How to remove icons from desktop – 3 ways

Streamline your workplace; multiple ways to remove icons from desktop

Discover three effective methods if you want to declutter your desktop and remove unwanted icons effortlessly. Whether you are using Mac or Windows, these 3 step by step guidelines will help you to get a cleaner and more organized digital workplace. You can enhance your productivity by simplifying your desktop features.

Some users are interested in how to remove icons from Desktop in the Windows operating system so that nothing is displayed on the computer screen except the Control Panel. For many users, this proposal sounds strange due to the fact that it is convenient to place icons and shortcuts on the desktop to quickly launch programs, or to navigate to the settings and functions of the operating system.

The Windows desktop looks different: on some computers it is literally filled with shortcuts, icons, folders and files, on other computers the screen has an ascetic look, on the desktop there is only the essentials for working on a PC.

I prefer not to have many elements on my computer screen. In my opinion, it is much more convenient and productive to work when there is nothing superfluous on the desktop. To do this, you need to put things in order on the computer .

There are two system icons on the desktop of my computer: “Recycle Bin”, “This Computer” (My Computer), and the “Programs” folder with shortcuts to mostly portable programs that I often use on my PC.

But what about those who want to apply a radical solution on the desktop of their computer: remove all icons temporarily or permanently? There are options to solve this problem.

The methods described in the instructions in this article work the same on different versions of the Windows operating system.

For example, I placed several system icons, shortcuts and a folder on the Desktop. To make it easier to see, I applied the setting to display large icons.

How to remove icons from desktop – 1 way

Now we will try to remove icons from the desktop in Windows 10. In a similar way, you can remove icons from the desktop in Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1.

In order to clear the Windows Desktop of all items, do the following:

  1. Right-click on an empty space on the screen.
  2. In the context menu that opens, click on “View”, and then uncheck the box next to “Show desktop icons”.

All elements (icons, shortcuts, folders, files) that were there will disappear from the Windows Desktop.

Also Read: How to Remove Pinned Icons to Taskbar in Windows 10

How to return icons to the Windows desktop

Most users will not be very comfortable working on a pristine computer screen. In order to return the former convenience, you must again enable the display of icons, shortcuts and other elements on the Desktop.

  1. Right-click on an empty space on the desktop.
  2. In the context menu, first select the “View” item, and then check the “Show desktop icons” box.

All icons, shortcuts and files will return to their original location.

How to Remove Desktop Icons in Windows XP

In the Windows XP operating system, you can use the same method:

  1. After clicking on an empty area of ​​the screen, select the “Arrange Icons” menu item.
  2. Uncheck the “Show desktop icons” box.

How to remove icons from desktop – 2 way

The considered method works only in older versions of the Windows operating system: Windows Professional (Professional) and Windows Corporate (Enterprise), which have a system tool – Local Group Policy. Users of home versions of Windows can use the first method described in this article.

To disable the display of desktop icons, follow these steps:

  1. Press the key combination “Win” + “R”.
  2. In the “Run” window, in the “Open” field, enter the command: “gpedit.msc” (without quotes), press the “Enter” key.
  3. The Local Group Policy Editor opens on the computer.
  4. In the “Local Group Policy Editor” window, in the left column, follow the path: “Local Computer Policy” → “User Configuration” → “Administrative Templates” → “Desktop”.
  5. Find the option “Hide and disable all desktop items”, double-click on it with the left mouse button.
  6. In the “Hide and disable all desktop items” window, activate the “Enabled” option, and then click on the “OK” button.
  7. Restart your computer.

As a result of changing the local group policy setting, icons, shortcuts, folders, files, and other items will be removed from the Windows Desktop. While the programs are running, if it is defined in the application settings, the files will be saved on the desktop, but they will not be visible. The user can open File Explorer to view icons or files that are on the desktop but not displayed on the computer screen.

How to show desktop icons again using group policies

After deleting icons from the desktop in the Local Group Policy Editor, we will have to change the policy settings in the user configuration again to return all items to their original place.

  1. Launch the Local Group Policy Editor.
  2. Navigate to the desktop policy settings: “Local Computer Policy” → “User Configuration” → “Administrative Templates” → “Desktop”.
  3. Right-click on the “Hide and disable all desktop items” option, in the context menu, click on the “Edit” item.
  4. In the “Hide and disable all desktop items” window that opens, enable the “Not configured” option, click the “OK” button.
  5. Restart your computer.

All items that were on the desktop will become visible again.

How to remove system icons from desktop

In some cases, you need to remove only some or all system icons (icons) from the Desktop, without affecting other shortcuts or files with folders that are there at a given time. This issue can be resolved by applying changes to Windows Desktop Icon Settings.

On the Windows 10 operating system, follow these steps:

  1. Click on an empty space on your desktop.
  2. Select “Personalization” from the context menu.
  3. The Settings app will open and open the Themes tab.
  4. In the “Related Settings” section, click on the “Desktop Icon Settings” link.
  5. In the “Desktop Icon Options” window, in the “Desktop Icons” tab, uncheck the boxes next to the system icons that you want to hide.
  6. Click the “OK” button to apply the settings.

For operating systems Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, do the following:

  1. After right-clicking on an empty area of ​​the screen, click on the “Personalization” item.
  2. In the “Personalization” window, in the right menu, select “Change Desktop Icons”.
  3. In the Desktop Icon Options window, uncheck the appropriate icons that you do not want to display on your computer screen.

Article Conclusions

After changing the personalization settings, or using the Local Group Policy Editor, the user can remove icons from the Windows Desktop. If necessary, the user can disable only some system icons without disabling other items on the computer desktop.


How do I remove multiple icons from my desktop?

Hold down the Ctrl key, click the clicking icon,  click right, click Delete. By this method, you can delete multiple icons at once.

How do I remove icons from my desktop without deleting them?

If you want to hide your icons without removing them, click on the right side of your desktop to view and uncheck the show desktop icons option. If you’re going to get them back, you can recheck the box.

Which key is used to delete an icon?

The delete key is a button on most computers’ keyboards where you can typically delete the character quickly. This key can sometimes be referred to as a forward delete key.

Can I lock my icons on the desktop?

If you are using a window, you can turn off auto arrange and enable align icons to the grid on the desktop. You can also try the desk log program. If you want an app, you can on and off to lock the desktop items in place.

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