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Why Do My Icons Have a Background Color in Windows XP?

If you’ve been wondering why your XP desktop icons have a background color, you’ll be glad to know you can flip a checkbox and have them go back to a normal transparent background.

Here’s the two versions side by side.

  

To set the transparent background on the icons, we’ll need to open System Properties in Control Panel (or right-click on My Computer and select Properties).

In this dialog, click the Advanced tab, and then the Settings button under the Performance section.

Now scroll down to the button where you’ll find a checkbox for “Use drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop”. Make sure you check this box if you want transparent backgrounds on the icons.

Why this option isn’t just labeled “Enable Transparent Icons On the Desktop”, I just can’t say.

Update

If the above does not work, you might want to also check these additional settings suggested by readers in the comments.

  • You can’t be displaying a web page as your background. To check this, right-click on the desktop and choose Properties. Select Customize desktop on the Desktop tab, then select the Web tab on the desktop items window and deselect any web pages that are shown.
  • You need to make sure that High Contrast is not selected under Accessibility \ Display Options in your Control Panel.

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 05/1/07

Comments (273)

  1. Bob

    This has been driving me nuts on several (but not all) otherwise identical systems in our company. Thanks for the tip!

  2. Chad Everett

    I agree, nice tip – but it doesn’t (always) work. :)

    In other words, the box is checked, but my desktop still has the background. I think it may have something to do with another function (which, I can’t say).

    I’m running Windows XP SP2, and I’ve got no love for drop shadows here. Thanks though!

  3. AV

    Chad that could be because you may have set to display a web page in the background, To disable the webpage

    Right Click on your desktop–> Properties Select Customize desktop under Desktop tab.

    Now select Web tab in the Desktop Items window, and deselect if any web pages are shown.

    And you will have the transparant background

  4. The Geek

    Thanks AV… My readers are great!

  5. Shravan

    hey thanks for the TIP , the second one worked.

  6. Lips

    none of the suggestions worked, what next

  7. Siva Rama Krishna

    Thanks alol sir,

    It is very useful to getrid some problems

    Thanking you sir,

    yours sincerely,
    siva rama krishna

  8. Raj Nooti

    When both of these do not work, there is a third way (or an addition to the second step). Under web (Customize desktop -> Web), de-select ‘Lock desktop icons’ which then enables users to modify icon properties. I had the same problem and solved it this way.

  9. Prameet Sinha

    Hey, the second one worked its great to see the desktop. I need your help in an anoher problem, i have windows XP Media Center. I dont have sort by name option in Start -> Program Files.

    Can you help me in This??

  10. Shawn

    Thanks for the help, worked like a charm.

  11. Sweetest gibbon

    I’ve followed all of the above instructions, but still can’t get this to work! Any other suggestions?

    Cheers

  12. Ted McC

    HOW-TO GEEK,

    YOU ARE AWSOME. THANK YOU GREATLY FOR THE 2nd SUGGESTION. MY DESKTOP ICON LABELS’ BACKGROUNDS ARE NOW TRANSPARENT. I CAN’T THANK YOU ENOUGH.

  13. LeAnne W

    I had this same problem and the only thing that worked for me was this: In Display Properties, click the Desktop tab and then Customize Desktop. Under the Web tab, make sure that none of the web page checkboxes are selected to display on your desktop. I tried many other suggestions, and this was my winner

  14. Taboo Tongue

    If you still can’t get it to work, like myself, check the file type of your background image. I was always using PNGs because ‘why have any-loss when I can have lossless?’. Answer: it gives you that color behind the text and icons you hate…
    Convert your background image to jpg and you will probably be fine.

  15. Alex

    I’ve been having this problem for a while! The tip from Raj Nootie:

    ‘Under web (Customize desktop -> Web), de-select ‘Lock desktop icons’ which then enables users to modify icon properties’

    worked perfectly!

  16. Marilou David

    thanks for the help…..

  17. Cody

    Wow thanks a lot :).

  18. paul

    I’m really getting frustrated, none of the above suggestions have worked for me, de-seclting web pages, lock desktop icons, checking the drop down menu box, none of them, but a few of you said that when you unlock the desktop icons it allows you to modify icon properties, how do i get to icon properties? If anyone has any other suggestions for me i would love it. I do have a brico pack installed on my system to make XP look like vista, would that have anything to do with it?

  19. Mohammed Malik

    Hi all,
    Thanks for the help! :)

  20. Suneel

    Thanks for the help guys.

  21. Deadpool

    Thanks a million! I have been looking everywhere for that!

  22. Tom McDonnel

    i spent WAY too much time trying to find a solution to remove this seemingly benign (but oddly irritating !!)artifact. your directions took me all of 15 seconds to finally rid my icons of its’ shadow. Thank you for the simple and useful info..

    .

  23. Diane

    I did what you stated in the web site.

    My icons have a background color in window and I was trying to make it transparent,
    and I did what you did in the web site.
    But it didn’t work.

    What else can I do to make it transparent?

  24. Paul

    I tried over 5 different things to try to fix this but nothing helped. I noticed that my Windows Picture and Fax Viewer was not working also. So I tried an old trick to fix that, and it fixed the icon issue also. I went to the command prompt (start, run) and typed in “regsvr32 shimgvw.dll” without the quotes, and then changed my resolution to a smaller one and back again, and both issues were fixed.

  25. Diane

    Thank you for your help but ooops! it didn’t work again!
    Is there any other solution for my problem? :(

  26. Diane

    Thank you for your help but that didn’t work well.
    Is there any other solution I can solve my problem? :)

  27. kim SR

    Thats great!!.Thanks for such a wonderful tip.

  28. Julian

    This was a lifesaver. Thanks. I can get back to work now.

  29. Chris

    Thanks AV! You saved me from having to go to an asylum for the rest of my life!

