Windows Icons all bunched together

Posted on 2009-04-15
Medium Priority
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
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Accepted Solution

spamster earned 400 total points
ID: 24150292
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

ID: 24150310
I will give it a try and let you know!  Thanks!

Assisted Solution

skywalker39 earned 400 total points
ID: 24150320
Hi submarinerssbn731,

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LVL 34

Assisted Solution

Michael-Best earned 400 total points
ID: 24150669
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

ID: 24150784
Sorry, you want "easy"

Run the: Microsoft "FULL SERVICE SCAN"


Assisted Solution

bradl3y earned 400 total points
ID: 24151544
@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.

Expert Comment

ID: 24151610
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.

Assisted Solution

computrex earned 400 total points
ID: 24152281
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

ID: 31570570
All good answers!!! Thanks!!!

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