The Windows 98 Desktop Icons Are Missing

The information in this article applies to:

*           Microsoft Windows 98

This article was previously published under Q192393


When you start your Windows 98-based computer, your desktop icons may be missing, and a menu may be missing if you right-click the desktop. Also, if you click Show Desktop, you may receive the following error message:

This operation has been cancelled due to restrictions in effect on this computer. Please contact your system administrator.


This behavior can occur if Policy Editor's "Hide All Items On Desktop" policy is enabled.


To resolve this issue, disable the "Hide All Items On Desktop" policy. To do so, use the following steps:

NOTE: If your computer is on a network, you may be unable to perform the following steps because of policies your system administrator has enabled. Microsoft recommends you contact your system administrator before you try this procedure.

1.                 Click Start, click Run, type "poledit" (without quotation marks) in the Open box, and then click OK.

2.                 In System Policy Editor, click Open Registry on the File menu.

3.                 Double-click the Local User branch to expand it, and then double-click the Windows 98 System branch to expand it.

4.                 Double-click Shell, and then double-click Restrictions.

5.                 Click the Hide All Items On Desktop check box to clear it.

6.                   Click OK, click Exit on the File menu, click Yes, and then restart your computer.