How-To Geek

Add Internet Explorer 7 Icon to the Desktop in Windows Vista

I’m sure many of you are thinking… can’t I just make a shortcut? You are correct, that’s the simplest way to do it… but the icon we’re talking about today isn’t a shortcut… it’s the actual IE icon that used to exist in prior versions of Windows.

The main benefit to using this icon instead of a shortcut is that you can quickly get to the Internet Options page by right-clicking and choosing Properties.


You’ll notice that you can also use “Start Without Add-ons”, which is helpful for troubleshooting problems.

To add this icon back, we’ll need to use a registry hack. You can either follow along and manually create the registry entries, or you can skip down further and just download the registry file.

Manual Registry Hack

Open regedit.exe using the Start menu search or run box, and then navigate down to the following key:



In the right-hand pane, add a new 32-bit DWORD value with the following name and value:

Key Name: {871C5380-42A0-1069-A2EA-08002B30309D}

Value: 0

You should be able to right-click on the desktop and choose Refresh, and the new icon should show up.

Downloadable Registry Hack

Simply download and extract the registry hack file and then double-click on it to enter the information into the registry. You can right-click the desktop and select Refresh, or you could log off and back on if that doesn’t work for some reason.

To remove the icon, right-click on it and choose Delete.

Download AddIEIconToDesktop Registry Hack

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 01/2/08

Comments (17)

  1. savon19

    Just wondering. Why would I do this when my IE7 icon is in my launch taskbar?

    Perhaps I’m missing something…

  2. The Geek


    Some people prefer using icons on the desktop. Personally I’m with you, I use the one in the quick launch bar.

  3. Eli

    answering Savon19: because it’s still a shortcut

  4. whocare

    thanks great tip work like a charm

  5. Jared

    Worked like a charm, thanks!

  6. Maggie

    I cant even find the icon on the desk top…
    so i go step by step, still cant find anything eh… help please!!

  7. Barry

    its easy to create IE on desktop on win. VISTA and its not a shortcut

  8. Alead

    This is very useful and easy to do, thanks !

  9. MC

    Thanks for this info! Worked like a charm.

    I have clients that have multiple users on one PC, and having things uniform makes life a lot easier for me.

    For anyone interested in setting the IE7 icon on the Public (that is the same as All Users in WinXP) desktop, follow the same instructions The Geek gave above with these slight changes:

    1. Open regedt32.exe using the Start menu search or run box, and then navigate down to the following key:


    2. Change the Value of Reg Key {871C5380-42A0-1069-A2EA-08002B30309D} to 0

  10. Klaus

    Worked great!! Thanks!!

  11. BrunoH

    Well, as I see this two values all here:

    a) for Win Vista:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Hide DesktopIcons\NewStartPanel

    b) for Win XP SP2 & SP3 (as here the IE real Icon is not present any more by default on a Desktop):



    On Win Vista we have “HKEY_CURRENT_USER” and on Win XP we have “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE”, this might lead my still not tested conclusion that on Win Vista it is only valid for the Current User only, and on Win XP for all the Users on that Computer…

    Well, maybe that note herein of mine, will be useful to someone to really check it out if needed…

  12. BrunoH

    One more subject theme about all of this…
    This time from Microsoft it self,
    and it is also suitable for both the MSWinXP & Vista OSs:

    The Internet Explorer icon is missing from your desktop:

  13. Fernando

    Very good!! Worked perfectly!

    Thank you!!

  14. dodo

    I need internet explore version before 8 there is a issue with a gis system that I can not actcess with 8

  15. Garth

    Boo, didn’t work for me. I checked the registry and the downloadable “hack” put the correct entry into the registry for my profile but when I refresh, logoff and in again, or reboot the IE icon does not show up. Strange that may report this works fine but it does not work on my fresh install of Windows 7 Pro 32 bit version.

  16. Bambang

    Try this:
    1. Explore “My Computer”.
    2. On the left panel click “Desktop” > on the right panel drag “Intenet Explorer” icon to Desktop screen.

  17. george

    i want to install aol on my computer but my computer insit that aolsoftware.exe no found can you please help me with this matter please

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