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I have two monitors connected to my computer. (same graphics card. One HDMI, the other DVI).

Whenever I do one of the following things, my icons move around on my desktop:

  1. Play a Game
  2. Turn off one monitor

When I stop playing the game or turn one of the monitors back on, Windows 7 does not properly restore the icon locations.

Is there is a way I can prevent Windows from moving my desktop icons around?

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Can you connect the HDMI monitor to a VGA or another DVI port? –  Vladislav Zorov May 31 '11 at 16:07
    
No. :( only two ports on my video card: DVI and HDMI. –  ray023 May 31 '11 at 16:14
    
Oh.. sorry to hear that. It doesn't work correctly if Windows thinks it's a TV, otherwise with two normal monitors it's working correctly. –  Vladislav Zorov May 31 '11 at 16:16

3 Answers 3

No. When the screen resolution changes, Explorer will automatically move icons that would otherwise be off-screen.

(Imagine the complaints if it didn't do that. "I changed my monitor and now half my files are gone!")

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i understand what you are saying, but windows does such a piss-poor job 'restoring' icons, they should at least make it a setting u could toggle. –  ray023 May 29 '11 at 17:04
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I figured out one way to handle this. I have an application I use (fences) which allows me to group all my icons. I already had most of my desktop icons grouped with this application and noticed that they restore properly. So, I just created a "Miscellaneous" group and threw all my stray icons in there. I don't like this solution, but it's the best one I can come up with since windows will not properly restore icons or allow me to turn that "feature" off. :P

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I found something that works for me and hopefully it will work for others too.

  1. Without your monitors plugged in, right-click on your desktop, hover over "View" and turn off the feature "Align icons to grid"
  2. Plug in your monitor and proceed only if your icons remain in their original positions
  3. Turn "Align icons to grid" back on the same way you turned it off.

Using the steps above, this should allow you to unplug/turn-off monitors and replug/turn-on monitors without your icons moving all over the place.

I noticed with this, however, that it's save-file-like and you will need to redo the steps if you want to move icons around. I tested this by unplugging my monitor, moving an icon (without changing the grid feature) and plugging my monitor back in. I observed that the icon returned to its original position on my desktop as it was before I moved it and the rest of my icons stayed in the same spot. I then unplugged my monitor and found that icon to move to where I originally moved it to, so I turned the grid feature off, plugged in my monitor and then turned the grid feature back on and found the icon to stay in its new position.

I don't know how well this will work for your games (worst off you just need to leave the grid feature off) but it will hopefully solve turning monitors on and off.

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