  30. metatlvi

    A big …Thank You!… You guys professionally answered an annoying XP question about how to make the desktop icon captions transparent. I agree.. the phrasing: “..use drop shadows..” must be Bill G’s practical joke! Thanks again.

  31. Ted

    My desktop icons still have the color behind them,

    i have tried and did not work for me, any other option??? please help.

  32. kishor

    i have tried all three options but still not got the solution , by unchecking the web i got the caption color with little colored
    background

  33. lakshmi

    Hey AV, awesome dude
    after trying for sooo long it worked… thanks for ur suggession.. u r genius :)

  34. lakshmi

    hey kishore.. delete that web page fror the list, it wud work.

  35. skynyrd

    nice tip! really helped me… thanx!!!

  36. Terry

    If anyone is still having this problem, also check the Accessibility–>Display options under the Control Panel. Make sure High Contrast is unchecked.

  37. gekko

    Thanks AV.. You are the man! It worked for me.. may god bless you..

  38. Happy Computer User

    Thanks AV…saved my life!

  39. Baboy

    thankz dude!!! when i follow ur first instruction its working!!!

  40. Christoffer

    I just went through this guide, and the tips in the comments but i still could not get the icons to be transparent. If anybody still have this problem, my solution is based on the tip from “Taboo Tongue”, but instead of using JPG (which in some sneaky way enables web content for the desktop without showing it anywhere) I converted the image to BMP to get it to work.

  41. Mattcthis

    To “The Geek”,

    Man I’ve been through so many forums looking for a solution…
    This one actually worked….. I was suprised myself. I guess been thru a lot forums that really don’t give you any soution does that to you. LOL

    Thank You

  42. Joel

    There is also another way that would cause such a thing. Make sure that your icons are not “locked.”

    Right click on the desktop and make sure they are not locked

  43. Puck Robinson

    so the 3 didn’t work for me, but going into the properties of the display settings / desktop / customize desktop / web tab / I clicked properties on ‘my current home page’ (it was the only web page in the selection) and then I deselected ‘make this page available offline’.
    that made the text background go away.

    I don’t know why I had to do this extra step since deselecting desktop web pages should have done it, but it worked for me. try it if the other three options didn’t work.

    good luck.

  44. Marcus

    Thanks it worked for me

    good blog

  45. Kevin

    I tried evry solutions and none did work =(

  46. Abouzar

    Thanks to AV. It worked for me!

  47. Lokesh

    Its wonderfull for my its works

  48. Sanket

    I was whacking my brains over this for a month.. I had a silly web page set under desktop –> customize –> Advanced… Thanks.. It works now..

  49. Raja

    Enabling drop shadows is fine and dandy unless you have a light colored background then it becomes difficult to read the captions.

    Microsoft provides no way to change the font color so you have to turn to a third party tool.

  50. Eddie

    I was fretting over this all day. This helped tremondously.

  51. ak

    I have tried each and evrything what u ppl have said but none worked for me ….plz help !!!

  52. Wally

    Even if you don’t have a web page selected as your background, you still need to uncheck the “Lock Desktop Objects” box in order to get transparent background for your icons.

  53. Beefcake

    Raj Nooti is the best the third option was the one that worked for me !!!! Now my desktop looks normal again; I don’t know how it got whacked out in the first place; but Thank God for the Smart dudes like you Raj Nooti !!!!!

  54. Ann Stevens

    Thanx a lot…..The third comment was wonderful and I cud change the background of icons.

  55. Erik

    Okay, I have tried every single suggestion posted here and NONE of them have worked. I didn’t have this issue until this morning when one of our IT people logged into my PC remotely, after that was when the background color appeared and not being able to get it back to transparent is driving me CRAZY.

  56. Krissi D

    Thanks to Raj Nooti. Nothing worked until I read your comment!

  57. Erik

    I’m still stuck with background color. Any other suggestions?

  58. Bill

    Thank you Paul! I tried 10 different things to fix this before I read your suggestion. I was getting ridiculously frustrated about this. Thank you.

  59. jaded

    Raj Nooti’s tip worked!!! thanks so much!!

  60. Shivajee

    Hey AV

    Great man,,,,i was dieing to solve this problem from last so many months,

    I did it today,,,,you really deserve a big THANKS man

  61. Dave Walton

    Thank you so much for this help,
    I have eventually worked out how to do it!!

    Raj Nooti
    When both of these do not work, there is a third way (or an addition to the second step). Under web (Customize desktop -> Web), de-select ‘Lock desktop icons’ which then enables users to modify icon properties

    This bit helped me so much and cracked my problem!!

    Thanks alot :)

  62. Arron

    I noticed it will do that with all my images unless they are saved as .bmp

  63. bob

    the second one helped me! thanks

  64. Adrian

    Thanks a lot man, this really helped me.
    I was driving nuts with that horibble look of my desktop….and can you imagine that I was using my computer like that since a few weeks. MMMM
    Apreciated man….

  65. Aman

    I hv the unique solution for this..if all attempts fails and u still face the issue
    Desktop> Right click> Properties> Desktop> Customize Desktop> Web> then ull see couple of web pages just uncheck all and press OK
    this will definitely help u

  66. rezzsa

    Thank you. That worked.

    AV May 3, 2007 5:11 am
    Chad that could be because you may have set to display a web page in the background, To disable the webpage

    Right Click on your desktop> Properties Select Customize desktop under Desktop tab.

    Now select Web tab in the Desktop Items window, and deselect if any web pages are shown.

    And you will have the transparant background

  67. Shailesh Joshi

    Thanks a lot for the solution.

  68. Sherif

    This is really works :)

    THANKS

    Right Click on your desktop> Properties Select Customize desktop under Desktop tab.

    Now select Web tab in the Desktop Items window, and deselect if any web pages are shown.

