Public Desktop Icons are Deleted After Logon in Windows 7

I think I that a suitable name for  this post might be ‘The case of the missing desktop shortcuts’.  I spent nearly an hour or more resolving the so it will be the right thing to share it with you.

The Problem

In Windows 7,  Users can’t view objects and icons published on “C:\Users\Public\Desktop” .

Users cannot read data from “C:\Users\Public\Desktop”.

You suspect that a GPO – Group policy object, prohibit users from viewing icons on “C:\Users\Public\Desktop” folder.

The Cause

A group policy named “remove common program groups from start menu” is applied on the users that are suffering from problem.

remove common program groups from start menu

It took me a long time to figure out which policy is causing this because Microsoft did not bother to mention this on the policy description. the policy description is:

“Removes items in the All Users profile from the Programs menu on the Start menu.

By default, the Programs menu contains items from the All Users profile and items from the user’s profile. If you enable this setting, only items in the user’s profile appear in the Programs menu.

Tip: To see the Program menu items in the All Users profile, on the system drive, go to ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs.”

There is no mentioning for public desktop. Only start menu is mentioned. this makes it very difficult and confusing to troubleshoot.

The Remedy

Remove the above policy. log-off and then log-on again to bring back things to normal.

Group Policy How-to Guide

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