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I use my desktop like a real desktop and keep a small number of items on it that I'm currently working on arranged in a manner that makes sense to me so I can find what I want.

Sometimes, after a reboot, the files and folder don't retain thier postions, and end up sorted up the left edge. This often happens to only newly added icons (with many older files quite happily sat in their previous positions).

I assume that somehow the desktop "state" isn't being saved correctly?

Does anyone know what might be causing this to happen, and how/where the desktop state is saved?

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This happens on XP too :( – Force Flow Aug 21 '10 at 17:58

Not quite an answer to stuff moving around at random (which shouldn't happen), but fences from stardock is a pretty useful tool for keeping a desktop organised - and it seems to do a good job at remembering positions. Its one of those things i wish was default on windows.

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Looks interesting, but stuff tends to stay on my desktop for pretty short periods (my recycle bin lives on the taskbar, so my DT is entirely "current" objects) - so, while this might work around this issue, I'm not sure installing it would be worth while for me - but that's for the suggestion. – DMA57361 Aug 21 '10 at 19:57
Fences kicks a lot of tail. I believe SmartMon (Sorry, not in front of my PC at the moment) also has a 'preserve desktop layout' function. – Uninspired Sep 15 '10 at 22:32

As a workaround to this problem on Windows Server 2008, I tried this program to save and restore the layout. It seems to work well. Actually fixing the Windows behavior would obviously be preferable.

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The two reasons I know for moving random icons on the Windows desktop are: either a change of the resolution: changing to a smaller resolution rearranges the 'cut-off' icons. Or like you already stated: an unsaved state of the desktop. Even if icons or other files are saved once and their location has been saved by windows, a change of these files (like changing your python-code and then saving it) might rearrange them if the desktop-state wasn't saved at shut-down.

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Ok, well I can rule out resolution changes in my case. So, what might cause the desktop state to not be saved? My system is shutdown correctly after use. – DMA57361 Aug 23 '10 at 10:24
Windows 95 had a feature that allowed you to save your settings without shutting down. If I remember correctly, you would follow the normal procedure for shutting down, but hold the Shift key down, and it would save your settings but not shut down. Sadly, I don't think this feature was carried over to later version of Windows. – boot13 Sep 3 '10 at 13:56

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