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Move the Show Desktop Icon to Quick Launch or Taskbar in Windows 7

If you aren’t a fan of scrolling your pointer over to the lower right corner of your monitor to Show the Desktop, we have a cool tweak that will let you create a Show Desktop icon in the Quick Launch or anywhere on your Taskbar.

If you want to easily get access to the Desktop in Windows 7 you’ve undoubtedly noticed they moved it to the lower right corner. This can be annoying if you have a dual monitors, or even a large monitor that is 22” or higher. 

There are a few ways you can go about it and we’ll take a look at them and you can choose which method works best for you.

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Put Show Desktop Icon Back to Where it Used to Be

First let’s look at how to put it back where it used to be in earlier versions of Windows. One of the easiest ways is to Add the Quick Launch Bar to the Windows 7 Taskbar.

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After following The Geek’s article on restoring the Quick Launch Bar, you should see the Show Desktop icon. Then just move the icon to where you want it in the Quick Launch bar. For example, here we moved it along with the Switch Between Windows icon next to the IE icon.

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This method will “kill two birds with one stone” by getting the Quick Launch bar, and Show Desktop icon back in Windows 7.

Pin Show Desktop Icon to the Taskbar

You might not care to get the Quick Launch icon back in Windows 7, but would like to pin the icon to the Taskbar where you want it. Unfortunately the process isn’t as easy as a simple drag and drop.

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We need to use a workaround similar to the one we showed you earlier for pinning an external hard drive to the Taskbar in Windows 7. Right-click the Desktop and select Text Document.

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Now name it Show Desktop.exe and click Yes when the warning message comes up.

Note: You will need to have file extensions viewable in order for this to work.

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Right-click on the dummy exe file we just made and select Pin to Taskbar.

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Now create your own Show Desktop icon by typing or pasting the following code into Notepad.

[Shell]
Command=2
IconFile=explorer.exe,3
[Taskbar]
Command=ToggleDesktop

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When you save it, make sure to select All Files in Notepad.

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Then save it as Show Desktop.scf and place it in the following folder.

C:\Users\computername\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar

Note: If you don’t see the folders like AppData make sure you have Show hidden files, folders, and drives selected in Folder Options.

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Next right-click on the Show Desktop.exe icon we pinned to the Taskbar, then right-click Show Desktop and select Properties.

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Enter the following into the Target field under the Shortcut tab.

C:\Users\computername\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar\Show Desktop.scf

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Note: In the path change “computername” to the actual name of your computer for both steps.

Change Show Desktop Icon

Now we have our icon on the Taskbar and you can move it wherever is convenient to you, and clicking on it will indeed show your desktop. However, you might want to change the icon to something more appealing.

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One option is to open the Show Desktop icon Properties again and select the Change Icon button.

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When we did this we got the following message…Click OK and it will open up to %SystemRoot%\system32\SHELL32.dll.

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Where you can go through the list of icons included by default.

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You might have to do a reboot for the icon to show up correctly, and here is our final result where we have it in the Quick Launch bar and the Taskbar. Of course the regular Show Desktop in the lower right corner as well.

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For more on changing icons to something more unique, we have a couple good articles you might want to check out:

Change a File Type’s Icon in Windows 7

Customize Icons in Windows 7 & Vista

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 09/16/10

Comments (14)

  1. brodiemac

    Seems like a lot of work when you can just press ‘Windows’ + D

  2. Chuck Steel

    Shouldn’t “Note: In the path change “computername” to the actual name of your computer for both steps.” actually be username? I’m guessing that you have your computers setup for these tutorials where the computername matches the username, but since you’re dealing with the user folder here, that should be username (since most people don’t name their computers the same as their username).

  3. Henri_MTL

    Yes, or Windows + M

  4. Robert Chapman

    I just tried the D and M and they work better then all the other ways that you need to change it.

  5. Hariks

    Super+M minimizes and does not unminimize. But Super+D shows desktop an again Super+D brings all minimzed windows back.

  6. Russj100

    The folder that this tip directs you (C:\Users\computername\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar) to has a short cut in it called of all things “show destop”. I have Windows Explorer pinned to the taskbar, and dragging and dropping the shortcut “show desktop” pinned itselft to that list. Not as good, but I couldn’t make this tip work.

  7. rtd

    This is the coolest idea. Ever! Now i can click a button and Boom! comes the desktop. thanks. Works perfectly fine for me. IDK why these guys are thinking its not.

  8. dgreen

    another way is right click taskbar.choose show the desktop

  9. Wojo

    Obviously when you’re lookin at porn, and your wife enters the room you cant hit window-d, or window-m because your hand is on your member.

  10. jaf

    Change

    “C:\Users\computername\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar”

    to

    “C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar”

    And that should work for the current logged in user.

  11. Jim

    I could not get this to work. It does add a desktop text yet directs you to Documents Library Desktop?

  12. Woogeroo

    The first file you complete in notepad, the Show Desktop.exe dummy file, you pin this to the taskbar.
    When that happens, a shortcut file is automatically created in the taskbar folder mentioned above.

    You create the Show Desktop.scf file with the command lines and put it in the taskbar folder as described above.

    The shortcut that was created in the taskbar folder, you now use to direct to the Show Desktop.scf file.

    Apply/OK

    Then you can change the Icon if you like.

    I don’t know why it works, but it does work.

    Thanks for the work around, I don’t know why they didn’t leave it on there.

    -W

  13. Joe

    If you want the original “Show Desktop” icon, after clicking “Change Icon”, where it says “Look for icons in this file”, type explorer.exe and hit enter. Some other icons will appear and you’ll see the original oldschool “show desktop” icon there.

  14. puja

    after i delete from my desktop, the shortcut doesn’t work, so that wasn’t very useful..please let me know what to do..????????

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