    And you will have the transparant background

  69. kalyan

    Thnx a bunch.. I never understood why the background color was showing even though I applied the “use drop shadow” option… :)

  70. George

    Raj Nooti

    this worked for me , 10x a lot

  71. bb161325

    I have tryed everything listed here and STILL have shadows the same color as my backgorund, and I would like to see no shadows and just the picture and icons, this is really irritating and I feel like breaking something now, is there ANYTHING else I can do?

  72. f2002246

    Thanks a lot for the tips…. Such a great relief man!!

  73. thesaleboat

    THank you very much, this was very useful, but it was actually AV’s solution from may 07 that worked for me… you should add that to the main part of the article. ~Thank Agian

  74. Kyle

    This was my issue listed below,

    Thanks

    You can’t be displaying a web page as your background. To check this, right-click on the desktop and choose Properties. Select Customize desktop on the Desktop tab, then select the Web tab on the desktop items window and deselect any web pages that are shown.

  75. hazelg

    thanks guys, esp. raj nooti. your third suggestion worked. thanks.

  76. Lambert

    Cool tip! i never thought i have a webpage displaying on my desktop, i can’t see a thing, my AV cant detect anything too, my anti-spyware too.. i most likely think that this thing was a trojan.. thanks for the tip…

  77. Mike Thompson

    For those of you who still are having trouble with this… try this option.

    START-RUN – TYPE “GPEDIT.MSC
    Go to User Congifiguration-Administrative Templates-desktop-active desktop
    Look to the right and find the setting that says disable active desktop..double click and choose enable…..
    then go to your desktop and hit refresh.

  78. Breathless

    THANKS PAUL!

    Paul’s fix was the only thing that did it for me. If you have tried everything except for Paul’s fix, please try, it will likely work.

  79. Praveen

    Dear Raj Nooti,

    thanks for the info..that solved my problem.

  80. Bijay Acharya

    Great.Thank you very much.The first step is known to me,but that was not working.The second step you provided that was absolutly perfect.Great work.Thank you.

  81. Stormrider

    Hey. Thanks for all the great advices. BUT I have a simpler and more complicated problem – I can’t find my ‘Web’ tab in my ‘Customize Desktop’ page!! Meaning: I don’t have one for me to click on. Why???!!!

    I have to say that this problem occurred after I downloaded some virul program and after having them removed by (AVG 8.0), all the backgrould colour of the icons appeared.

    Please advise in getting my Web tab back!! Thanks.

  82. Mike Thompson

    Click Start, Run and type REGEDIT

    Navigate to the following keys:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Policies \ Explorer

    and

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Policies \ Explorer

    Delete the two values NoActiveDesktopChanges & NoActiveDesktop in the right-pane

    Navigate to the following keys:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Policies \ ActiveDesktop

    and

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Policies \ ActiveDesktop

    Delete the value NoComponents in both the above locations.

  83. Mike Thompson

    Sorry, the above is for stormrider

  84. Danny Boy

    If all else fails with the desktop icons background try this. Right click on My Computer/properties/ (this brings up the system properties)click on the advanced tab/ then on the performace section, click settings this takes you to performance Options select the Visual Effects tab and scroll down to the second from the botttom “use drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop” this should be ticked. Hope this helps

  85. Suneel

    Hey guys,

    If any of the above things dint work for you….then try the procedure as explained by Mike Thompson.
    It worked for me. Give it a try and see.Thanks Mike.

    Good luck

  86. Stormrider

    Hey. I got the icon back to tranparent mode already. Thnaks for all the great advices!!

  87. Blake88

    THANK YOU!!!!!

  88. Vadi

    Thanks a LOT. the second one worked perfectly.

  89. James

    THANK YOU!! as alot of other people said, the second one worked!

  90. Raju

    Thanks AV. The web setting Changes working fine for me.

  91. Ken

    Thanks, really got annoying after awhile, finally used the third option of “Lock desktop items” unchecked….then press OK!! :)

    Thanks again

  92. Gerhard

    Thanks to Mike Thompson 14 September 2008. The gpedit.msc bit did it for me. Also all credit to The Geek and others, I followed all the steps up to Mike’s suggestion. I guess Christoffer might also be on the ball with his BMP suggestion, because following Mike’s advice only allow BMP as background image.

    Thanks all!

  93. Danny

    “Chad that could be because you may have set to display a web page in the background, To disable the webpage

    Right Click on your desktop> Properties Select Customize desktop under Desktop tab.

    Now select Web tab in the Desktop Items window, and deselect if any web pages are shown.

    And you will have the transparant background”

    HEY THIS ONE SURE WORKED FOR ME I TRIED EVERYTHING ELSE THANKS….

  94. Nikhil

    It took long but finally i was able to have my dektop icons without any background . Thanks to above solution

  95. Eric

    I have tried the original suggestions, there are no web pages checked, the icons aren’t locked and I have tried both of Mike Thompson’s suggestions. That should cover every suggestion that has been made thus far. Are there any other ideas?

    I have a dual monitor display, if that matters.

  96. Gopi Nath

    Thanx Raj Nooti… it’s worked

  97. gaurav--poddar

    thanks bro its work

  98. jumpogon

    thanx so much! iv been trying this for weeks (by myself ), when i have read this it workd thanx

  99. Liam D

    I dont understand why do i not have a ‘Web’ Tab on the ‘customize desktop’ bit?

  100. User

    why in the first place they have this ver BAD description in Windows software?
    and this is just a sample. In spanish version , several descriptions are very long, and without horizontal scroll, you have no clue on what are the remaining words of the “description”. aaaarrggh

    “usability 101″ remember that?

  101. Sanjoga Subudhi

    I have a suggestion to all those readers whose 1st solution don’t work.
    After changing(make tik) the option (right click my computer->properties->Advance tab->performance setting->use drop shadows for icon levels on the desktop)if it do not work then after changing you restart or (logon and logoff) your computer.After that the shadow will surely disappear.

  102. dave k

    the update under (Why Do My Icons Have a Background Color in Windows XP?)worked for me!!!!thanks a million how to geek!!!!

