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I have a Windows 7 Laptop, and lately its been acting really weird with my 1080p Monitor. When I get home from school, Ill plug my screen in, and close my laptop lid (which makes the laptop treat the Monitor as the primary and only screen). However it will move my desktop icons!

This also happens when I remove / unplug the screen, as shown in the pictures. I hate this, as Im the kinda person who's use to every icon being in a set spot, and so am use to their location. Its a massive hassle to try and move the icons back to their original spot.

Anyone have any ideas on how to fix this?


P.S it could be due to the resolution of the screen's being different, but this never happened before in the past

Icons on External Moniter (after having moved them manually back into place): Icons on External Moniter (after having moved them manually back into place)

Icons after unplugging external monitor (and so using Laptop screen): Icons after unplugging external monitor

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What is resolution set on both monitors? I think this could be the cause of resolution difference between the monitors. – avirk Jun 21 '12 at 20:37
The laptops internal screen is 1366x768, while the 1080p monitor is 1920 x 1080. However I think its more than just the screen res as in the past its just left the icons where they are, arranged for a 1366 x 768 screen res while running at 1080p – Gareth Jones Jun 21 '12 at 20:48
Set both resolution to the same and then check out what happen. – avirk Jun 21 '12 at 20:49
Will do when i get the chance... – Gareth Jones Jun 21 '12 at 20:51
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Every time I have observed that behavior, the resolution resized in such a way that a desktop icon has to move. Curiously, one Windows PC I use(d) would remember the icon locations for each resolution and they would "go back" when I switched to the other resolution.

I get this a lot because I use ssvnc to remote desktop the quickbooks computer we have. It has a small hdtv as its monitor, which powers off quickly... so fairly often, I'll log in to it, get 800x600 or some odd size then right click on desktop to get the 1632x1200-whatever proper size for when the monitor is powered on.

If both of your screens are larger than your desktop, perhaps you are going to "no" desktop and Windows thinks it wants one of the default vga sizes and shuffles your icons accordingly.

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This has been my experience too, where it remembers the location. This is specifically why I threw money at Stardock for their Fences app. – user3463 Jun 21 '12 at 21:53

In Windows registry (Win+r -> regedit -> Enter):

  • Go to


  • To be safe, export it to "noSaveSettingsRestore.reg".
  • Create Explorer key if it is not already there.
  • Add new DWORD (if your running 32-bit) / QWORD (for 64-bit) NoSaveSettings value and set to 0.
  • Reboot.
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I had almost the same problem except all my icons had dissapeared. I dont know if this will help but for any of you looking for an answer, try unpluging your secondary screen and then try to right click on the desktop and press "sort after" (i think that's what it should say, my computer is swedish) and just pick one like: "name" or something. Atleast this worked for me but you could try it out if you want :)

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Remove the external display and open a desktop file location. Copy all the icons on that location to the desktop and close the windows.

Restart the computer and try connecting and disconnecting the external monitor.

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