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Can you block installers from making desktop shortcuts?

How can I prevent installers and upgrades from summarily dropping shortcuts into the Public Desktop on Windows 7 Home?

Every time I update iTunes or firefox or acroread or flash or the gimp or whatever-needs-frequent-updating, the update litters everyone's desktop by placing a shortcut in C:\Users\Public\Desktop.

I do not recall this behavior under XP. Instead, most installers would give the option to add a Desktop icon or not. So far, however, I haven't been given that choice under Windows 7. Am I missing something?

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marked as duplicate by Daniel Beck Feb 1 '13 at 15:23

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

are you able to make the public desktop folder read-only? and if so does that prevent the installers from creating shortcuts in it? – Xantec Nov 23 '10 at 15:11
@Xantec, that's a reasonable suggestion, thanks. However, I install as admin, so I think read-only-ness is moot. (Additionally, I'd prefer not to tweak default system config/layout if I can avoid it.) – pilcrow Nov 23 '10 at 16:49
I don't think you can stop it without the suggestion to make the folder read-only. That said, it's not a Windows 7 thing - it's happened since time immemorial with Acrobat Reader and Firefox in my experience, and I hate it too. I just never considered making the folder read-only :-). – user3463 Nov 25 '10 at 5:30
@Randolph_Potter - I don think it is possible in Windows 7. Just tried to it. At first it looks like it work but when checking properties afterward it was set back to the default -- not checked or unchecked but filled it (???). Could have been a neat solution. – SgtOJ Nov 30 '10 at 16:25
@Brian Ojeda, wow. I find that unexpected. – pilcrow Nov 30 '10 at 20:28
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I use a little VB script to just move the icons to each user's desktop instead of to the Public one. I'm sure there's a better way to get each user's name, but I just hardcoded it. It will still put icons on each user's profile, but at least each person can choose whether or not they have it.

Copy the following into Notepad and save to your desktop as a ".vbs" file. Change the Users to match the Users of the computer. And change the "dim User(4)" line to be the number of users you have. If you put yourself as User(1) it will open your Desktop Folder after it copies the icons so you can delete any you don't want. When you have new icons just double click on it and they'll be moved out of the "Public" folder.

Dim ObjFso
Dim StrSourceLocation
Dim StrDestinationLocation
Dim StrSourceFileName
Dim StrDestinationFileName
dim objFileCopy
dim file
dim Users(4)
dim i
Dim SH, txtFolderToOpen 

StrSourceLocation = "C:\Users\Public\Desktop"
Users(1) = "Brian"
Users(2) = "Danny"
Users(3) = "Cory"
Users(4) = "Jess"

on error Resume Next

for i = 1 to 4

    StrDestinationLocation = "C:\Users\" & Users(i) & "\Desktop"

    'All text files will be copied to destination
    StrSourceFileName = "*.*"

    'Creating the file system object
    Set ObjFso = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")

    'Copying the file
    ObjFso.CopyFile StrSourceLocation & "\" & StrSourceFileName, StrDestinationLocation & "\" , True
    if err.Number <> 0 then
        Msgbox "No files to move"
    end if

Set ObjFso = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
For Each file In ObjFso.GetFolder(StrSourceLocation).Files

Set SH = WScript.CreateObject("Shell.Application") 
txtFolderToOpen = "C:\Users\" & users(1) & "\Desktop"
SH.Explore txtFolderToOpen 
Set SH = Nothing 
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I think this is just coincidence; the behavior shouldn't have changed in Win7. It's still controlled by the installers. I certainly haven't seen it happening.

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Well, it's been consistently co-incidental with every aforementioned upgrade... :) – pilcrow Nov 23 '10 at 16:48
I guess this might be something that's handled uniquely in Home (which isn't something I use much) but that wouldn't make a lick of sense. I've certainly never seen it in higher-tier versions. – Shinrai Nov 23 '10 at 17:06
well, in a wierd way it does make sense. at home, where Home is marketed, a multi-user system is more likely to have users using the same applications in an unmanaged environment. by re-adding the icons to the public desktop it ensure that all users get a link to the newest installed version of the app – Xantec Nov 23 '10 at 17:21

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