  103. Eric

    I found this fix that edits the registry. If you are nervous about running that Registry program, then you can just go into the registry and delete those values. The only one’s that I had were “…\Control Panel\Desktop”

    Hope this helps!

    -Eric

    Direct link:

    http://boardsus.playstation.com/playstation/board/message?board.id=offtopic&thread.id=1273289&view=by_date_ascending&page=2

    I finally got it fixed…

    Click “Start”, “Settings”, and then click “Control Panel”. Open the “Display” applet.
    Click on “Desktop”, “Customise Display…” and “Web”.
    In the box under “Web pages”, select all the checkboxes and click “Delete”.

    #2Next, launch Notepad (Start>All Programs>Accessories), and copy/paste all the blue REGEDIT below to it
    be sure the REGEDIT4 is included.
    Save in: Desktop
    File Name: fixme.reg
    Save as Type: All files
    Click: Save

    REGEDIT4

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Desktop\General]
    “WallpaperFileTime”=-
    “WallpaperLocalFileTime”=-

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Poli
    cies\System]
    “NoDispAppearancePage”=-
    “Wallpaper”=-
    “WallpaperStyle”=-
    “NoDispBackgroundPage”=-

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Poli
    cies\Explorer]
    “NoActiveDesktopChanges”=-
    “ForceActiveDesktopOn”=-

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop]
    “Wallpaper”=-
    “WallpaperStyle”=-

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Colors]
    “Background”=”0 78 152″

  104. Sultana

    **** de-select ‘Lock desktop icons’ which then enables users to modify icon properties. I had the same problem and solved it this way. **** this option solved my problem. thanks a lot!!!

  105. Kevin

    Thanks AV!! Your method worked a treat! I now have a desktop that looks smooth again! Am wondering though how it came to have a web file all of a sudden…
    Cheers!

  106. Derek

    Another thing I just recently found was an image I did for my self, I had it saved as a .png image and for a few days I been going nuts trying to figure it out, I tried everything I could think of and I found, by saving it as a .gif or a .jpg will allow it to have the icons with the transparent background. I am not sure if it was caused by the layers in the image or if it was a matter of just being a .png file, not sure but if you have a .png file as a background, try saving it as a different file type and give that a try.

  107. Vlad

    Very useful discussion. After trying many things (not tampering with the registry though) what worked for me is unchecking the option Lock Web Items on Desktop that can be found right-clicking on Desktop -> Arrange Icons By -> Lock Web Items on Desktop. Thanks everyone!

  108. Michael

    Ok wtf. First none of the examples worked, then eventually I just made the visual effects “Let Windows choose what’s best for my computer” in the performance options and that was the ONLY thing that worked yesterday. Now once again today out of nowhere the all changed BACK to having the same backgronud color as whatever the desktop background color is set to.

    WTF. I’m about to throw my computer out the window this is pissing me off so much. Everywhere I look online gives the same damn advice that doesn’t work. So now what?

    Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

  109. Taz

    i done what you said but no luck!
    it didn’t work for my computer it still has a background anything else i can do?
    please help!!!

  110. akis

    The idea of TABOO TONGUE in converting the background to jpg and after this following the stepsof the How to Geek was fantastic. Everything works properly now. Thank you both of you

  111. EverSpike

    Yes, you`re the best AV you`re tip was perfect!!! I had this proble many times but no one could answer it! You`re a GOD!!!

  112. overmidnight

    Thanks AV. It worked.

  113. the pa

    this is the way that worked for me:

    “Under web (Customize desktop -> Web), un-select ‘Lock desktop icons’ which then enables users to modify icon properties”

    i figured this one out on my own, and so did “Raj Nooti”

  114. Syam

    Haii Their is an another idea

    right click on desktop > properties > Desktop> Customize Desktop > web > delete all other options except ” My Current Home Page” then click ok then Apply

    Hai its not a fake its true……………………………..
    Enjoy

  115. Carol

    It worked! Note: The first time I unchecked the box “Use drop shadows for icons on the desktop”, nothing happened. But I tried it again. I checked the box and then unchecked it and THEN it worked. I can’t tell you how happy I am to get rid of the background on all my desktop icons’ captions. Thank you so much.

  116. Kelly

    Thank you so much it was a great tip!!!!!!!!!!

  117. R.siva

    asdfasdfasdf

  118. Prajeesh

    Great !

    You made my day :) i been searching across the web for solution, finally spotted here the best result.

    Thanks :)

  119. Vidyasagar

    This is how it worked for me:

    “Under web (Customize desktop -> Web), un-select ‘Lock desktop icons’ which then enables users to modify icon properties”

  120. Teddi

    Thank you Mike Thompson!!!

    Nothing else worked… there is no “Web” tab under desktop properties –> customize desktop on my computer, only “General” so reading the same suggestions over and over again was getting incredibly frustrating…

    The tip that worked for me:

    For those of you who still are having trouble with this… try this option.

    START-RUN – TYPE “GPEDIT.MSC
    Go to User Congifiguration-Administrative Templates-desktop-active desktop
    Look to the right and find the setting that says disable active desktop..double click and choose enable…..
    then go to your desktop and hit refresh

  121. Tony

    Thanks for your advice on Why Do My Icons Have a Background Color in Windows XP? I accidentally changed my desktop to a web page and with your help i fixed it thanks again

  122. Adam

    I don’t have a “web” tab under customize desktop :(

    Yes, I’m using XP, but am on a work computer and don’t have admin rights.

  123. Adam

    Teddi seems to have the same problem (no “web” tab) but I did what you said (run gpedit.msc, etc) and it didn’t work.

  124. Arthur

    Ou thank you all! But the one that worked for me was De-selecting that Lock the icons. Now those annoying backgrounds are gone! :) thankyou!

  125. viesty

    Thanks for help. I was really piised off before :))))

  126. anurag

    thanks a lot buddy……. !!!!!!!!

