How-To Geek

How to Move the “Show Desktop” Icon to the Quick Launch Bar or the Taskbar in Windows

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 allow you to add the Show Desktop icon to the Quick Launch bar or anywhere on your Taskbar.

If you want to easily get access to the Desktop in Windows 7, 8, or 10, you’ve undoubtedly noticed they moved the Show Desktop to the lower right corner of the screen. This can be annoying if you have a dual monitors, or even a large monitor.

There are a couple of ways you can make the Show Desktop icon more accessible. We’ll take a look at each and you can choose which method works best for you. We show both methods in Windows 10, but they will also work in Windows 7 and 8.

How to Put the Show Desktop Icon Back to Where it Used to Be by Adding Back the Quick Launch Bar

The first method of moving the Show Desktop icon is to add back the Quick Launch bar to the Taskbar. The Quick Launch bar contains a Show Desktop option, so once you follow the steps in our article to bring back the Quick Launch bar, you should see the Show Desktop icon on the left side of the Taskbar. If you don’t, the article also describes how to move icons on the Quick Launch bar.

This method will “kill two birds with one stone” by getting the Quick Launch bar and the Show Desktop icon back where they used to be in Windows.

How to Pin the Show Desktop Icon to the Taskbar

If you don’t want the Quick Launch bar back, you could pin the icon to the Taskbar instead. Unfortunately, the process isn’t as easy as a simple drag and drop, but there is an easy workaround.

Right-click on any empty area of the desktop and go to New > Text Document.

Rename the shortcut to Show Desktop.exe.

NOTE: You will need to have file extensions showing in order for this to work.

The following warning dialog box displays because you are changing the extension on the shortcut. Click the “Yes” button to change the name and extension on the shortcut.

Right-click on the dummy .exe file you just made and select “Pin to taskbar” from the popup menu.

Create a new text file in Notepad, or your favorite text editor, and copy and paste the following code into the new file.

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

Press Ctrl+S to save the file. In the Save As dialog box, navigate to the following folder and make sure you select “All Files (*.*)” from the “Save as type” dropdown.

C:\Users\<user name>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar

Replace <user name> with your Windows user name.

NOTE: If you don’t see the AppData folder, you must check the “Show hidden files, folders, and drives” box on the View tab on the Folder Options dialog box.

Type Show Desktop.scf in the “File name” box and click the “Save” button.

Close Notepad (or your favorite text editor) by clicking the “X” button in the upper-right corner of the window.

Now, we’re going to edit the properties of the shortcut we pinned to the Taskbar. Right-click on the Show Desktop.exe icon, right-click again on the “Show Desktop” option on the popup menu, and then select “Properties from the second popup menu.

On the Properties dialog box, enter the following path into the Target box on the Shortcut tab, making sure to keep the quotes around the full path. The quotes are required because there are spaces in the path.

“C:\Users\<user name>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar\Show Desktop.scf”

Again, replace <user name> with your user name.

Don’t close the Properties dialog box just yet! You have your new icon on the Taskbar, but you might want to change the icon to something more appealing.

While the Properties dialog box is still open, and the Shortcut tab is still active, click the “Change Icon” button.

Because there is no icon associated with the Show Desktop.exe icon we pinned to the Taskbar, we have to select an icon from a different file.

No worries, though. Windows automatically selects the shell32.dll file in the %SystemRoot%\system32\ folder that contains a lot of icons from which you can choose. Select an icon by clicking on it in the “Select an icon from the list below” box and click the “OK” button.

Now, click the “OK” button to close the Properties dialog box.

Initially, the icon may not change on the Show Desktop.exe icon on the Taskbar. However, restarting File (or Windows) Explorer will fix this.

Here is the Show Desktop icon on the Taskbar.

The Show Desktop icon on the far right side of the Taskbar is still available in Windows 7, 8, and 10, even after using one or both of these methods to “move” it.

For more on changing icons to something more unique, check out our guide to customizing icons in Windows, and chanaging icons for certain file types.

Lori Kaufman is a writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.

  • 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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