Does anybody know of a way (in Windows 7) to lock/pin the desktop icons in place once you have arranged them?

My desktop isn't exactly cluttered, I think, there are at any given moment some 45-50. For the sake of easy navigation I try to keep the number to a minimum.

When I have moved the icons around so that they are grouped into categories (roughly) and have their fixed places, it's easy to find what I'm looking for, and one gets used to it, like the layout of ones apartment for example. The desktop 'feels like home' to put it simply, plus it looks good.

Every once in a while upon boot they are moved to the left side of the screen, not sorted alphabetically (which, at least, would have been some help) but in completely random order so it takes unnecessarily long to find what youre looking for.

I would understand it, and accept it, if it ocurred only after I, say, change the resolution, but it happens randomly, 'unprovoked'.

Not a big problem, true, but kind of a drag, so if anybody knows how to pin/lock the icons in place I'd be very grateful to know how.


I presume you have unchecked "auto arrange icons"? You could also uncheck "align icons to grid".

alt text

Some clean up tools CCleaner (for example) can make Windows forget settings like these. Do you have any tools which be might doing it?

If all else fails, here is a link to howtogeek- vista/save-and-restore-desktop-icon-layout.

  • Thanks for replying, outsideblasts! I do run CCleaner on an irregular basis but cannot connect the icon-mess-thingy with CCleaner or anything else. Unfortunately, I must say; it would be so nice to be able to say HAH! That's the culprit! And so move on, but...like I said in the original post it happens randomly, though always after booting up. You say: "I presume you have unchecked "auto arrange icons"? You could also uncheck "align icons to grid". "Auto arrange icons" was unchecked, but "align icons to grid" was checked. I'll un-check that and see if that does it. Thks for the link & answer!
    – MauiWowie
    Dec 31 '09 at 11:24
  • 1
    I have now followed the link you provided, outsideblasts, and it seems that was just what the doctor ordered. Perhaps it's not time to break out the champagne just yet, but it looks very promising indeed! If it works in the long run, then you (and, of course, the how-to-geek) really made a great positive difference...btw I subscribe to the geeks weekly (or is it daily?) newsletter and some of the best tips I have had, ever, bar none, have come from there. A cautious Kudos to you outsideblasts and to the how-to-geek both!
    – MauiWowie
    Dec 31 '09 at 12:41

The only thing on Windows I found that keeps icons in place without user intervention is Stardock Fences. It also groups icons together like you describe:

fences screenshot

Unfortunately, it's now trialware but you can download the older 1.01 freeware version thanks to FileHippo. Works for me on Windows 7


Try pressing F5 after arranging or adding icons, or right-click the desktop and click 'Refresh'. That should lock the current icons in place.

Caveat: If you change a document with MS office it'll delete the old icon and generate a new one. I use OpenOffice which seems to leave the icons intact.


Download the free version of Fences, it lets you put icons into groups, which you can then lock and move around together.


See if you can group your icons in your mind, for example left side, right side, top and bottom. Once you do that make 4 new folders, naming them right icons, etc. Highlight all of the right icons and right click and copy them to the folder entitled: Right Icons.

Do the same for the other three folders. When the icons seem to be out of sync, which happens fairly frequently. You can open your folder and move them back to their proper place.

A little extra that you might try is first renaming the icons, for example: Let's say you have in the upper left corner an icon called COMPUTER. Rename it to 1 computer. The next one to the right would be 2..etc.

Otherwise the icons will get out into sort order and your left icons will be identified properly, but will still be all over the left side of the desktop. By numbering them you have a good idea where each should be.


DesktopOK as stated here, supposedly allows multiple icon configurations to be saved and reselected. http://www.online-tech-tips.com/computer-tips/how-to-save-your-desktop-icon-layout-in-windows-xp/



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