Knowing how to hide desktop icons in Windows can be extremely useful if want a clean desktop. If you’re unsure how to hide your desktop icons, then you’re in the right place as our easy-to-follow steps will guide you through the process.
There are a few different reasons why you might want to hide desktop icons. Maybe you’ve downloaded a fresh desktop wallpaper that you want to admire, or perhaps you just dislike the cluttered look of a desktop crammed full of icons that you rarely interact with.
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Thankfully, Windows makes the process of hiding all your desktop icons pretty straightforward. The process takes literally seconds and can be completed in just a few clicks. Windows also offers the ability to hide what are commonly referred to as system icons such as “This PC” and “Recycle Bin."
If you want a cleaner desktop, then follow the steps below and we’ll walk you through how to hide desktop icons in Windows from start to finish.
How to hide desktop icons in Windows: Hide all icons
1. Begin on your desktop. Simply close or navigate away from any open programs, to access your desktop, or click the "Show desktop" button in the bottom-right corner of your screen.
2. Right-click your desktop. This will bring up a menu with various options. Select the "View" option.
3. You will now see a submenu. At the bottom of this submenu is the option to "Show desktop icons." It will be checked by default.
Uncheck the "Show desktop icons option" to hide all your desktop icons.
4. If you want your desktop icons to return, simply repeat the steps above. This time, select the "Show desktop icons" option and your desktop icons will reappear.
How to hide desktop icons in Windows: Hide system icons
1. Starting from your desktop, right-click and select "Personalise" from the menu.
2. This will bring up the Settings menu. Navigate to the "Themes" submenu, then scroll all the way down till you see a "Related Settings" heading.
Select the "Desktop icon settings" option from underneath that heading.
3. This will automatically open a new window. From here you can simply check or uncheck the system icons you wish to appear on your desktop.
4. Once you’ve picked your preferred system desktop icons, click OK to save your selection. Your desktop should update immediately, with the unwanted icons gone.
More Windows tips
For other Windows trips and ticks check out our guides on how to create a Kill Switch in Windows, how to keep your PC awake without touching it, how to use System Restore in Windows 10, how to batch rename multiple files in Windows 10, how to use Enhanced Search Mode in Windows 10, how to change your Windows username and how to check your hard drive's health.
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Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.