Add or delete desktop icons

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

Watch this video to learn how to add or delete desktop icons (1:31)

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
Picture of an example shortcut on the desktop
Example of a file stored on the desktop
Picture of an example file stored on the desktop

You can learn more about working with desktop icons and other Windows 7 desktop features in The desktop (overview).

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To add an icon

  1. Locate the item that you want to create a shortcut for.

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


To delete an icon

  • Right-click an icon on the desktop, click Delete, and then click Yes.‌ Administrator permission required If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

To add or remove common desktop icons

You can add or remove special Windows desktop icons, including shortcuts to the Computer folder, your personal folder, the Network folder, the Recycle Bin, and Control Panel. If you remove one of these special icons from view, you can always add it back.

  1. Open Personalization by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Control Panel. In the search box, type personalization, and then click 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.