Windows 10 April 2018 Update’s latest flaw is the mystery of the disappearing desktop

Windows 10

It seems that the Windows 10 April 2018 Update is starting to feel reminiscent of the Anniversary Update – in other words, lots of problems seem to be cropping up with the upgrade, and the latest gremlin is a disappearing desktop.

Yes, that’s a pretty worrying sounding one, but according to threads on Microsoft’s ‘answers’ support forum and Reddit, along with comments elsewhere online, some Windows 10 users are finding that their desktop has literally vanished after installing the update.

After rebooting and letting the April 2018 Update configure itself, affected users are left facing a completely blank desktop, with all their icons having gone walkies, and an ominous sounding error message displayed:

C:\WINDOWS\system32\config\systemprofile\Desktop is unavailable

The cause of the issue is where things get a bit sticky. As The Register reports, a computer repair shop (in the US) is pointing the finger at Avast’s antivirus software.

Although even that source admits this isn’t confirmed, and that not everyone experiencing the problem is running Avast – a fact also backed up by some affected users on Microsoft’s support forum, who don’t use that particular antivirus program.

But equally, the repair shop personnel posting on Reddit claim that 99% of the users who have reported this issue have confirmed they are running Avast Antivirus, and the shop suspects that a recent update to Avast caused this problem (which first popped up a week ago).

All this has to be balanced against the fact that Avast has come forward with a statement, telling The Register that: “We have tested this and couldn't identify any problems affecting Avast Antivirus consumer users specifically. Online user comments show that many are unfortunately experiencing problems updating to Windows 10 ‘1803’.

“We cannot rule out that a small number of Avast users may be having difficulties updating, too, but we don't see any indications that this is caused by Avast.”

Investigating the issue

So where does that leave us? Obviously enough, Avast’s assertion seems pretty concrete, but then again, it’s possible the firm has missed something. Microsoft, too, is investigating the problem, so hopefully we’ll hear something from the software giant, defining exactly what the issue is, before long.

If you’re concerned about this, you could always uninstall Avast before you fire up the April 2018 Update, as a precaution to help ensure that nothing is likely to conflict in any way, or cause this problem to potentially manifest itself (although a seemingly small number of folks running other antivirus products have experienced it, as noted).

If you’ve already upgraded, and are running Avast but haven’t seen any adverse effects, there’s no need to worry.

Although if you have been hit by this problem, a number of potential solutions are discussed in both the Reddit thread and on Microsoft’s help forum, although not having used them, we can’t vouch for their accuracy (and as ever, mileage may vary from system to system anyway).

Meanwhile, as mentioned, hopefully we’ll hear something official from Microsoft soon, as one thing is clear enough: this issue is affecting a number of people, and it’s a nasty one.

This matter aside, if you’ve hit any kind of bugbear with the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, then check out our extensive troubleshooting guide to solving common problems here.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).