Add Important Desktop Icons for Easy and Instantaneous Access

New User Interface in Microsoft Windows Vista/7

In earlier versions of Microsoft Windows operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows XP or before, important icons were by default present on the desktop screens when users logged on to the computers. Although these icons populated desktop screens, they were still considered quite handy for new users and students as they provided instantaneous access to the applications, programs or windows which were frequently used by them.

In order to increase the presentation of desktop screens and enhance visibility, Microsoft has removed all icons from the desktop screens except Recycle Bin. Where this new interface provides users a clean ambience, it also adds additional overhead to their daily tasks as in these cases they are compelled to follow the lengthy process to open frequently visited applications or windows. For example, in earlier versions of Microsoft Windows (Microsoft Windows XP or earlier) if users wanted to view number of partitions present in the hard disk drives they were supposed to double-click My Computer icon that was present on the desktop screens. However if users want to view number of drives available in Microsoft Windows 7 computers they must follow the lengthy path to do so which includes clicking Start button and then clicking Computer option from the menu.

Although Microsoft has removed all important icons from the desktop screen it still allows users to get them back for easier access with few simple mouse clicks. This configuration is user specific and therefore it does not require any elevated privileges. Any configuration or modification done is only reflected on the users profile from where the modifications have been done.

Adding Icons on Desktop Screens

As mentioned before adding icons on desktop screen is a profile specific configuration, any user account (administrative or non-administrative) can be used to do so. Steps that users must follow in order to add icons on desktop screens are as below:

  1. Log on to Windows 7 computer with the account on which the configuration has to be done.
  2. Right-click anywhere on the desktop, and from the context menu click Personalize.
  3. On the opened window, from the left bar, click Change desktop icons.
  4. On Desktop Icons Settings window, under Desktop iconssection, check the checkboxes representing the names of the icons that are to be placed on the desktop screen.

    Add Desktop Icons

  5. Once done, click OK button to save the changes and allow them to take effect.
  6. Close all the opened windows or press Windows + D keys simultaneously to jump directly to the desktop screen to view the desktop icons.
Author: Vivek Nayyar

Works as Systems Admin in Siskin Technologies, India. Corporate trainer on Microsoft and Cisco platform. Specialized in Virtualization Technology. LAN Consultant for some local organizations.