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Windows 7: Desktop icon placement does not survive a desktop refresh or a reboot

13 Jul 2012   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate Build 7600
Desktop icon placement does not survive a desktop refresh or a reboot

Recently my desktop icon placement has not been able to stay put if I do a desktop refresh or a computer reboot. I have looked at many internet hits on this same topic and no solution suggested has worked. I've tried them all til I'm blue in the face!

I have done the IconCache.db thing where you can delete an existing file from the hidden ...\Appdata\Local\ directory and restart the explorer. There was no file there. Yes, I have show hidden files turned on. Restarting explorer doesn't help. Rebooting is supposed to re-create the file, but it doesn't. Resetting the colors from 32 to 16 and back is supposed to rebuild the cache. It doesn't. Still no file there. After manually placing a few icons and refreshing the desktop, it is supposed to remember where they are, but it doesn't, they just fly back to where they were before manually moving them.

This is getting to be very aggravating and frustrating. I don't know why this has started all of a sudden, and I cannot seem to find a solution from the many internet hits on the same topic.

Someone out there, please help with fixing this problem. I know I'm not the only one with it. Thanks!

My System SpecsSystem Spec

13 Jul 2012   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, SP1

I am using Win 7 Home \premium.

When I had my Vista Home Premium, I had over 200 desktop icons/shortcuts.
Dam things would relocate whenever they wanted. Imagine the frustration and anger trying to find the shortcut I wanted ?
I finally came across this tutorial :
Save and Restore Desktop Icon Layout in Windows Vista - How-To Geek
I used it and it worked. If one or 2 icons ever moved, one right click will put them back where they were supposed to be.

Yesterday, while on my Windows 7, I decided to install that program as well and see if it also works in Win 7.
It does.

Give it a try and please report back.

Note : at the end there is a notice about 32-bit and 64-bit.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Jul 2012   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate Build 7600


Thanks for your reply. I was hoping for a fix to this issue, not just a workaround. I tried your suggestion and it at first appeared to work on 64 bit Win 7 Ultimate, but on closer examination, not all the icon positions were saved. I moved some around, did a save, then a refresh to put them back, then a restore, and not all the icons went back to where I have saved them.

I have another workaround that works much better on saving and restoring the icon positions, DesktopOK from, but still, I have to restore after a refresh or reboot, not exactly the ideal answer.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

13 Jul 2012   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, SP1

I doubt there is a " fix " for this issue. Too minor for Microsoft.

One point I did not mention...
I've made it a habit that now and then I will create a restore point when things are working smoothly. If I accidentally get the desktop icons scrambled, I do a system restore. That always put all icons back where they were.

That's the best we can do, I think.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Jul 2012   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate Build 7600

Thanks t-4-2,

I was able to do a restore to a point about a week ago and recover full functionality, i.e. desktop refresh now does not put icons back to some other positions, and now there is an IconCache.db file, and renaming it to something else and restarting explorer now does recreate the file. I have not rebooted yet, but I think the icon placement will stay put. I also am now using DesktopOK to save an icon position file so it can be restored, if needed. Nice little free utility, but should not be necessary. There was a critical Windows 7 update between then too, so maybe something in that munged it up. Now I need to go find what all software app updates I need to reinstall. There were a few of those too, and maybe something in those caused it. Who knows.

I still wonder what the root cause of this anomalous behavior was. Wish someone knew.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Jul 2012   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, SP1

Creating restore point in regular basis is the best line of defense.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jul 2012   #7

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit Service Pack 1

Same problem with my Vista computer. 5 years - icons never moved on reboot. Couple of weeks ago, bang, reboot and they all move to the left. I went online and found a lot of discussions and suggestions but people weren't having any luck. I ended up installing desktopok rather than knocking myself out. Didn't think about going to a restore point. Probably not going to bother at this point since a keystroke puts the desktop back the way it was.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jul 2012   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate Build 7600


DesktopOK seems to be a great little utility, and free too, but you still have to use it after a reboot to get your icons back where you want them, don't you? What about after a desktop refresh? The restore for me got my icons back to where they were before this thing happened (>150 of them, I know, that's probably too many!), but I still saved off a snapshot with DesktopOK, just in case.


I'm still hoping someone has an answer and a fix for why this is happening.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jul 2012   #9

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit Service Pack 1

I'm hoping for an answer, too. I'd like to fix my Vista computer. My Windows 7 computer reboots with all the icons staying put.

As for your 150 icons you might get more control over them by setting up desktop folders for each set of related shortcuts.

For example, I have 3 desktop folders. One for all my spyware related shortcuts, one for anything related to audio/video, and one for anything to do with my scanner and camera.

So that's a total of 17 icons reduced to 3 folder icons and a lot less clutter.

Right click on your desktop, click on new, click on folder, name the folder.

Then open the folder and drag related icons into it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Apr 2014   #10

Windows XP, 7Pro, 7Ultimate

I solved this issue by rolling back the graphics driver (nVidia in my case), rebooting (verifying that the problem occurred because of a recent system update) and *then* reinstalling the new drivers. That did it, now using the new drivers, but no icon scrambling.

(This is for a T61 Windows 7 U 64)
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Desktop icon placement does not survive a desktop refresh or a reboot

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