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How to Fix Desktop Refers to A Location That Is Unavailable Error

location not found

Most of users keep a lot of files on the Desktop of their PC and this is the location where they arrive after signing up. Sometimes the desktop is not accessible with an error which creates utter confusion. “Desktop location is not available” if this kind of error pops up anytime, don’t baffle at all! Your files are secure, its the PC which is unable to locate it.

location not available
If you are getting exactly the same error message, we will recommend you a couple of solutions to regain the access of your desktop and move the data before the situation get worse. In some cases, this error can be fixed by rebooting your PC. Once you gain the access of your desktop, you need to determine the root cause of issues. If the issues do not get fixed, the problem can arise frequently.

Possible Reasons

One or more of the following reasons can be behind the corruption of Windows Profile.

  • New OS System Patches
  • System File Corruption
  • Sudden System Crash
  • Unstable OS Beta version
  • Erroneous program un-installation
  • Modification in authorization due to virus infection or malware attack


Troubleshoot “Desktop refers to a location that is unavailable”

This solution is useful for Windows 7 and above. Also, you will require admin rights to perform all these fixes. If you have a common user account, either you need to generate one or request admin to do this for you.

Fix 1: Reset Desktop to Default Location
1. Press “Windows Key + R”, type “C:\users\%username%”, and hit Enter.

Reset Desktop

2. Right-click on the “Desktop” folder and choose “Properties”.


3. In “Desktop Properties”, go to “Location” tab and click on “Restore Default” button.


4. Click “Apply” followed by “OK”.

5. Restart your computer to save changes and check if you’re able to resolve “Desktop Refers to A Location That Is Unavailable Error”.


Fix 2: Registry Fix

If resetting desktop to default location doesn’t work, you can try the Registry Fix:

1. Use “Windows Key + R” then type “regedit” and hit Enter to open Registry Editor.


2. Go to the following registry key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

3. Ensure to select “User Shell Folders” then double-click on the “Desktop” in the right window pane.

user shell folder

4. Now in the “Value name” data field confirm the value is set to:

Value name

5. Click “OK” and close Registry Editor.

6. Restart your computer to save changes.


Fix 3: Copy Desktop Folder Back to Its Location

1. Press “Windows Key + R”, type “C:\users\%username%” and click “OK”.


2. Check if you can discover two Desktop folders, one empty and other with your desktop contents.

3. If you find two desktop folders, then delete one which is empty.

4. Now copy the desktop folder with your contents and go to the following location: C:\Windows\system32\config\systemprofile\

5. When you go to the systemprofile folder it will ask for your permission, simply click “Continue” to access the folder.


6. Paste the Desktop folder into the systemprofile folder.

Reboot your system to save changes and check if you’re able to resolve “Desktop Refers to A Location That Is Unavailable Error”.


Fix 4: Perform System Restore

1. Use run command by pressing “Windows Key + R”, type”sysdm.cpl” then click “OK”.


2. Go to “System Protection” tab and select “System Restore”.


3. Click “Next” and select the desired System Restore point.

4. Follow the on-screen instruction to entire system restore.

5. Once completed, reboot the system to troubleshoot “Desktop Refers to A Location That Is Unavailable Error”.

Fix 5: Create a New User Account

1. Press “Windows Key + I” to go to “Settings” and click “Accounts”.


2. Click on “Family & other people” tab and select “Add someone else to this PC” under Other people.


3. Click on “I don’t have this person’s sign-in information” in the bottom.


4. Select “Add a user without a Microsoft account”.


5. Now type the “username” and “password” for the new account and select “Next”.



Log in to the new user account then

1. Open the “File Explorer” then click on “View” and select “Options” in the toolbar.

2. Go to the “View” tab and checkmark “Show hidden files, folders, and drives”.


3. Uncheck “Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)”.

4. Click “Apply” followed by OK.

5. Navigate to the following location:
[Note: Here C is the drive on which Windows OS is installed and Old_Username is the name of your old account username.]

6. Select all the files and folder except the following:
Ntuser.dat Ntuser.dat.log Ntuser.ini

7. Now press “Windows Key + R” then type “C:\users\%username%”, and click “OK”.
[Note: This will be your new user account folder.]


8. Paste the copied content here and restart your PC.

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