  127. kathirvel

    Thanks a lot friend it worked well….
    Thank you very much…..

  128. Sandy

    thanks it works…
    Second option…

  129. Gilda

    HELP ME! MY ICONS STILL HAVE THE BACKGROUND COLOR!!

  130. Kris

    thanks a million!!!
    the 2nd solution did work for my problem. good job!

  131. Tim

    I tried everything I could (bearing in mind that some settings didn’t seem to exist on my computer, and others were restricted to admin). Still no success.

    Then I saw Erik’s comment about remote access. I remembered that an IT person had fixed a problem by taking remote control of my machine recently, and that the transparency problem stemmed from this point. It turns out that if someone takes remote control using LANdesk (don’t know about other apps), the desktop settings change. Provided the remote controller closes their session correctly, your own settings are restored (including transparency). But my IT fix required a reboot, which meant that the remote control session was not closed properly.

    In the end all that was needed was for IT to take remote control again, and then close their session properly without even doing anything. And joy of joys, my desktop icon labels are transparent once more. So simple, yet so difficult to find the cause. Hope this helps somebody and thanks to Erik for putting me onto the right track.

  132. prabhurajan

    Thank you. It works good.

  133. Dheeraj

    2nd tip in the comments did worked for me

  134. sandy

    Eric,

    Your solution work the best for me. Thank you so much..

  135. sandy

    Well, I meant thanx Eric Thompson as far as my fix. I did not have the web tab under “customize desktop” and did what Mike said and now my icons are fine. Thank you.

  136. Nebojsa Gojnic

    This does nothing, absolutly nothing !!!

    But, I got one more question:
    HOW TO TURN ICON BACKGROUND COLOR ON ?
    I cananot see a thing …

  137. GraceM

    LeAnne W – your trick work thank you!! I was going insane!

  138. Danielle

    AHHHHHHHHHHHHH i couldnt figure out how to fix it but i found this page thank you so much

  139. mohit

    thanx buddy…this forum realy helped me !!!

  140. skye

    this is what worked for me:

    control panel | system (properties) | Advanced | Performance “settings” | adjust for best appearance.

    then hit apply

    that worked for me. thank god…lol

  141. Yanksfan1962

    I accidently pasted a url to the desktop and it messed up all my icons. The web page info in the Update section above solved my problem.

    Thanks for the help!!

  142. Grateful

    thanks! this really helped :D

  143. mansi

    very very thanku thanku………………………………….

  144. Big Blue

    Thank you AV… that’s been annoying me for three months.

  145. JTull

    Excellent! Thanks so much. Couldn’t figure out why it happened but realized that I copied a picture from email and made it part of the active desktop. So even when I tried the first steps, it wouldn’t fixed it. The second suggestion of going into Customize Desktop and clicking on the Web tab allowed me to find it and delete it. Everything back to normal now and I am happy again. Thanks again.

  146. MrSnuggle

    Hey guys, I’v tried every thin but nufin happend. I did all wa u guys said but i still got da same prob. Some1 help me plx =x…

  147. Rahul

    GPEDIT.MSC solution works
    it is final fix for this as i have tried almost thing from the top in this list before

  148. Rukmangathan

    Great, Awesome, excelent, thank you very much….. now it got resolved for my desktop, every think looks fine….

  149. Paras

    God! This worked out. It was just annoying me. Thanks.

  150. Lalit

    Hii All
    On web tab also make sure that Lock Ions is unchecked.
    This also causes background color to be visible.

  151. Lalit

    ** CORRECTION**
    Its Lock Desktop Items checkbox

  152. tiara94

    wohooooooooo
    you’re the best!!
    this tip is realy really helpful for me
    OMG thak you so much, those colored icon label were really driving me crazy
    i think you can get nobel prize for this tip
    huahahhahahahaha <3 you the geek

  153. rohith

    thank you so much……..

  154. Tim

    I tried all of this and nothing worked. The problem was that sometimes you have to check a box hit apply then uncheck then apply so that …..I dunno it just worked

  155. jepoy

    thanx Raj Nooti ^_^

  156. Payal

    Finally, it has been done…………Thank you very much

  157. Stevie D

    Thank you!! its been driving me nuts

  158. akshay karkare

    its a great site….thank you..

  159. ekim

    i tried up to the 3d step at last it works i unchecked the Lock desktop icon on web tab…thanks….

  160. shadab

    finally!!!!!!!!!!thank u.

  161. Michael Wilson

    It was the “deselect any web pages shown” (or delete them) that did it for me. Thanks for this comprehensive description. I went to three other websites and tried what they suggested, but to no avail.

  162. jiji

    solution
    click right click on desktop=properties=desktop tab=customise desktop=web tab=uncheck all web item=apply………..

  163. Anhad

    Thanks a lot AV, it worked for me :)

  164. lol

    Thanks a lot it the update portion helped me

  165. michael

    Raj Nooti
    When both of these do not work, there is a third way (or an addition to the second step). Under web (Customize desktop -> Web), de-select ‘Lock desktop icons’ which then enables users to modify icon properties. I had the same problem and solved it this way.

    yes it works! credit to u

  166. Palu

    Hey Guys i’ve read all the comments but any of them did not worked for me, i am system admin and i used GPO in server then all clients pc had desktop background color i am still in pain to get rid of this problem,if anyone anyone help me out

    thanks

  167. eMILY

    THank you so much raj nooti!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    YES!!! it worked!

  168. symu

    Hey Thanks….even the IT guy in my office couldnt help me with this…so i had to get in touch with google and this page on the top of results.

  169. sam

    cool the second one worked !!!!!!!!!!!! thanks guys

  170. Todd

    Also make sure that the wallpaper you are using is not in PNG format. I just went through about an hours worth of troubleshooting to figure this one out.

