XP: Fix Empty Administrative Tools Folder

How to fix a problem in Windows XP where the Administrative Tools folder is empty and contains no icons to click on.

1. Click START–>RUN and type REGEDIT. Click OK.

2. Click the plus sign next to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
then Microsoft
then Windows
then CurrentVersion
then Explorer
then User Shell Folders

3. Delete the value named Common Administrative Tools

4. Open Shell Folders under the Explorer tree. Delete the value named Common Administrative Tools there also.


  1. tim says

    thanks for your help.I’ve tried it all to no avail. The final solution is…a new install of XP home?

  2. Sydney says

    Windows Xp Professional w/ SP3

    Perhaps it is not as difficult as it seems. I tried this and it worked well:

    In the empty Administrative Tools folder, at the menu at the top of that folder, click on Tools > Folder Options > View.

    On “Hidden files and folders” select “Show hidden files and folders”, and then a bit below, in “Hide protected operating system files (recommended)” and deselect that. Click “Yes” on the pop up window.

    Now your missing icons should be showing a bit greyed out.

    Right click on each individual icon and select “Properties”. In the window that pops up, look down at the bottom at “Attributes” deselect “Hidden” and click “Apply”.

    Your icon should come back.

    Repeat with the other ones and then turn off the folder view for showing hidden icons.

    I hope this works.

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