Icons Not Showing in Projector? 3 Ways to Fix

Icons not showing on the projector? Too often, we connect the projector to a PC and encounter a few snags when displaying a slideshow or entertainment content. It is a common occurrence to get a desktop background and no icons with computer presentation displays.

A user may get that panicked feeling that the projector needs some fixing or it is a complicated software-related issue.

Installing and setting up a projector is a hassle full of challenges, dealing with common display problems adds to the misery.

Not anymore, we have brought you some quick fixes to make the icons and applications appear on the screen.

Why is the Projector Not Showing Icons?

There are multiple reasons for the projector showing desktop screens only with no icons. Chances are, it has something to do with the display settings of the computer.

Luckily, it is not a major issue and can be fixed in a couple of minutes without the help of professionals. After learning the reason, choose the right method to fix this problem.

Common Ways to Fix Projectors Not Showing Icons

After identifying the reason, adopt the right method to fix this issue.

Display Settings

Adjusting or changing the display mode fixes the projector’s display. If the projector is already set to Extend Mode, change the setting to Duplicate Display Mode.

Open Display Settings

  • Press Windows + P hotkey to open the sidebar with all the relevant options.
  • Switch Display Mode – You will get four options such as PC Screen Only, Duplicate, Extend, and Second Screen Only.
  • Select Duplicate Mode – Duplicate mode is the best display mode selected to show icons, apps, open programs, etc on both computer and projector.

Turn On Mirroring – One other reason why the projector fails to display icons is when the mirroring is turned off.

Display Menu

When the projector is only displaying the desktop background, turn on the mirror option from the display menu. Go to the menu bar and click on the display option to change settings.

Turn on Mirroring – From the display menu, turn on the mirror option, and the projected image will mirror the desktop.

Display Resolution

If not any of the above methods work, try changing the display resolution and refresh rate. Modifying the resolution will help project the laptop or desktop’s display.


Visit System Preferences and tap on the Display button, change the resolution of the computer and projector to 1024 x 768.

Refresh Rate – After setting the 1024×768 resolution, change the refresh rate, and set the frequency to 60Hz.

Update Drivers

Lastly, update drivers for the optimum functionality and better performance of both devices. Either update drivers manually or use professional tools to update them automatically.


It is usually a problem with display settings when the projector does not show icons and programs on the screen. Hopefully, the aforementioned methods will help bring back the icons, try them out, and see which one works for you. Check all the cables are securely connected and icons have been shown on the screen before giving a presentation.

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