I've looked on the multitude of questions related to Desktop icons in Windows 7 but I haven't found the answer I'm looking for yet.

The goal is to have Desktop icons on the Public folder such that all users see them by default. However, if a user wants to hide all the shortcuts from the Public Desktop, he should be able to.

The last part I haven't found a way. So far it seems to be a "all or nothing" situation. Either you have the shortcuts on a per user basis or having them in the Public/Desktop folder forces everyone to have them visible without being able to change this themselves.

Basically I want the users to be able to disable the integration between their Desktop and the Public one, effectively only seeing what they have in their C:\Users\<User>\Desktop folder.

Edit: Focus on the ability to disable the integration of the User's and Public Desktop.


Considering the fact that it's a Public folder shared for everyone, any change by one user is going to reflect on all computers.

The only way to maintain what you want to do is as you suggested; on a per-user basis.

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    My question is more on the aspect of if there is any way the user can hide/delete undesired icons even if they exist in the Public folder. – unode Jul 14 '11 at 18:09
  • It's a shared folder, so there is no way to achieve what you want. – paradd0x Jul 14 '11 at 18:17
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    I'm not trying to modify the shared folder behavior. I simply don't want the desktop to behave the way it does. I.e. displaying icons in the Public/Desktop folder without an option to disable this. I refuse to believe that there is no way around it. I'll clarify the question to reflect this. – unode Jul 14 '11 at 19:17

Yes you can. In administrator account right click on public desktop directory, security, select user (add if not displayed), edit permissions e.g. deny all rights. I will explain more if I find more time.

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    The question asks how to do it without administrative privileges... I have the same question :P. – Klik Sep 23 '15 at 15:30

Yes you can was proper answer. Just had to do it myself and it's quite simple if you think about it. As I have somewhat larger scenario then one terminal server, then I created ASP page with gridview to manage the users (where they can manage icon integration themselves). The users are pulled from AD to SQL to table with (ID,ADUSER,WantsIcons). As for me, it's asp, then I run C# code in back end (can be done with a script, here are some pointers: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/2008.02.powershell.aspx).

To the point: You need some kind of environment, where you can pass user's administrative right - for example, in very simple environment, you can use task scheduler for that - you create task, that has administrative rights on over Public Desktop folder. Now you add user the right to run that task. That task then (or in my case, C# behind asp page) will change user rights over each shortcut file in the "C:\users\Public Desktop" folder. If you would use web page like me, you could probably make it per icon.

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