Hide Desktop Icons

by Wayne Maples [Published on 22 March 2006 / Last Updated on 22 March 2006]

This tip has been recently updated. It details how to remove desktop icons on various Windows systems.

To hide all Desktop Icons from Explorer, use the following Windows NT / Windows 2000 / Windows XP registry hack :

Hive: HKEY_CURRENT_USER
Key: Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer
Name: NoDesktop
Type: REG_DWORD
Value: 1

With this key enabled, in addition, you cannot right click on the desktop to get a context menu. This is a lockdown option.

Almost all Windows NT registry hacks work for Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Windows NT and Windows XP have the Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer key by default. Windows 2000 does not. But if you create the key with the NoDesktop value set to 1, the hack works for Windows 2000 also. When you create the Explorer key under Policies, you will be prompted for a class. Leave it blank.

To hide all Desktop Icons from Explorer but still enable right-clicking on the desktop there is the following registry hack :

Hive: HKEY_CURRENT_USER
Key: Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced
Name: HideIcons
Type: REG_DWORD
Value: 1

Thanks to Zoran Stojanovic for updating the tip for us.

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