How to Display Windows 7 System Icons on Your Desktop

  1. "How to Display Windows 7 System Icons on Your Desktop" looks at a couple of ways to add System icons to your desktop, such as Computer, Network, Control Panel, Documents, and others. Also noted is an easy way to change the name of your Recycle Bin.

    In another article some time back, we covered how to remove all the clutter from your Windows 7 desktop. Some users love a completely clean desktop that does not interfere with the beautiful art we call wallpaper. However, Windows XP came with system icons displayed on the desktop by default.

    While some users have eagerly left XP behind to adopt Windows 7, many are holding out until Microsoft ends security update support in April, 2014. For those of you who miss the system icons displayed on your desktop, it is an easy matter to place them there in Windows 7.

    The only icon you normally see on your Windows 7 desktop when you boot up is the Recycle Bin. Evidently Microsoft is all for the cleaner look!

    It is an easy matter to place any of the system icons on your desktop by clicking the Start button, and right clicking links on the right hand panel of the Start menu, such as Computer, Network, Control Panel, Downloads, Documents, Pictures, and any others displayed that you would like to see on your desktop.

    When you right click a link, the context menu of many of them will include an option to Show on Desktop (See Fig. 1 below). Some of the links use the Send To option, which provides a pop out menu where you can select Desktop (Create Shortcut). Still, there will be one or two that will not cooperate, providing only an Open or Properties or Rename link.

    Fig. 1

    There is an alternate method whereby you can perform the same task by clicking Start > Control Panel> Personalization, and then clicking on Change desktop icons on the left side of the Personalization screen. You can then place or remove check marks to reflect your preferences.

    Another little tip I enjoyed using to customize my desktop somewhat is renaming the Recycle Bin. In all earlier versions of Windows, changing the name of the Recycle Bin required editing the Windows Registry, which is something best to be avoided. Making a mistake in editing the Registry can render Windows unable to boot. If you want to rename your Recycle Bin to something catchy, like Dumpster, Trash Compactor, or just plain Trashy, just right click the Recycle Bin and select Rename from the context menu. Use your imagination!

    What do you think?

    Do you like a clean desktop, or do you enjoy placing system icons and shortcuts on your desktop?

    Any thoughts you care to share would be most welcome.
    Last edit by Joe V on Jan 15, '15
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