How to show or hide desktop shortcut icons

Updated: 04/26/2017 by Computer Hope

Windows LogoAs you use your Windows-based PC, you may start to notice that you accrue many shortcut icons on the desktop. You can always delete these icons, but sometimes it is easier to temporarily hide them instead so you can view them later. To proceed, follow the instructions in the section below.

Note: Windows has default desktop icons that are built into the operating system. If you want to hide icons such as Recycle Bin, My Computer, My Network Places, or My Documents on or off, you should visit our page created specifically for that issue.

Tip: If you want to hide your desktop icons because there are too many you can also create a new folder on your desktop to store icons. For example, you could break up your icons into groups (e.g. Programs, Games, Documents) and create folders for each of the groups.

Windows Vista, 7, 8, and 10

Show or hide all desktop shortcut icons:

  1. Press the Windows key + D on your keyboard or navigate to the Windows desktop.
  2. Right-click on the desktop and click Personalize.
  3. From the drop-down menu that appears, select View.
  4. Click on Show desktop icons to toggle them on or off.
  5. Repeat these steps to reverse the process.

Hide an individual shortcut icon:

  1. Press the Windows key + D on your keyboard or navigate to the Windows desktop.
  2. Right-click the desktop shortcut icon you'd like to hide.
  3. From the drop-down menu that appears, select Properties.
  4. Under the General tab, locate the Attributes section.
  5. Check the box next to Hidden to hide a single icon.

Note: To show icons, files, and folders you've marked as "hidden" visit our page on how to view hidden files in Windows.