May i know when exatly did u install mcafee on ur computer and b4 installing mcafee where u getting any pop up messages that
'your computer is infected by any virus, spyware' or are u getting any security tool which is prompting u to buy any thing...?
I have been running McAfee on this machine for several years now with annual update to the subscription. This current problem happened with McAfee "protecting" my machine! No, I am not getting messages from any of the bogus anit-virus/spyware sites.
Open task manager, click applications tab; click on New task (at the bottom)
Type in explorer.exe and hit OK
Close the task manager and check if the icons re-appear.
Thanks for the help. As it turns out, this was a problem with Spy-Agent.bw!mem. I found suggestions for removal of this trojan on another community. It involved a clean boot and then running Malwarebytes. I also took the opportunity to run Spybot Search and Destroy as well as the spybot tool to clean up ActiveX and BHO items. Doing all of this seems to have fixed the problem.