Windows Icons all bunched together

Posted on 2009-04-15
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I had a user attempt to adjust some of the settings for their desktop on Windows XP Pro.  Now all of the icons are bunched together and overlapping each other and you cannot tell what they are.  Is there a quick and easy way to get back to the original defaults?

Question by:submarinerssbn731
    LVL 7

    Accepted Solution

    I don't know of a "one-click" solution, but if you right-click on the desktop and choose properties (Opens 'Display Properties)
    Then click the "Appearance" tab, followed by the "Advanced" button
    Under "Item" drop-down box pick "Icon Spacing (Horizontal)" and set that to 43.
    Then pick "Icon Spacing (Vertical)" and set that to 43 also
    Click OK, and OK
    Right-click on the desktop and check the option Arrange Icons By > Align to grid
    Then r-click again and Refresh if it hasn't changed

    Author Comment

    I will give it a try and let you know!  Thanks!
    LVL 8

    Assisted Solution

    Hi submarinerssbn731,

    Here's a link to check out that might help you out.
    LVL 34

    Assisted Solution

    To re-enable, restore, show and display the Internet Explorer 7 (IE or IE7) desktop icon, here the step on how to do it:

    Start registry editor by clicking on Start button, then select "Run". Type in "regedit" in the Open text box and hit "OK" or press "Enter".
    Navigate to the following registry key:[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\
    Explorer\HideDesktopIcons\NewStartPanel]If youre using classic theme or scheme, browse to the following registry location instead:


    If the above key doesn't exist, create a new key.

    Edit or create a DWORD (32-bit) value named {871C5380-42A0-1069-A2EA-08002B30309D} and set it with value of 0 (dword:00000000).
    Refresh Windows Vista desktop by pressing F5 or right click on desktop and click Refresh.
    You will see the IE or IE7 icon has been put back on desktop.

    Alternatively, copy and paste the below code to a text file and save it as a file name with .reg extension. Then double click on the file to merge the data to the registry. After refreshing desktop, IE7 desktop icon will be back on view.


    Or for classic Windows desktop:


    The trick is also used to restore IE desktop icon in Windows XP SP3.

    LVL 34

    Expert Comment

    Sorry, you want "easy"

    Run the: Microsoft "FULL SERVICE SCAN"

    LVL 6

    Assisted Solution

    @Michael-Best: I think you have misunderstood his issue, he is not missing the IE icon, all of his icons are messed up, indicating that the icon spacing setting was changed to a low value in display properties.

    I believe a way to restore this to default would be to simply switch to a different theme, then switch back.

    For windows XP using the default Windows XP Style theme: Right click on the desktop background, go to "Appearance" then "Advanced". Change "Windows XP Style" to "Windows Classic Style", apply, then change it back.
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    I've tested and changing the theme keeps your current icon spacing intact. You will have to manually reset his settings.

    Mine were set as follows:

    Icon Spacing Horizontal: 43
    Icon Spacing Verticle: 43

    I had to restart explorer in order to make this change take effect, so if it doesn't work right away either reboot the computer or go into task manager (Ctrl-Alt-Del) processes tab, and find and "End Task" on the explorer.exe process. Once it has ended, just go to File>New Task and type explorer.exe to restart explorer.
    LVL 5

    Assisted Solution

    You can also try right clicking on a blank spot on the desktop -> Arrange Icons By -> Auto Arrange.  That will align them to a grid based on your icon spacing setting.  If you dont want to leave the setting on, do the same process again, and this time uncheck it.

    Author Closing Comment

    All good answers!!! Thanks!!!

    Featured Post

    Highfive Gives IT Their Time Back

    Highfive is so simple that setting up every meeting room takes just minutes and every employee will be able to start or join a call from any room with ease. Never be called into a meeting just to get it started again. This is how video conferencing should work!

    Join & Write a Comment

    The password reset disk is often mentioned as the best solution to deal with the lost Windows password problem. In Windows 2008, 7, Vista and XP, a password reset disk can be easily created. But besides Windows 7/Vista/XP, Windows Server 2008 and ot…
    If you get continual lockouts after changing your Active Directory password, there are several possible reasons.  Two of the most common are using other devices to access your email and stored passwords in the credential manager of windows.
    This Micro Tutorial will give you a basic overview of Windows DVD Burner through its features and interface. This will be demonstrated using Windows 7 operating system.
    With the advent of Windows 10, Microsoft is pushing a Get Windows 10 icon into the notification area (system tray) of qualifying computers. There are many reasons for wanting to remove this icon. This two-part Experts Exchange video Micro Tutorial s…

    745 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

    Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

    Join & Ask a Question

    Need Help in Real-Time?

    Connect with top rated Experts

    18 Experts available now in Live!

    Get 1:1 Help Now