
Double click to open the value data, and enter either of these:
Click OK, and quit the Registry Editor.
Restart your PC
3] User Profile might be corrupt
It is possible that the user profile settings might be corrupted. To follow this method, you need to have an admin account which can boot the computer in Safe Mode, and then update a few registry settings for you. Check out our guide on how to fix a corrupt profile.
4] Update RPC settings
Click on the Start button and type Services in the Start menu search box.
In Services, scroll down to “Remote Procedure Call” and make sure the status says “Started” and set to Automatic.
Similarly, “RPC Locator” should be set to “Manual“.
We expect at least one of the solutions should work for you. It’s only a matter of mapping it to the right path, and your files remain safe.
How do I fix my desktop is unavailable?
To fix your desktop is unavailable error in Windows 11/10, you need to manually copy the desktop folder to system profile and add the desktop location via Registry Editor. These two steps can help you troubleshoot the problem you are getting on your computer while accessing the Desktop.
How do you fix Windows 11/10 location is not available?
To fix the location is not available error in Windows 11/10, you may need to troubleshoot it in the Clean Boot mode, run chkdsk scan, ensure you have the full ownership of the folder, etc. However, if you get this problem with your Desktop, you need to copy the Desktop folder location in your System profile manually.
Related read: Location is not available, Access is denied error for files & folders.