Control System Icons Displayed on the Windows XP Desktop

Everyone has their own ideas as to what constitutes their “perfect” Windows desktop. Some prefer the clean and crisp look, where shortcut icons are kept to an absolute minimum. Others deem substance more important than style, and prefer to use their Desktop real estate as a placeholder for shortcuts to all of their most commonly used programs and system tools.

Creating shortcuts to programs is easy enough, but some users struggle after making the decision to remove certain “key” desktop icons like those associated with the Recycle Bin or My Computer. Most often, these icons are removed by accident, leaving the user in a panic as to how they can be removed to their rightful place.

Microsoft’s free Tweak UI PowerToy makes it easy to return certain key system icons to their rightful place without the need to dig through system settings or edit the Registry. By opening the program and browsing to the Desktop icon you can control whether the Internet Explorer, My Computer, My Documents, My Network Places, and Recycle Bin icons appear on your XP desktop. Simply check those you want to appear and uncheck those you want to hide, click OK and you’re off to the races.

Author: Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a freelance author, consultant, trainer, and the managing editor of He is the author of the CCNA Study Guide found on this site, as well as many books including the PC Magazine titles Windows XP Security Solutions and Windows Vista Security Solutions. Click here to contact Dan.