Add or remove icons from the desktop

You can add or remove desktop‌ icons for programs, files, pictures, locations, and more.

Most of the icons you add to your desktop will be shortcuts, but you can also save files or folders to the desktop. If you delete files or folders that are stored on your desktop, they are moved to the Recycle Bin, where you can permanently delete them. If you delete a shortcut, the shortcut is removed from your desktop, but the file, program, or location that the shortcut links to is not deleted.

You can identify shortcuts by the arrow on their icon.

Example of a shortcut on the desktop
Example of a shortcut on the desktop
Example of a file stored on the desktop
Example of a file stored on the desktop
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To add an icon

  1. Locate the item that you want to create a shortcut for. (For help with finding a file or folder, see Find a file or folder. For help with finding a program, see The Start menu (overview).)

  2. Right-click the item, click Send To, and then click Desktop (create shortcut). The shortcut icon appears on your desktop.

To remove an icon

  • Right-click an icon on the desktop, and then click Delete.

To add or remove common desktop icons

You can add or remove common desktop icons, including shortcuts to the Computer folder, your personal folder, the Network folder, the Recycle Bin, and Control Panel, by following these steps.

  1. Open Personalization by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Appearance and Personalization, and then clicking Personalization.

  2. In the left pane, click Change desktop icons.

  3. Under Desktop icons, select the check box for each icon that you want to add to the desktop, or clear the check box for each icon that you want to remove from the desktop, and then click OK.