Fix: Desktop shortcuts go missing on Windows PC

Have you encountered a situation where you find that your desktop shortcuts have suddenly gone missing on your Windows 10/8/7 computer? Well, Windows acts this way by design! Shortcuts that are regarded as broken are deleted by the System Maintenance troubleshooter.

Desktop shortcuts go missing

The System Maintenance Troubleshooter performs a weekly maintenance of the operating system. It either fixes problems automatically or reports problems through Action Center.

When there are more than four broken shortcuts on the desktop, the System Maintenance troubleshooter automatically removes all broken shortcuts from the desktop.

A “Broken” shortcut is a shortcut to a file, folder or drive that may not always be available, for example, a desktop shortcut for a USB device may be regarded as broken if the USB device is not connected when the System Maintenance troubleshooter performs its maintenance, or, a network folder that is currently not available due to the network not being available, says Microsoft.

If you must have more than four broken shortcuts on your desktop, you can disable the System Maintenance troubleshooter.

To disable the System Maintenance troubleshooter, follow these steps:

Open Control Panel > System and Security > Find and fix problems > On the left navigation pane > click Change settings > Set Computer Maintenance to Off.

However if you disable the System Maintenance troubleshooter, all the maintenance tasks that it performs are disabled.

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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.