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Is it possible to move icons (files) on the desktop of Windows XP without touching the mouse, using the keyboard only?

EDIT: I am specifically interested in an answer that does not involve simply emulating the mouse.

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Move them where? – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Aug 31 '11 at 21:10
Just around the desktop. – Ram Rachum Aug 31 '11 at 21:15
up vote -1 down vote accepted

No it is not possible.

The only way to move windows using your keyboard only is to use the "Move" command in the context menu on the title bar or task bar button. There is no "Move" command in the context menu of an icon on the desktop, neither is there an "Arrange Icons By" option.

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What's with the downvotes? If I'm incorrect, help me out by showing me how. If you just don't like me, man up. – music2myear Aug 31 '11 at 22:16
I downvoted because you admitted yourself that you're wrong on Stuart's answer. You can do this out of the box with Mouse Keys. Now that I see OP doesn't agree, though (to be fair, I think it IS an accurate answer to his question as worded) I'm not sure if I should retract or not. Hmmm. EDIT: Nevermind, I can't unless you edit. – Shinrai Aug 31 '11 at 22:28… – nelaar Sep 12 '11 at 16:42

Another Superuser thread shows the steps for Windows 7 - checking Windows XP Accessibility should cover any differences for XP.

Steps from other thread pasted below:

  1. Open Ease of Access Center by clicking the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Ease of Access, and then clicking Ease of Access Center.
  2. Click Make the mouse easier to use.
  3. Under Control the mouse with the keyboard, select the Turn on Mouse Keys check box.
  4. Use the keys on the numeric keypad to move the mouse.
  5. To move the mouse pointer: Press the arrow keys on the numeric keypad to move the pointer up, down, left, and right. Press the Home, PgUp, End, and PgDn keys to move the pointer diagonally.
  6. To drag an item: Move the pointer over the item you want to drag, and then pres Ins. Use the direction keys to move the item, and then press Del to drop the item where you want it to go.
  7. To click an item: Move the pointer over the item you want to click, and then press 5. To double-click an item, press the plus sign (+). To right-click an item, press the minus sign (-).

PS: You can also turn on Mouse Keys by pressing Left Alt+Left Shift+Num Lock.

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@Ram Rachum - It answers the question of "Is it possible to move icons (files) on the desktop of Windows XP without touching the mouse, using the keyboard only?" Just because you don't LIKE it (and I don't either, it's clunky and not entirely with the spirit of what I think you probably meant) doesn't mean it doesn't COUNT. – Shinrai Aug 31 '11 at 22:30
+1: this is a valid answer. – surfasb Aug 31 '11 at 23:11
@Ram Rachum I'll refer you to my previous comment. If you're not happy with the responses, then edit your question to reflect what you actually want to know. – Stuart McLaughlin Sep 1 '11 at 13:59
@Ram Rachum Apart from the fact that my answer utilises the 'Ease of Access Center. From Microsoft: "The Ease of Access Center is a central location that you can use to set up the accessibility settings and programs available in Windows". I still have no idea what you are trying to achieve and as Shinrai said, you've received an answer to your question and there doesn't appear to be any alternatives, so the short answer to your question is 'Yes' but since you don't like that answer, it's 'No'. – Stuart McLaughlin Sep 1 '11 at 15:25
@Ram Rachum - I would say that your definition of "can" and "can't" needs a bit of modification. I would say you can't do it in such a manner that it's worthwhile, unless you have no other options. Just saying that you can't implies that it's completely impossible, which is clearly not the case. The answer is valid though, and if you ever for whatever reason absolutely had to move some icons and you had no pointing device available, this would be your only solution. – Shinrai Sep 2 '11 at 14:53

You can do a very inefficient trick!

You'll need to know that SHIFT+F10 allows you to open right-click context menu (call it CM for short). For best effect you'll need the following options to be set like so:

  • Uncheck "CM > View > Auto arrange icons"
  • Check "CM > View > Align icons to grid"

Now follow this series of steps, mix it up, add in some delete steps until you get the desired the result:

  1. Put an item on the desktop (e.g. "CM > New > Text Document", hopefully the icon you want to move is already there.)
  2. Select a random item using Down-Arrow key, then navigate to the item you want to move using arrow keys.
  3. Push CTRL+C to copy the item onto your clipboard.
  4. Push CTRL+V several times to fill up your desktop with that icon.
  5. Locate the icon at the location you want, then delete the others.
  6. Rename the file you want to keep ("CM > Rename")

Basically you can treat the desktop as a table of icons. After filling it, you delete the cells that you don't want.

You can re-select the desktop after having an item selected by deleting something. You should copy something then delete it to use this trick.

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Haha........... – Ram Rachum Sep 12 '11 at 12:13
that ... is sketchy ... beyond measure. I like it! – warren Sep 12 '11 at 21:48

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