  171. Ali

    That was hepfull, thanks alot
    special thanks to Teddi :)

  172. Raj

    Thanks dear…

    2nd tip worked well….thanks a lot…

  173. Nathan

    I have found that you could do all the suggestions in the original post, but none will work if under the Properties->Desktop->Customize Desktop->Web Tab you have the Lock Desktop Items box checked. That fixed my problem.

  174. Naveen

    Thank you…….. I tried a lot for this. Finally got…………………………….

  175. Chatstation.yolasite.com

    thanks so much visit my sitE!!

  176. Kavish

    Hello,
    This is not working in my case i hav tried all the ways bt nthing is wrkin wat shud i do……

  177. Class Touch

    Thanks Alex you safe me from two days continuous headache. Your solution is perfect as you said.

    Right click on desktop, choose properties> desktop tap> click on customise desktop> click on Web tab then unchecked lock desktop items.

    Acha

  178. MMM

    thanks a lot dude

  179. Vinod

    Thanks, it works

  180. JOOEEEEEEE!!

    OMFG quit repeating the same fucking solution over again OMG i can fucking read what the said for fuck sake NOTHING FUCKING WORKS UR WINDOWS IS BROKE HOWTOGEEK IS DUMB PERIOD UR SCREWED TRY TWEAKUI OR TUNE UP UTILITIES I SEEN MORE people trying to be experts saying UN check ur web shit DUDE THERE NO FUCKING WEB SHIT PERIOD NEW WINDWOS INSTALL>…. god i hate people

  181. JOOEEEEEEE!!

    People Just said THEY tried Both Solutions Can you not fucking read OMG………. Delete this fucking POST its gay YOUR SOLUTION DOES NOT FUCKING WORK Neither WEB OR SYSTEM PERFORMANCE SHIT GOD READ WHAT PEOPLE SAY BEFORE POSTING UR DUMB ASS ANSWERS

  182. jared

    thanks so much.. Ive spent the last hr trying to figure this out i was trying every thing .. EXCEPT.. un ticking the use high contrast button in accessibility menu.. thanks a lot

  183. Ali(X)

    thanks, this article was my first and end search.

  184. anurag srivastava

    Thanks buddy,somehow in my desktop the web page was ticked.It’s good to see it normal.

  185. mike J

    Nothing personal “Geek” but your answer did nothing for me…HOWEVER, it got me started, as you were very honest saying to also read comments.

    After reading so many replies, I never knew how frustrating this was for so many people, but tried some things that did nothing, but then read different answers from a couple of people, and found a few things that I thought made sence…
    What most of the people don’t understand is it takes some time, and may not be the only way……I love one of the answers that just cursed and cursed “we” have no idea, and this forum sucks, but the genious has nothing to say what is the real solution…by the way “tweakui”, and whatever else you said does not work on many systems…….you have a foul mouth, but like most people who have nothing whatsoever, and give no suggestions are the real idiots.
    I have been in the hardware/ software business for let’s just round off 20 years. ….I’ll finish my babble by saying it’s very possible the manufacturer, and their OEM software (which is really close to MS OS) just does not do exactly what someone would think is the only answer…….I am very impressed with the people whom share their fixes…because one doesn’t work for you, their may be a couple of more things from different people that put together might give a clue, and this applies to anything….Yes my cursor friend, you have no clue on knowing how to put things together, and your jackass saying everyone is stupid, then mention you hate people….get off your high horse…I know your kind……..everyone but you is stupid, but strangely, you offer nothing applicable, and by the stupid programs you mention, but don’t mention where in tweak to fix this issue that’s because, even though I love the program…the answer to this issue is not there,and if you knew that, you didn’t seem to share your lack of knowledge answer.
    I respect anyone who puts their thoughts, or what helped or didn’t help them………They may have no computer background, but are willing to share their experiences…I’m sorry to have babbled, nor am I trying to start a flaming thing, and will leave it alone after this…JOOEEEEEEE!! , you have no clue, and were completely wrong with whatever it was you were trying to accomplish.

    I just ran into this site for this particular issue, and thought it was cool the ideas that were thrown out there

  186. sreenish

    THANKS AV……YOUR GREAT

  187. Siva

    thanks lot.

    it worked

  188. kamaran mechanic

    i will tell you how solve this problem it happens with me either……
    1-click right on desktop
    2-choose desktop
    3-choose customize desktop
    4-choose web
    5-here there is a check box “lock desktop items” uncheck (untick) this box then press ok
    6-tell me if it worked thank you…….

  189. kalai

    nice tip……. thank u……..

  190. freddy

    thank’s for useful answer .resolve my problem

  191. charles

    this forums are very helpful.

  192. Aleks

    Great tip!!! On every page I was just finding that explanation with the checked box for the drop shadows for the icons, but no one mentioned the web page as my background. I didn’t have a clue that I had that. Now my desktop is nice and not annoying anymore!!! THANKS!

  193. ani

    thanks. the second one is working fine……….

  194. K-Man

    Yep, thanx the second answer worked for me!!! (some professional I’m – *sigh*)

  195. dhel

    just deselect the lock destop item and its work.

  196. Anil Dhingia

    Its Really works. Thnx a lot

  197. Veryo

    Thx a lot AV

  198. aman

    thanx it worked…

  199. okpppaula

    Went through all the above steps :(

    Advice towards the end worked for me :)

    right click
    ‘my computer’
    ‘properties’
    ‘advanced’
    ‘performance’
    ‘properties’
    ‘let windows chose what’s best for my computer’
    ‘apply’
    ‘ok’
    ‘restart’

    Good Luck!

  200. neamul hasan sohan

    it works
    thanx
    nice

  201. UNKNOWN TY

    tnx . work on “update” . that works

  202. ciaran

    the scound tip worked thank you very much!

  203. CrazyinDC

    Thank for the tip it was driving me crazy trying figure out a solution. You are the best.

  204. suseelan

    Thank for the tip it was driving me crazy trying figure out a solution. You are the best.

