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I have a weird issue. Every now and then, seemingly at random, my desktop icons' positions reset to alphabetical order. I have them grouped by type -- all my games in one place, IDEs in another, etc. -- and it's incredibly frustrating to have to rearrange them.

This doesn't seem to happen after updates. It does, sometimes, but other updates don't change it, and it sometimes resets without an update. Auto-arrange icons is off, as is "allow themes to change desktop icons", I haven't changed my monitor resolution in six months1, and I've followed just about every piece of advice that didn't involve mucking with the registry, because I don't really like playing around with that on the say-so of some random person on the internet. This keeps happening anyway.

Short of installing some software, how can I permanently prevent Windows from rearranging my desktop icons? Is it possible?


1: Intentionally, at least. It's entirely possible that Windows is mucking with the resolution settings and hiding it from me.

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I had this problem. You did the steps I did as well when I was troubleshooting, but it just wasn't a permanent solution.

I ended up deleting all the icon caches in the local AppData folder. Mind that this is just a cache, so it's nothing that will be replaced thereafter once is caches your icons to rebuild the cache. This involves a bit of Command Prompt (or PowerShell, whichever you fancy).

1) Navigate to the following in Explorer (and of course, use your actual username):

C:\Users\YourUserName\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer

2) Hold the 'Shift' key and right-click in the window, and in the menu click "Open command window here" (it may also say Power Shell).

3) To confirm you're in the right spot use the dir command. What populates should match the Explorer folder results.

4) Right-click on the taskbar and open the Task Manager (click more details if only the fewer details version is up).

5) Under the "Processes" tab, locate the "Windows Explorer" entry , right-click on it, and then click "end task" (as of course you may know, this will not break anything beyond making all the Windows Explorer items go away for the moment).

6) In Command Prompt (or Power Shell) enter del iconcache*.

7) Re-enter the dir command to ensure what was there before is now gone.

8) With Ctrl-Alt-Delete, sign off and sign back in and you should be good to go!

This is my first posted answer in StackExchange, so please let me know if this helps or if you have any comments!

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    Hey! I've done this, so now it's time to wait to see if my icons get rearranged again. Hopefully not. Thanks for the help!
    – Nic
    Jan 20, 2018 at 20:55
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    Nope, they got rearranged again.
    – Nic
    Feb 5, 2018 at 17:46
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    ...Okay, I feel a bit dumb. I just realized that I did this on my laptop, not the desktop that's been having this issue. Let me actually try this on the machine with problems and report back.
    – Nic
    Feb 6, 2018 at 0:43
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    Haha! Made my heart sink for a moment. Hope it works for you.
    – ForCom5
    Feb 6, 2018 at 0:45
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    Hopefully! This time I'll do it right, haha.
    – Nic
    Feb 6, 2018 at 0:46

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