How-To Geek

Add Internet Explorer Icon to Windows XP / Vista Desktop

I know what you are thinking. Can’t I just make a shortcut? Of course you can. But using this tweak you can recreate the native Internet Explorer icon the way it used to be in prior versions of Windows.

The native icon gives you two benefits: First, you can right-click and get directly to the Internet Options panel, and secondly it doesn’t have the shortcut icon arrow.

Update: This doesn’t work in Windows 7. See this Microsoft KB article for answers, but the short version is that you’ll need to just create a regular shortcut instead.

Manual Registry Tweak

Open up regedit.exe through the start menu search or run box, and then browse down to the following key:



Find the key named “{871C5380-42A0-1069-A2EA-08002B30309D}” on the right-hand side, and then set the value to 0. If the key does not exist, then create a new 32-bit DWORD value with the same name. To remove the icon, you could set the value to 1 instead.

Note that if you are using the classic start menu, you should create this value under the ClassicStartMenu key instead of the NewStartPanel key.

Download Registry Hack

Even easier, you can just use one of the registry files I’ve prepared. Just unzip and double-click to enter into the registry.

Add IE Icon to Desktop

Remove IE Icon from Desktop

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 03/7/07

Comments (62)

  1. matthew

    The reg entry doesn’t remove the icon (at least for me) in vista. Not sure if there’s something missing or not… even when I go to the spot in the registry, there’s nothing there with the 871… key. Here’s what’s in the zip I downloaded.

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


    Thanks :)

  2. matthew

    ah, i figured it out… I had my settings set to ClassicStartMenu

    therefore, i just changed that part of the reg entry.

    thank you!

  3. NAs

    It worked with very well using the registry file.

    thank you.

  4. Wayne L.

    Your tip worked from the easy link above. The old icon went in the recycle bin. Thanks.

  5. the holy

    gr8888888888 it worked! thanks man gr8 job!

  6. Denman

    Thank you so much for posting this.

    So the native Internet Explorer icon got hidden in the market release of Vista? Because I remember that the icon used to be shown in the desktop by default when I tried Vista RC1.

  7. Marlene

    I cannot get the custom icons for site shortcuts on my desktop with Vista as I did with XP. Each shortcut is now just the generic explorer icon. Is there a way to get the distinctive icons for each site I want to put on my desktop?

  8. JohnC

    Holy Smoke!!! IT WORKED!!! I searched and searched Micro$oft tech support/knowledge bases for hours to no avail and this was so easy using the zip file. THANK YOU MR. GEEK! I am a happy guy now!

  9. JJ

    Thnx man…… The registry file just worked fine.

  10. JuMz


    Do you know how to ‘create’ these? i.e. if I wanted to create one for say Firefox, where in the registry can I add the appropriate values so this can be done? Thanks for this regedit by the way!

  11. Tommy

    WOW. You are too cool. I usually have to enter the Reg hack everytime I do a clean install of vista. Your file saved me some time and I am saving it…. and I have emailed it to a few of my buds.


  12. Gavin Scrimgeour

    Cheers mate, worked a treat

  13. Steve

    Is there anyway to change the Documents icon to a “real icon” no shortcut on the desktop

  14. Simon

    Dont forget u will need to right click on the desktop and click refresh after editing registry. Thanks MR Geek!!!

  15. Ron

    Man was that easy. Your the best. Happy Thanksgiving.

  16. Hisham

    Thanks Man

  17. Adi

    Hi guys,

    Mine don’t work. I tried everything..

    I will try reinstalling IE
    Sys. (Windows XP Pro, SP2)


  18. va1o

    Thanks worked perfect here (Vista x86)

  19. AfghanHound

    You are the best

  20. jeromi

    if i have an icon pack how do change all the folders at once instead of one by one

  21. gavin

    If that does not work look into HKLM………..

  22. Zorblood

    hey, this was awesome, but how would a remove this icon via batch file?

  23. John G

    This was a terrible post! Now I have one less reason to upgrade to Windows XP :)

    J/K thanks for the post. Oh and if you are impatient and it doesn’t appear, kill the process “explorer.exe” from the task manager and restart it.

  24. blah

    It should use instead for XP HKEY Local Machine and follow the steps just like before

  25. Brad

    Awesome! Works for Windows XP Pro SP2. (manual fix)

  26. tman425

    thanks for the helpful tip. I have another question now. I’ve added the icons to my desktop, but now I want like 3 IE icons on my desktop and each one of them opens up with a different homepage, example, first icon opens up my yahoo homepage, the next icon opens up my google search, and the third opens my business hompage. I got the three icons on the desktop, so now can anyone tell me how to get each one to open a different page as default? if you or anyone can help email me at

  27. Betty

    I cannot get the custom icons for site shortcuts on my desktop with Vista as I did with XP. Each shortcut is now just the generic explorer icon. Is there a way to get the distinctive icons for each site I want to put on my desktop?