  205. techuth

    Thanks man it works. I was really looking for this and this is the site where I found this solution. Thanks again

  206. Francesca

    I somehow had a web page displayed as my background so the section under “update” worked for me. Very helpful. Thank you.

  207. Vikas

    Thanks alot dear…..

  208. Siddhant

    Its not working

  209. Jonathan

    I have tried almost everything. On one of the comments at the top of this page says to right click on your desktop, go to properties, select the desktop tap, go down to customize desktop. After that click the web tab. make sure that all the links under it are UNCHECKED. Then press ok. If this does not work, delete the link that is check. That worked for me.

    This was originally posted by AV. Thanks AV!!

    AV

    “you may have set to display a web page in the background, To disable the webpage

    Right Click on your desktop–> Properties Select Customize desktop under Desktop tab.

    Now select Web tab in the Desktop Items window, and deselect if any web pages are shown.

    And you will have the transparant background”

  210. kayla

    orrr because that didnt work for me u can just It is an easy one, you go to display properties, desktop tab, customize desktop button, web tab and uncheck lock desktop items box. This will get rid of the block around the icon text.

  211. Ritesh Narang

    Really Thanks

    Right Click on your desktop–> Properties Select Customize desktop under Desktop tab.

    Now select Web tab in the Desktop Items window, and deselect if any web pages are shown.

    And you will have the transparant background”

    This works Perfectly

  212. Tejas

    If you still can’t get it to work, like myself, check the file type of your background image. I was always using PNGs because ‘why have any-loss when I can have lossless?’. Answer: it gives you that color behind the text and icons you hate…
    Convert your background image to jpg and you will probably be fine.

    Thanks it worked for me. I’ve just converted image to jpg format and booom .. it worked !!!

  213. Vineet

    Thanks duke….its work for me :)

  214. maryannott

    thank you :)

  215. piyush

    thanks a lot :D

  216. namshi

    thankzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  217. Josue Diaz

    Thanks for the helpful tips! The second worked perfectly!

  218. Vinay

    thanks a lot

    it had helped me very much to solve the problem after adjusting resolution and using advanced feature i am able to have transparent background.

  219. Poovarasan

    control panel | system (properties) | Advanced | Performance “settings” | adjust for best appearance.

    Worked perfectly. Thanks folks.

  220. Drew Scarymore

    THANK YOU! I’ve had to look up and use your advice twice! Both times it’s worked like a charm. I’m going to bookmark this page for the next time I need to solve this exact same incredibly annoying problem. Apparently, remembering how to fix this is too difficult for my brain to remember… hahaha. Thanks again!

  221. Izak

    Thank you very much. I had spent so many hours looking for solution.

  222. antony

    OMG THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! The first “update” fix worked for me about the web pages, along with the original fix. It was driving me crazy! I kept having to alter the colour of the icons so they matched the background but I now don’t have to! Thanks again :D

  223. Wasif Shah

    THIS TIP SUCKSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS………..

  224. jordy

    Try selecting another Windows Theme and it wil work( for example: Windows Classic Theme)

  225. Simon H

    Why do people keep writing the same “solution” over and over?

    I have read every single comment on this page, and none of them have fixed my problem. It is very frustrating as I am an ICT Technician at a school, yet this particular problem has baffled me.

    I have tried checking the ‘drop shadows for icons’ box in performance options. It didn’t work.

    I have tried unchecking the ‘lock desktop items’ box in the display properties customize desktop dialogue. It didn’t work.

    I have tried going into gpedit.msc and enabling the ‘Disable Active Desktop’ GPO. It didn’t work.

    I have tried editing the registry as the person above mentioned. It didn’t work.

    I have tried converting my images to .bmp. It didn’t work.

    I am about at my wits end because people keep repeating the same things over and over even when people are saying ‘IT DOES NOT WORK’. I don’t blame JOOEEEEEEE!! above for getting frustrated, because PEOPLE KEEP SUGGESTING THE SAME THINGS OVER AND OVER AGAIN EVEN THOUGH THEY DO NOT WORK!!!!!!!

    Sorry for yelling, but this should be such a simple thing, and it doesn’t even affect the performance or operation of my PC. But it’s just an annoying problem that won’t go away and nobody seems to be able to provide an answer that helps me.

    So unless anyone’s got anything new I can try, please can everyone stop posting the same suggestions!

  226. Jaininder

    Super COOL!!

  227. AJ

    hey this tip didnt work on my desktop

  228. Diane

    Thank you very much for this – it didn’t work but it put me in the right direction so that I could fix it.

    I tried everything and was ready to pull my hair out. You said that we needed to make sure that High Contrast is not selected under Control Panel -> Accessibility -> Display Options.

    My wasn’t, however, I selected High Contrast to enable it, then Apply, then unchecked it, then Apply and then went into the Settings and under High Contrast Appearance Theme: I chose Windows Standard from the drop down menu. Then Selected Ok and then Apply.

    FINALLY – it’s back to normal.

  229. tapendra pandey

    hi it does not work please help now

  230. Panduranga

    Thanks Terry. Finally your Tip worked.

  231. Tofan

    Hi tapan it will work pls read the Steps Carefully
    it wll must work

    Thanx for the valuable Tips i got it ! YAHOO!

  232. AGENT01

    THANKS NICE ADVICE

  233. Felicia

    The second tips work! Thank you so much.

  234. santosh

    Thanks Friend,
    It really works

  235. Vatsal

    Sir, THismay be not work in my computer..

  236. nolook

    Also, on the Web tab, you must UNcheck Lock desktop items for the change to take affect. Locking them for some reason forces the background color to show.

