Featured - How to hide desktop icons on Windows 10 (All Icons, System Icons, Specific Icons)

Despite being part of Windows for decades, desktop icons are still a contentious topic. Some swear by them, while others hate the clutter they introduce to their desktop background. Today we’re going to show you how to hide desktop icons if you’re one of those people, or how to show them again if your Windows 10 desktop icons are missing.

Hidden icons make your desktop more beautiful

Hiding all of your desktop icons is a simple matter and one that we’ll still cover today. However, we’ll also be covering hiding only some Windows 10 desktop icons. For example, you can hide your single icons, system icons, or everything other than system icons.

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How to Hide All Desktop Icons in Windows 10

If you just want all desktop icons gone from your life, this is how you do it:

  1. How to hide desktop icons

    Right-click your desktop and hover over “View” in the context menu. Untick the “Show desktop icons” option.

    Windows 10 - Desktop - View - Uncheck Show Desktop Icons

  2. How to show Windows 10 desktop icons

    If your Windows 10 desktop icons are missing, Right-click your desktop, then select “View”. Tick “Show desktop icons”.

    Windows 10 - Desktop - View - Check Show Desktop Icons

How to Show or Hide System Desktop Icons

To customize your desktop further, you can choose which system desktop icons to show and which to hide. 

  1. Open Settings

    Press the Start button, then click the settings cog, above the power button. Alternatively, press Windows + I.

    Windows 10 - Open Settings

  2. Click “Personalization”

     

    Windows 10 - Settings - Personalization

  3. Click “Themes” in the sidebar, then “Desktop icon settings”

    Windows 10 - Settings - Personalization - Themes - Desktop Icon Settings

  4. Tick or untick the system icons you want to hide or show and press “OK”

    Windows 10 - Settings - Personalization - Themes - Desktop Icon Settings - Check or Uncheck Icons - Accept

How to Hide Non-System Windows 10 Desktop Icons

So, what if you want to keep just your chosen system icons on the desktop, or get rid of ones for specific apps? Well, you can delete them, but if you want them in the future, you’ll save yourself a lot of time if you hide them instead. Here’s how you can do that:

  1. Open “This PC”

    Press Start and then type “This PC”. Click the top result.

    Windows 10 - Open This PC

  2. Open the “View” tab of File Explorer and click “Options” in the ribbon

    Windows 10 - This PC - View - Options

  3. Open the “View” tab of Folder Options and tick “Don’t show hidden files, folders, or drives”

    Click “OK” to apply the option. This will ensure that when you hide your icons in the next step, they won’t show up.

    Windows 10 - This PC - View - Options - View - Don´t Show - Ok

  4. Right-click the icon you want to hide and choose “Properties”

    Windows 10 - Desktop - Icon Properties

  5. Tick “Hidden” in the General tab and press “OK”

    Windows 10 - Desktop - Icon Properties - General - Check Hidden - Accept

How to Unhide Previously Hidden Windows 10 Desktop Icons

If you want to get your previously hidden Windows 10 desktop icons back, you can do so by following the steps below:

  1. Open “This PC”

    Press Start and then type “This PC”. Click the top result.

    Windows 10 - Open This PC

  2. Open the “View” tab in File Explorer and click “Options” in the ribbon

    Windows 10 - This PC - View - Options

  3. Open the “View” tab of Folder options and tick “Show hidden files, folders, and drives”

    Press “OK” to show your hidden icons greyed out on your desktop.

    Windows 10 - This PC - View - Options - View -Show - Ok

  4. Right-click a hidden icon and select “Properties”

    Windows 10 - Desktop - Icon Properties

  5. Untick “Hidden” in the General tab and press “OK”

    Windows 10 - Desktop - Icon Properties - General - Uncheck Hidden - Accept

How to Change Desktop Icon Size and Fix Missing Icons

There you have it. You know how to hide desktop icons in Windows 10, show them again, and customize your desktop to have only the shortcuts you want. Now you may want to follow our tutorial on how to change desktop icon size to further meet your preferences.

If you find that some of your desktop icons are still broken or missing, it’s probably the thumbnail cache rather than them being hidden. You can follow our guide on how to fix missing desktop icons here if that’s the case.

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