Desktop icons keep moving in Windows 7

February 9, 2011 at 07:26:09
Specs: Windows 7
I had this issue of desktop icons rearranging themselves in Windows 7 whenever I would restart or reboot and what fixed my problem was the following:

1. Right click on the desktop.

2. Choose "Personalize".

3. On the left hand side of this control pannel, click "Change desktop icons."

4. There was a box that was checked next to "Allow themes to change deskop icons." When I unchecked this box and restarted my computer, all my desktop icons remained where I had them. I both shut down my computer completely and restarted my computer and after both times, all my desktop icons remained where they were.

Note: I had changed my original desktop background, so it seems that when this box was checked, Windows 7 would rearrange the icons based on how they thought the icons would best look with whatever desktop background you have.

Hope this helps.

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February 10, 2011 at 12:03:04

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February 10, 2011 at 14:35:14
Great suggestion. This was the first time I ever posted to this website, so actually, I was unaware of the "How To" section. I took your advice and reposted this topic in the How To section.

thanks for the heads up.

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July 5, 2011 at 07:28:47

It just resolved my problem!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you very much!

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Related Solutions

August 12, 2011 at 21:23:56
On another forum, Educationalist wrote:

After arranging your icons, right-click the desktop and click 'Refresh'. That'll lock the current icons in place. [F5 also works if the desktop is the active window.]
Caveat: If you change a document with MS office it'll delete the old icon and generate a new one. I use OpenOffice which seems to leave the icons intact.

I think that Educationalist is onto something, as the following procedure worked for me:

(Note: I have the Save and Restore Desktop Icon Layout utility installed, the one that uses a right-click on the desktop, *not* the one that requires a right-click on the 'Computer' link in the Start Menu. [See:, line 188, click on right side to download, which contains the files layout.dll, and iconlayout.vbs. The vbs file updates the registry automatically, which allows the utility to be used by right-clicking on the desktop, not the 'Computer' link in the start menu.] I highly recommend that utility, having used it under Windows Vista (32 bit) as well as XP. Occasional icon-location 'flubs' occur for various reasons, and if one has lots of icons it can be a pain to manually reset their positions on the desktop [if one can even remember where they all belong!]. [Note that there is another version of this utility using the same dll file, but a reg file that modifies the right-click menu for 'Computer' in the start menu, rather than the context menu for the desktop].)

I'm running Windows Vista (32 bit) with Service Pack 2. For some unknown reason, my icons were being reset to one 'mass' on the left side of my desktop, and my usual solution, using the Save and Restore Desktop Icon utility followed by rebooting, was not helping. Also, resetting the icons with the Save and Restore Desktop Icon utility, followed by pressing F5, returned all the icons to the left side of the desktop once again.

Educationalist's solution, above, began: "After arranging your icons...". The key seems to be that arranging the icons must be done *by hand* (not with the Save and Restore Desktop Icon utility)!

I discovered that by pressing F5, which moved all icons to the left of my desktop. I then moved one icon to a slightly different location, and again pressed F5 to refresh. When I did this, I noted that the one icon that I moved remained in its new location. I then restored all the icons using the Save and Restore Desktop Icon Layout utility to their original locations that I use. (I could have done this 'by hand', but that would have taken much longer.) When I pressed F5 again, nothing moved.

This solution worked for me, I hope it works for you, too!


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