  237. Yahiya

    Such a very useful tip, thank you

  238. santhosh

    av u r the best geek

  239. Rudramuni

    I GET SOLUTION BY USER SUGGESTION
    THANK YOU

  240. shabir

    ya it worked by given solution from admin

  241. Peterson

    Second tip worked. This was driving me nuts, so thanks a lot AV!! most appreciated in Orlando

  242. vikas

    thanks a lot ..
    second trick work for me :)

  243. Manolo

    thanks a lot.
    the Update 1st option works for me.

  244. Joe

    This sucked it didn’t do anything

  245. Tanmay

    Thanks for the tip.
    the “desktop properies” ‘s tip is gonna work.

  246. Rajesh Nayak

    I tried it didint solve the problem by this soloution.next what to do anybody help me plz

  247. Neel III

    Thanks a lot dear… Thank u so much…
    Thank u again…

  248. Jenn

    control panel | system (properties) | Advanced | Performance “settings” | adjust for best appearance.

    I workedon this for almost an hour. Changed my registry, checked and unchecked boxes. And this is the only one that worked for me.

  249. Random

    Came here to work it out. What worked for me was deselecting “lock items to desktop” in the customize desktop tab.

  250. Random

    I’ll be a bit more specific if none of the steps in the article work. Display properties>Customize Desktop…? Click the WEB tab > Uncheck LOCK DESKTOP ITEMS.

  251. RASHID

    Thanx dear , its working

  252. Yogendra Mohan

    Good article ….. It’s work for me.
    Thanks :)

  253. Bikram

    Thank u so much, finally i make it thru : click right -> properties -> desktop ->customize desktop ->web ->unmark all, ok. Tq again

  254. Mark

    Very bizarre.

    I tried every single thing in the original list and the additional comments and several things posted by other people. I never messed with the registry though.

    Finally I read a post by Carol who indicated she retried the “Use drop shadows for icons on the desktop” which worked for her. I went back and oddly enough when I re-enabled the “Use drop shadows for icons on the desktop” it corrected the problem. So unlike others I guess, I ended up with that enabled and my icon names transparent.

    Not sure but I think it is some weird combination sometimes of the different settings mentioned and you might have to try some more than once because perhaps the order matters – some people may have had one or another of those settings already so it worked for them the first time. and for others like me I had to try them al and then one of them a second time before it corrected it.

  255. Just me

    thx to everyone!

  256. chinmaya

    thanks dear. ‘deselect any web pages that are shown.’ option is working.

  257. wriki

    if u r still facing the same problem … dnt worry i have a simple solution which helps u ….
    just “right click on your desktop”
    2.click on “arrange by icons ”
    3. in “arrange by icons ” go to “show desktop icon” nd select this option ….

    m sure u will get ur solution …. say thanx if my trick helps u..

  258. Munna

    >>Sanjoga Subudhi”

    >>I have a suggestion to all those readers whose 1st solution don’t work.
    >>After changing(make tik) the option (right click my computer->properties->Advance tab->performance setting->use drop shadows for icon levels on the desktop)if it do not work then after changing you restart or (logon and logoff) your computer.After that the shadow will surely disappear.

    thanks man ur idea really worked thnx a million Sanjoga Subudhi.

  259. iahumesanger

    In my case it didn’t work because the image I used was with the extension .GIF
    I converted the gif image into jpg.
    Problem solved, for me. Maybe some of you have the same problem…

  260. Cherry

    The 1st method didn’t work for me but the second one did though!!
    Thanks alot!!! (:

  261. ami

    Thank You.
    It help me so much.

  262. hazmazk

    Taboo Tongue

    YOUR A GENIUS

  263. shaliesh

    thank u very very very much lots of thank u this solution

    very gratefully too u

  264. Yavar Pothiawala

    Thank, it works !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, Great…..

  265. Raj

    thanks lot ……..

  266. maninder

    - Right click on the desktop and hover on “Arrange Icons By”.
    - From the appeared sub-menu, select “Lock Web Items on Desktop”.
    - If it is checked, “uncheck” it.

  267. Liezl

    I’ve struggled for a week and came across this website! Wow, it worked. Thanks a lot! If all the first instructions fail, go to the last one!

  268. vinay

    Microsoft Windows XP users

    Open the Control Panel.
    Open the Display icon.
    Click the Desktop tab.
    Click the Customize Desktop button.
    Click the Web tab in the Desktop Items window.
    If you wish to enable the Active Desktop, check My Current Home Page. Add your current home page into your desktop or click New to add another web page and/or other Active Desktop features. To update the content, click the Synchronize button.

    If you wish to disable Active Desktop, make sure all checkboxes in this window are un-checked.

    Microsoft Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows 2000 users:

    Open the Control Panel.
    Open the Display icon.
    Click the Web tab in the Display Properties window.
    If you wish to enable the Active Desktop, check the checkbox for “Show Web content on my Active Desktop” and select the home page you wish to use as the active desktop.

    If you wish to disable Active Desktop, make sure that “Show Web content on my Active Desktop” is unchecked.

  269. gus

    Ok, none of this is working for me. at all. I also have this ugly “X” type icon stuck on my desktop that when i move to the recycle bin slides under it like it’s on some other level than all the other icons. Every time I go to disable Active desktop and uncheck the site from where that ugly X came from (it was a picture off of my email I was trying to download) the link is still there, and checked, no matter how many times I uncheck it, delete it, or try to synchronize it with just “My Current Homepage” instead. Someone please help me as I do not want ugly icons with black backrounds and i don’t want them to stay this way because of some stupid picture. Damn computers just suck sometimes.

  270. Paul

    In addition, make sure “Lock web items on desktop” is unchecked under Desktop -> Right Click -> Arrange Icons By

  271. samira

    hey i do it, it doesnt take much time. u should just right click on desktop and go to properties and then click on desktop panel,then go to customize desctop, in web panel u should uncheck “lock desktop items” and then u have transparent icons in ur desktop.

  272. Tortuga

    Oh my goodness thank you! That was very helpful!

  273. Karrie

    My user had the web page set. That is what was causing his box. All fixed Thanks!

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