  28. jd2066

    @Betty: Usually the Favorite Icons can be restored by switching to Classic Icons on the desktop. Just right click on the desktop, move over View and click Classic Icons.

  29. Robert

    Many thanks for this site and especially to “BLAH” to point out the difference for xp. I had screwed around with this for an hour or so yesterday and this site was my first today and when I went out of regedit there it was. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  30. MC

    Thanks for this info! Worked like a charm on WinXPSP3, and on Vista X86 & x64. You just made my life a lot easier!!

    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

  31. apcapri

    You could just use Frameworkx Deskie 1.2

  32. Bob

    It didn’t work for me as instructed on the vista start menu but when i switched to classic it was there then switched back to vista startmenu it was gone. I played with it a second and tried MC’s key and added it to the exact same location and it worked. I am running IE 8 beta 2 on a vista home basic machine.

  33. Bob

    sorry forgot to click notify me :(

  34. rick nakamura

    It worked great. Spent hours trying to do it,your download made it so easy.Thanks again!

  35. ie8user

    Microsoft has released a “Fix it” to do this for you automatically:

  36. jo

    Hi man ive got a question
    how can i have google chrome without (snelkoppeling) quiklink without an arrow ??

  37. Jason

    Amazin, thanks very much

  38. Amardeep

    didnt work on vista, keep coming up saying its done but there no difference

  39. Closetmonkey

    Good post, admin.

  40. Abraham

    It worked well!

    Thanks so much!

  41. Kelly

    I don’t get it…I created the file, then what?
    I tried the link above, then I get this error message: The file does not have a program associated with it for performing this action. Create an association in the Set Associations control panel.
    I’m totally confused…what am I doing wrong?

  42. Autumn

    Thank so much :D You saved my butt from getting chewed by my parents for the IE icon just, poofing in mid-air :D

  43. andrea

    have windows vista maybe ie willl be better than firefox

  44. studioCJF

    I can not get this to work in 64-Bit Win7-Pro
    I also tried the link/wizard that “ie8user” posted and got message something like “not applicable for your OS”

  45. Reonekot

    I have the same problem. Doesn’t seem to work on Windows 7 + IE8. :( I have tried putting more or less all the keys from HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\HideDesktopIcons\NewStartPanel into the current user part, but no luck getting the IE icon to show.

    I normally use this to script changes to default user profile when deploying through MDT, so would like to know if some one finds a solution.

  46. Alex

    uhmmm… in my registry, i do not have that.. i am running vista SP2… all my IE icons, are indeed shortcuts.. but in my registry, HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer… after explorer.. there is no HideDesktopIcons option…

  47. mohammad

    it doesn’t work!!

  48. Muhammad Nazim

    well how to place internet explorer icon in windows 7 (Million dollar Question)

  49. wahh

    you dont have to go to all that to do it just go to this website and fix it properly

  50. hany egypt

    you are the best

  51. runeimpact

    man this failed :( tried downloading it and eveything i have windows XP (sp3) i have the icon but its a shortcut -.-

  52. runeimpact

    nvm ^^ forgot to refresh TY!!!!

  53. Nikko

    Maybe this is the simplest way:
    Right click ‘My Computer’ > Explore > On the left pane select ‘Desktop’ > On the right pane drag IE icon to your Desktop …. that’s it!

  54. Hatshepsut

    didn’t work.

  55. JD

    The reg hack only works for the current user. In my case, changing the key to local_machine does not fix the problem and yet all references I have seen only point to HKEY_Current_User. How do I set the icon for all users rather than just the current user?

  56. Russell

    For JD:

    from a DOS box
    reg load HKLM\DefUser “C:\Documents and Settings\Default User\ntuser.dat”

    go into registry to HKLM, into DefUser, change

    reg unload HKLM\DefUser

    Delete old profiles.
    Next time users log in they get a new profile created from Default user with the change.

  57. Wounderfull I resolved my issue

    Wounderfull. It worked. Thank you for posting add

  58. Raghavendra Tech Associate iYogi

    Wounderfull. It worked.

  59. Meowingjustworks4050

    For those that didn’t work here is some help
    1. Open Explorer
    2. Goto Desktop
    3. You will find the icon here, press ALT and drag it to your actual desktop, it will show an
    arrow, but when you hold it but the real icon will result by releasing the icon.
    4. Done, enjoy Microsoft Internet Explorer

  60. chan

    In [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\
    HideDesktopIcons\NewStartPanel] and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\HideDesktopIcons\NewStartPanel it does have the key, but regedit don’t let me to edit them from 0 to 1. but other key no problem.

  61. friend

    Thank you. you are fantastic

  62. LantisBr

    you can use one powe toy called Tweak UI

    in the desktop option uncheck the IE icon

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