How to Hide Desktop Icons (Win XP)
By on June 23rd, 2010

desktop-cc-icon Some people drop shortcuts and files all over their Windows Desktop. The result will be something between rigid organization and total chaos. There are a few people who can’t stand to see anything on their Desktop except the nice wallpapers they put there. Here are a few tips for these neat freaks.

A. Right Click Method
— If you’ve been around Windows awhile, you probably already know this method. Right click anywhere on an empty area of your Desktop, and choose “Arrange Icons By“, then select “Show Desktop Icons“. Use this method to show or hide icons any time you wish. Just be aware that it takes Windows a seemingly long, 5 or 6 seconds to actually react to this choice. Why does it take so long? Ask Bill Gates.

showdesktop-icons-right-click

B. Registry Hack

— If you plan to make changes to the registry, be sure to create a backup before making changes. You can use the ERUNT tool to back it up, create a System Restore point, or you can read my post on how to use Regedit.

This hack will hide all the desktop icons until you remove it. Open Regedit and navigate to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SOFTWARE\ Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\ policies\ Explorer

Then add a new DWORD named NoDesktopwith a value of 1.

Here’s the registry merge script in case you want to create a .REG file.

——

REGEDIT4

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\policies\Explorer]
“NoDesktop”=dword:00000001

——

If you don’t understand something in this section, I’ll remind you to read my post telling you how to use Regedit. Don’t mess with the Windows Registry unless you have a basic knowledge of how it all works.

C. Freeware app Desktop Control Center

— Ok, I’ll confess, I am one of those neat freaksat times and my Desktop has way too many icons on it. My favorite method for hiding them is a little utility created by Robert Hess, a Microsoft Software Designer.

Desktop Control Center (DCC) is one of those hard to findutilities, written way back in the early 1990′s. It’s tiny, at 19k, and it’s a stand-alone, single executable file.

I usually set a link to it in my Quick Launch as shown below. The second, green icon is Desktop Control Center.

desktop-cc-quick-launch

Once launched, it’ll give you the option to hide all the icons, when you chose Hide the Desktop Window.

desktop-cc-app

You can close the DCC app as soon as you’ve made a choice. It doesn’t need to continue running. The reason I always place it next to the blue Show Desktopshortcut, is that when you hit Show Desktop, all your application Windows will minimize just an you’d expect, however, all your hidden icons will temporarily show on the desktop for you as well. Now that’s a neat trick.

Oh, in case you want it, here’s the green desktop icon I made for the Quick Launch shortcut. I created it with IcoFX.

The original icon for DCC is not very nice looking.

old-vs-new-icon

Download Desktop Control Center

By the way, I have to give DCC a thumbs up. It’s a great little app.

techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1

Conclusion:

I’ve shown you three ways to hide the Desktop icons. Do you have your own special tricks for organizing and hiding icons on the Desktop? If so, please comment below.

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Author: Clif Sipe Google Profile for Clif Sipe
Promoting Freeware and Free information since 2004. Owner of FreewareWiki.com with over 2000 pages of freebies. Please subscribe to my Google Feed or follow me on Twitter @clifnotes.

Clif Sipe has written and can be contacted at clif@techie-buzz.com.

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