All icons disappeared from the desktop

DaveWT

Well-Known Member
My wife was working on her MacBook Pro (Big Sur 11.6) tonight. She normally has lots of icons on the desktop for projects she is working on. (Yes, I know she shouldn't) but tonight after the lid was closed and she tried to awake it from sleep, all the icons disappeared and the desktop was completely empty. She may have accidentally hit some magical combination of keys in trying to wake up the MB but I haven't been able to learn that such a key combination exists. Searches on the internet suggest you need to use Terminal commands or some extra app to achieve such a result. In any case when she brought the computer to me for help, I asked her the name of one of the files she had on the desktop. Thinking she somehow got everything to go into some folder somewhere I typed that filename into the search box to try and locate where it might be hiding. As soon as I clicked on it to select it (intending to Get Info on it) all the missing icons instantly filled the desktop again. I have no clue what might have happened. Any ideas?
 

DaveWT

Well-Known Member
A most interesting article, Chas. That may provide the answer but I was trying to follow the steps outlined to create a second desktop. CTRL+up arrow didn't seem to work for me but the 4 finger swipe upward did lead me to this function. I could see a very small possibility that she would have done that at this point in her trying to wake the MacBook, but a possibility in any case.
But that led me to the "+" button at upper right as mentioned in the article. If I click on that, it does create a second desktop but then going into that one still has whatever icons were on the original desktop, not a blank desktop. So I think something else was at play in her case.

But I will play with this some more and see where it leads (and what trouble I can get myself into.)
 

chas_m

Well-Known Member
There is another possibility, but it’s so convoluted as to make it nearly impossible to do accidentally — unless they have a cat that likes to walk across keyboards …
 
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