When I start Windows 7 none of the icons on my desktop have focus. I have to click on one of the icons with the mouse to give it focus. Is there a keyboard shortcut to give focus to an icon? (It doesn't need to be a particular icon.)

4 Answers 4


Use Alt+TAB or Windows+D to get on the desktop and then start to move with the arrow key on the desktop to switch on your desired shortcut. By default first shortcut(which is left side in upper corner) will highlight. I would suggest personally use Windows+D shortcut because this is the most fast way to see desktop rather than switch among many applications.


Go to the desktop by pressing WIN LOGO + D to go the desktop immediately and pressing the arrow keys once or more than once should help. Always works for me.

To shift your focus to the taskbar press WIN LOGO + the numberly order of your app, this should work.

To shift the focus to the notifications area press WIN LOGO + B, you'll find the ^ button highlighted.


Try Alt + tab as well as switching between active applications it should allow you to select the desktop as well

  • Well, I can't make it work if there are no active applications. (But I usually have at least one active application, so I appreciate your answer).
    – user12816
    Sep 4, 2011 at 18:27
  • @user12816 I'll have a try when I'm next on my windows box, I'm sure that's worked before.
    – Col
    Sep 4, 2011 at 18:59

Press in sequence:
- WinKey (Start Menu popups, or Desktop appears on Windows 8).
- Shift+Tab

You are now focused on the Desktop.
You can even start typing the name of some icon on the Desktop (for example, "Documents"), if you want to focalize it (start it by pressing Enter, of course).

This method works on any Windows version (98, 2000, XP, Vista, 7... could someone, please, confirm for Windows 8? I am not completely sure) or edition (Server, Home, Pro, Ultimate... etc).
This method does not affect the position of any window nor notification ballon on the notification area (sometimes it is mostly nagging to close all your windows to give focus to the desktop).

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