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How to fix “Desktop is unavailable” error in Windows 10

If you’ve been using a Windows computer for a long time, you probably must have encountered the error message “C:\Windows\system32\config\systemprofile\Desktop is unavailable”. Or if you’re seeing it for the very first time, this guide is there to guide you how how to get the problem resolved. Continue reading this post to find out how to fix “Desktop is unavailable” error in Windows 10. We are going to explain different possible solutions. So, no worries for if you are here, you definitely will get a working solution.

How to FIX Windows 10 Error: C:\Windows\system32\config\systemprofile\Desktop is unavailable.

When you see this message displayed on your Windows 10 computer, you won’t be able to access all desktop customisation features(in fact anything related to the Desktop). With the quick fixes described below, you should be able to the “desktop is unavailable error” and get things working in less than no time.

Instead of the error message mentioned above, sometimes, you get a similar error “C:\Windows\system32\config\systemprofile\Desktop refers to a location that is unavailable”. This method should as well help fix things.

Method 1: Restore the Default Path

When the issue arises on your Windows computer, the system isn’t able to link to the “Desktop’s” default location. In this case, resetting the location can be helpful to help you out.

Proceed thus:

fix "Desktop is unavailable" error

1. Press the Win + E keys at the same time on your keyboard to open Windows Explorer.

2. Click This PC to expand the list, right-click Desktop and choose Properties.

3. Go to the Location tab, click the Restore Default button.

4. Click Apply and then OK to save the change.

5. Then restart your computer.

Method 2: Check the Desktop Location Through Registry Editor

fix "Desktop is unavailable" error in Windows 10

If the method above does not work for you, you can use the Registry editor to check the location(Desktop). Proceed as described below:

  1. Press and hold the Win + R Keys to get the Run dialogue box.
  2. Input regedit to the text box and click OK to open Registry Editor.
  3. Go to this path: Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders.
  4. Double-click Desktop and ensure its value data is C:\Users\%USERNAME%\Desktop or %USERPROFILE%\Desktop. Meaning you will have to set it to the above if it isn’t
  5. Click OK. Restart your PC to check if the issue still persists.

Method 3: Fix Unavailable Desktop via Windows Update

The issue – C:\Windows\system32\config\systemprofile\Desktop is unavailable may appear since the Windows update installation isn’t completed yet or it isn’t finished successfully. So, you can perform a system update manually.

  1. Create a bootable USB drive using a Media Creation Tool tool of your choice.
  2. Insert the device and access it over the File Explorer by pressing Win + E.
  3. Double-click setup.exe.
  4. Choose Upgrade this PC now.
  5. Next, follow the on-screen instructions to finish the in-place upgrade.

Method 4. Create the missing Desktop folder from Advanced Startup Options.

1. Click the Start menu and then click the Power button.
2. Now press and HOLD DOWN the SHIFT key (on your keyboard) and then click Restart.
3. At Recovery options, go to: Troubleshoot > Advanced options > > Command Prompt.

Advance options CMD

4. Select the account in question and proceed to the CMD.

5. Next from the command line enter the command

dir x: 

where “x” is the drive letter of your system disc. So, if your system disk letter is “c” your command should be;

dir c:

6. After that, enter the following comand to create desktop location

md c:\Windows\System32\config\systemprofile\Desktop

7. Close the command prompt after entering the above comand and continue. The issue should be fixed

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