Desktop Location is not available in Windows 10

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 login to your account, it creates chaos if you can’t access it. Sometimes the system throws an error which says Desktop refers to a location that is unavailableFirst of all, there is nothing to panic. Your files are safe, its the system which is not able to find it. 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 10.

Desktop Location is not available or accessible

Desktop Location is not available

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 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, location is not correct. It can also happen during an update or some irregular programs uninstallation, profile corruption and more.

When this happens, Windows creates a new desktop for you which 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 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.

NOTE: If you cannot boot Windows 10 normally, you may have to boot it in Safe Mode or into Advanced Startup options screen to be able to carry out the fixes.

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:

Copy  C:\Users\<username>\Desktop

Navigate to  C:\Windows\system32\config\systemprofile

Paste the Desktop folder you just copied.

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.

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

Desktop Location is not available
Double click to open the value data, and enter either of these:

  • %USERPROFILE%\Desktop
  • C:\Users\%USERNAME%\Desktop

Click OK, and quit the Registry Editor.

Restart your PC

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.

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.Set RPC to Manual for Desktop Locations

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.

Related read: Location is not available, Access is denied error for files & folders.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.