How can I reduce the size of my desktop icons if the video resolution is already on the highest setting?

  • This answer allows to change icon size, horizontal and veritcal spacing, without rebooting!
    – Basj
    Mar 14, 2018 at 17:30

3 Answers 3


If you click a blank bit of the desktop, hold down the Ctrl key and scroll down using the mouse wheel, you can scale down the desktop icons until they're almost non-existent.

Ctrl + scroll wheel works to zoom in most applications (browser, MS Office, Windows Explorer, etc.).

  • 1
    Works on Vista too
    – Motti
    Sep 8, 2009 at 9:42
  • 1
    What if you have a busted mouse wheel like mine? It is very hard to control precisely. I wish there was a keyboard combination
    – acheron55
    Apr 10, 2016 at 20:04

Right click the desktop > View > Small Icons (Classic on Vista). That is the smallest icon size you can have.

enter image description here

If these sizes are still not small (or big) enough for you, then you can hold down Ctrl whilst scrolling the Scroll Wheel to change it to the exact size you want.

  • Ctrl + mouse wheel is great
    – eqzx
    Jan 13, 2010 at 0:49
  • Best answer - doesn't the mouse wheel just control the zoom? Pretty sure mine was on the smallest zoom already (default).
    – Brett
    Mar 17, 2019 at 14:02

I haven't tested this but I would've thought this was a registry setting, according to google it is :)

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics]
"Shell Icon Size"="36"

The value '36' is the default (medium size) if I'm correct, a smaller value means smaller icons.

Note: Fiddling with the registry can be dangerous so only use this if the default 'small/medium/large/extra large' don't suffice.

  • I have tested this and there was no influence on the desktop icons size (though I did not attempt to restart).
    – Joe
    Jul 1, 2012 at 10:57

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