C:\Windows\system32\config\Desktop refers to a location that is unavailable


I have windows 7 and when i login, i get a message saying "C:\Windows\system32\config\Desktop refers to a location that is unavailable" The desktop is empty(except for recycling bin), black screen and I can't change the background or put any icons on. Please help!


Hello Matt,

Welcome to Microsoft community where you will get best solutions for Windows related issues.

I understand that you receive error when you boot the computer. I would definitely help you in fixing this issue.


Perform the following troubleshooting methods to fix this issue.

Method 1:

Follow these steps:

a.       Open "C:\users\[your user account]" folder.

b.      If you see two Desktop folders, one blank and the other with your Desktop items.

c.       You need to delete the blank one.

d.      Copy the desktop folder with your desktop items from “C:\Users\[your user account]\” folder to “C:\Windows\system32\config\systemprofile\”

e.      Restart the computer.

Method 2:

If that doesn’t work, then I would suggest you to perform System Restore to the previous point when it was working fine.

Refer to the link “System Restore Win 7” to perform System Restore.


I hope this helps you to fix the issue. If the issue persists or you have any other issues with Windows, please post it in Microsoft Community. We would be happy to help you further.

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Question Info

Last updated November 18, 2020 Views 11,715 Applies to: