How-To Geek

Save and Restore Desktop Icon Layout in Windows Vista

If you switch resolutions a lot you’ve probably experienced the problem with Windows moving your icons around every time it switches to a lower resolution, such as when playing a video game or hooking up your laptop to an external display.

With a little tweak that originally came from the resource kit, we can add a menu that will let us save and restore the desktop icon positions by right-clicking on the Computer item on the start menu (or desktop icon).


Download and extract the zip file, and then copy Layout.dll into your C:\Windows\System32\ directory, assuming you’ve installed Vista on your C: drive.

Next, you’ll need to double-click on the Layout.reg file, which will add the contents to the registry. 


Now when you right-click on the Computer entry in the start menu, you’ll see two new items for “Save Desktop Icon Layout” and “Restore Desktop Icon Layout”. Arrange your icons the way you’d like them, and then click the Save layout menu item.

image image

To prove that it works, move your icons around and jumble them up…


Now when you choose the Restore option, your icons will go right back to where they were when you saved them: 


Extremely handy!

Download Install

Download and follow the instructions above. Note that this version does not work for 64bit.

Installer for 64-bit Windows

Download setup.exe from Note that this is a different install than


Download, extract and double-click on the registry file. You’ll have to logout and back in to see the change. You should also delete layout.dll manually.

This tweak should also work on Windows XP

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 08/14/07

Comments (241)

  1. Bob

    There’s a change you can make to the reg file to add the ‘save desktop’ option to the right-click menu of the desktop itself:


    I think it’s more intuitive to right-click on the desktop itself in order to save desktop icon layout than to remember to right-click on My Computer (or the Recycle Bin).

    The uninstall tweak needed would be a reg file to delete these keys added by the original file.

  2. The Geek


    Thanks! You are absolutely right. I’ll update the zipfile and article in a little while.

  3. Jim Douglass

    Hi Geek: Nice looking website! I’ll look forward to seeing you up in Maine over the weekend – Uncle Jim

  4. Petarsus

    Couldn’t make ‘Save and Restore Desktop Icon Layout in Windows Vista’ work in Vista 64.

  5. WaVe

    As Petarsus says, this workn´t on Vista 64…

  6. Ivan

    UltraMon has this feature and it’s much easier to use (all it takes is 2 clicks).

  7. Serge

    I made a 64-bit version of DIPS tool which does the same:

    Works perfectly on my 64-bit Vista.
    Will not work on 32-bit systems.

  8. Petarsus

    Wahoo, an icon saver that works with Vista 64. Thank you Serge.

  9. Dobbs2010

    Serge you are the master, works like a dream

  10. WaVe

    Serge – many THX :-)

  11. Gareth Wilkinson

    Wanted to say thanks to Serge for the dips utility for 64. Brilliant.

    Serge, can an ‘advanced amatuer’ like me get in and edit the menu commands to read ‘Restore’ icon positions instead of Resore. But then ‘Resore’ does kinda grow on you …


  12. Serge

    I’ve uploaded a fixed version. Just reinstall.

    Or change this reg key manually:

    @=”Restore Icon Positions”

  13. JefO

    Doesn’t work for me.

    Windows Vista Enterprise 64

    Does it require Vista Ultimate?

    I wonder if a Microsoft patch broke this? I had added a right-click, “Command Prompt”, to the system icons, but that also is gone.

  14. Serge

    My dips64 works fine here with all the latest updates. Try disabling UAC, though I don’t think it’s related. Enterprise Vista should be also supported, but I didn’t test it.

  15. JefO

    Got it…

    After the install, it instructs to push Shift+right-click, which produces a menu without the options.
    I have to push CTRL+Shift+right-click. This produces not only your Save/Restore Icons, but also my missing Command Prompt.

  16. Roger Palfree

    Thank you very much. I used Iconlock way back when in an earlier OS (win95). The need has been around for many years. You would think by Vista, even Microsoft would have realized it should be a standard little feature.

  17. GarethW

    On checking back appeared your latest version eliminates need to use key so downloaded and reinstalled only to notice my previous layout.dll had disappeared from system32 (and of course no icon utility present in menu). Tune-Up utilities a possible culprit?
    Now, with the latest layout.dll file installed I get nothing re Icons in the Computer menu whether I use ‘r-click’, ‘alt+r-click’ or ‘ctrl+shift+r-click. The .reg file appeared to function as expected but there were no ensuing instructions re what keys to use to access the Icon Save/Restore function. Checked the registry and found two identical entries at different places under CLSID\InProcServer32 of two lines each: 1st line (Default) REG_SZ layout.dll 2nd line ThreadingModel REG_SZ Apartment. If you can find the time a clue would be appreciated as I have been very grateful to have this little utility on several occasions already. Regards.

  18. GarethW

    Sorry, first line should read the SHIFT key.

  19. Mel

    This is exactly the tweak I was looking for. I am wondering if it will encounter problems if a file, folder, or prog that was saved to the desktop is removed. Has anyone tried this out? Please post.

  20. Pedro

    Cool tweak.

    Sadly, it has a weird behavior on my Vista Ultimate dual monitor. It seems to be able to restore icons to their original place when moved from Monitor 2 to Monitor 1 but not the opposite: I move the My Computer icon to monitor 2 and it was restore to anywhere in monitor 1.

    Also, I can move as many icons as I want in monitor 1 and nothing gets restored the way it was .


  21. redmike

    I bought a new HP Pavillion a couple of days ago and just tried this and it works like a dream.
    I am installing lots programs so my icons were getting bumped all over the place.
    thanks a lot,


  22. dick

    doesn’t work in vista 32bit…

  23. Bry

    Was just wondering if the author has updated the file with the right-click on the desktop function and the un-install function? Thanks.

  24. JeffO

    Serge’s app was last updated Sept 6. It only works with Vista x64.

    The other (Layout.dll) is an old NT4 file that works with Windows XP x32 and Vista x32 and is not supported by anyone.
    To register it to appear on both the desktop right-click and the MyComputer icon right-click, use the following reg-file contents.


    ; This registers the DLL
    @=”Desktop Icon Layout”

    ; These next two add it to the My Computer right-click

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Shell Extensions\Approved]
    “{19F500E0-9964-11cf-B63D-08002B317C03}”=”Desktop Icon Layout”

    ; This adds it to the Desktop right-click

  25. Chris

    I can’t get dips64 working under XP x64, no special context menu appears, just the usual desktop one… any ideas?

  26. JeffO

    Vista has complex menus. There’s more than just one standard right-click menu.
    Plus, try both right-clicking a system icon like My Computer and try right-clicking an empty spot on the desktop.
    Also, I’ll have to check, but I’m wondering if the menus with Vista 32-bit are different than 64-bit. I have Ultimate 64-bit at home, and Business 32-bit (company laptop) in front of me. I could swear they’re different hot-keys to get the various menus.
    On this Business-x32, there’s only a right-click and a Shift+right-click.
    On my Ultimate x64, seems like it required Ctrl+Shift+right-click to get the save icon item.
    And it seems like there were Alt+right-click and Ctrl+right-click menus, but I’ll have to check.

    The point: experiment with combinations. You’ll find it somewhere.


  27. Serge

    Another workaround for dips64 if you don’t have menu items. Create shortcuts for “dips64.exe S” – save icons and “dips64.exe R” – restore icons. dips64.exe is in your Program Files\DIPS64 after you install it.

  28. Marcel

    I have created a quick bar on the LHS of one of my displays (I use a multimon setup) and every single time I reboot my vista machine, it shifts the desktop icons one spot to the right! Extremely annoying! Is there any way to automate using this DLL to restore the icon position each and every time I reboot? I’d be much happier than being reminded every time I reboot with bad icon positions and having to restore it manually.

  29. JeffO

    This would be possible, I believe, but it would require knowledge of “entry points” in the Desktop icon Saver you’re using (LAYOUT.DLL or dips64).
    I’m using LAYOUT.DLL with Windows XP, here at work, and I haven’t found the proper command.


    I tried several commands…
    Rundll32 LAYOUT.DLL restoreicons
    Rundll32 LAYOUT.DLL restoredesktopicons
    Rundll32 LAYOUT.DLL restoredesktop
    Rundll32 LAYOUT.DLL -r
    Rundll32 LAYOUT.DLL -R
    Rundll32 LAYOUT.DLL,DllGetClassObject -restoreicons
    Rundll32 LAYOUT.DLL,DllGetClassObject -restoredesktopicons
    Rundll32 LAYOUT.DLL,DllGetClassObject -restoredesktop
    … and a multitude of others.

    I don’t know what the secret is.

  30. Marcel

    Yes I’ve tried a couple of DLL examination tools to look for entry points and didn’t find anything useful. Only a load DLL function and an unload DLL function.

  31. Mario

    Great tool! The only feature missing is the ability to save multiple layouts as I keep switching between my external monitor and just my laptop screen (when on the road) so it would be perfect if I could save a layout for each screen resolution i’m using and restore the desired layout when needed. It would also allow me to have a special layout for when i`m doing demos to clients.

    Is the source code available for this tool?

  32. Dennis Brallier


    Just thought I’d drop you a line and let you know that…..I’ve tried this numerous times now, followed your directions to a “T”, and I have yet to get it to work in any way, shape or form. I don’t even get the extra options in the menu no matter where I put the cursor and click.
    Any ideas? And yes….it’s Vista!

    Best Regards


  33. Dennis Brallier

    Hi again,

    Just a quick note here. My earlier post was in regards to the “Layout.dll” method.
    And… *another* quick note here, I just followed someone else’s information on the “dips 64” and it works GREAT!!!! I’ve use the older version simply called “dips” for years now, even on XP, however, as most of you have probably already found out, it doesn’t work on Vista. But DIPS 64 sure does and I’m very grateful for the info and the file. I was starting to really get hot under the collar with my icons taking off everytime something changed a bit.



  34. The Geek


    So this version only works in 32-bit Vista, I assume? That’s not too surprising, I should update the article though.

  35. Dennis Brallier


    I’m going to have to assume that your correct on that since I *am* using Vista Ultimate 64 bit. Neat trick but was really frustrated when it wouldn’t work on my system since I was fast approaching the point of getting the ole 40 cal. S&W out and doing a number on my icons! (thought maybe if I shot them, they’d quit moving around! :-> )
    Anyway, great site and thanks for the extremely fast response!

    Best Regards


  36. JeffO

    On my Vista Ultimate 64, I’ve noticed that the menu shortcuts often aren’t there. I have to keep doing the key combination several times before it shows up.
    I don’t fault dips64 at all. Vista is a squirrely OS. In its current SP0 state, as far as I’m concerned it’s just another beta. Not-ready-for-primetime.
    The fact that we need such an icon-saver so badly points out how flaky Vista is.
    Although, my Vista Business 32-bit is less squirrely, it has issues too.

  37. Dennis Brallier

    Hi JeffO,

    Here’s what I believe is a solution to your problem! Since you installed dips64…..if you saved or still have the download, use winrar or similar software to “open” that download and inside you will find the “exe”, left click on it and send a shortcut to the desktop, put it where you want it, then double click it just like you would do with the old version of “dips” and you will get the SAME little window with the “SAVE” and “RESTORE” buttons on it.
    I was SO relieved to find out about this program and when I saw that same little window, I knew my icon problems were over. The guy that wrote that little program deserves a pat on the back and a whole lot of praise!

  38. Dennis Brallier

    Correction!!! I meant “right click” ( “open” that download and inside you will find the “exe”, left click on it and send a shortcut to the desktop, )

  39. JeffO

    I feel like a dumby – so used to archive files being ZIP, RAR, etc. that I forgot to check to see if it was a self-extracting archive. Thanks for the suggestion. It will definitley fix my problem.

  40. Dennis

    LOL……no need to feel like a dumby, we’re all human and we all forget things from time to time. Heck, I’d have to the hospital and have a couple more gigs of memory installed in order to remember everything! :->

  41. Mark

    I’ve used this Layout tweak for a number of years, and while it works perfectly. Why the hell hasn’t Microsoft included this in Vista is a total mystery, given the other useless changes made to the UI.

  42. Mark

    I’ve used this Layout tweak for a number of years, and while it works perfectly, using a system or registry maintenance tool often disables the tweak (double-clicking the reg file makes it work again, though).

    Why Microsoft hasn’t included this in Vista as a standard right-click option is a total mystery, given the other superfluous changes made to the UI.

  43. Jeannie

    how to delete references when you don’t need this fine toy anymore?
    Found out it was a permission problem on my XP machine :)
    Please let me know how to take references off.

  44. The Geek


    I’ve added an uninstaller registry file to the article for download.

  45. Bruno

    I have a question, I was wondering where this information if saved on the hard disk ? I have restored my desktop from a backup put I would like to restore the icon positions as well

    Vista x64

    Thank you

  46. Ted

    Serge – thx for this. I echo everyone’s comments here that this is a tremendous addition. You should commercialize this product, adding some of these additional features and support for multiple monitors etc – I’m sure everyone on here would buy it.

    FYI – The current utility works great as long as you stay “within its bounds”. I noticed if you do something like drag an icon to a dual monitor is screws everything up, and multiple DIPS processes show up in your task manager. At one point, I had 23 DIPS.exe processes running concurrently.

  47. Bruno

    I just wanted to say that I use dual monitors (2 X 1920 X 1200) and I have had no issues at all, icons are restored properly. I use Vista x64.

  48. Dario

    Ive got a strange bug.
    I tested a few Icon layout saver (This one is the best by the way) but they all have the same bug.

    When i restore the icon layout about 80% of the icons are right, but some are at the place of others.
    So 2 icons on one place or even worse, the icons that should be there are randomly placed on the screen.

    Im using Vista 32 with 2 monitors, 1920×1200 and 1280×1024.

    Also as i wanted to copy the layout.dll in the system32 folder it says there is already one and its being used, so i cant overwrite it.
    Maybe the file of the old version of this icon layout saver (I used it with XP).

    While i write this ive got an idea..

  49. Dario

    The idea didnt work, hope someone could help me.

  50. Stefan

    Absolut genial !
    in den Zeiten wo Grafikhersteller jeden Monat neue Treiber herausbringen ist dieses Tool unverzichtbar.
    Die beiden Tools arbeiten bei meiner Konfiguration (Vista Ultimate SP1 x86 und x64 mit 2 Monitoren bei 1680×1050 und 1280×1024) einwandfrei.
    Danke !

    Definitely brilliantly!
    in the times where graphic manufacturer every month new drivers bring out this tool is indispensably.
    Both tools work with my configuration (Vista Ultimate SP1 x86 and x64 with 2 monitors with 1680×1050 and 1280×1024) perfectly.

  51. Ian

    It would be good if you could lock a group of icons, not all of them.
    you can then allow windows to rearrange most except the ones locked.

  52. Alex

    Nice. Is there a similar utility to restore window positions?

  53. Ricardo

    Hi, let me congratulate you for this excelent work, but i think it lacks only one feature to be perfect.
    I have a tablet PC and i’m always changing resolutions. It would be very helpfull if the program coud save 2 screen layouts acording to the Vertical or Horizontal resolutions of the tablet.
    Then it would be awsome if automaticly react to screen orientation and autoload the correct layout.
    Then this youd be the PERFECT application.

  54. Bill

    Trying to install the icon restore layout but have a problem. I know it is me. When i try to install the layout.dill I can get to System32 but cannot find the directory. Believe it may be that I should install it in System32 but need to know for sure.


  55. JeffO

    Yes, for LAYOUT.DLL, copy the file into C:\Windows\System32\

    Make sure you register the file by merging the REG file: LAYOUT.REG
    This registers the DLL file and gives a right-click menu.

    This, of course is for 32-bit Windows.
    LAYOUT.DLL won’t work on 64-bit systems.
    For 64-bit, use Serge’s icon saver (posted above)…

  56. Paul Hoffman

    Nice! Worked like a champ for me. So: what’s the equivalent for XP?

  57. avoidz

    Quote: “This tweak should also work on Windows XP.”

    It does :)

  58. Rudolf

    Fantastic, after N changes of the desktop and N times trying to restore it myself I searched and found this tweak. Soooooooooooo Happy!
    Thanks you did a great job!

  59. GeminiAlpa

    A little too quick conclusion Rudolf.
    I assume that saving a desktop view, directly followed by a restore should show zero differences, well sometimes not and I’ve seen 1 upto 4 icons change.

    I like the save/restore util, but what’s the real problem? On the internetI read something about “screen resolution changes” could produce the desktop clutter.
    I installed fresh ati Catalyst software hoping that would make the difference

    Wishing you success in finding the real problem

  60. SamB

    using both xp x32 and vista x64 here. the geeks version is working fantastic on xp! is there a way to make serges dips64 work without using SHIFT + RMB? so just a default shift on the desktop brings it up? and also to separate it from the other menu items as the geeks is?

    any info would be great!

  61. SamB

    “so just a default shift on the desktop brings it up?”

    er that should be “so just a default RMB on the desktop brings it up?” DOH! :S

  62. Glen

    Bob’s suggestion … [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\Background\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers\IconLayout]

    is absolutely mandatory for anyone on multiple monitors like I am (3). Clicking on the desktop makes a lot more sense than having to locate one of the “right” icons to allow you to fix this.

    You said you would update the zip. That hasn’t happened yet. If I didn’t read Bob’s comment, I would have still been scratching my noggin.

  63. GeminiAlpa

    The service offered by the Geek the “Save and Restore Desktop Icon Layout” in Windows Vista didn’t fulfil my expectations.
    I searched the web and found “” from Thorsten Blauhut. That program works flawlessly and fills in my needs.

  64. spmail

    Hey GeminiAlpa, nice advertisement for your friends software application. Too bad it doesn’t work on Vista x64, which is the primary value in this solution, as there are plenty of others that work in Vista 32 bit.

  65. avoidz

    Nice link, GeminiAlpa – thanks :)

  66. Ed Gavin

    access denied when I tried to replace the original layout.dll with the new one. I am the administrq tor for this PC……….can’t figure out how to replace it…………

  67. JeffO

    Not sure why/how you’re having this problem, but if you unregister layout.dll, and turn off System Restore, then reboot, you ought to be able to replace it.
    Then turn System Restore back on and re-register layout.dll.

  68. Brian

    Vista Ultimate 32 bit, tried the installation twice without success even after re-booting options would never appear.

    If the options do not appear on right click of your Start button, try RIGHT CLICK recycle button.
    I found them there.


  69. Morten

    Thanks a lot! Works perfectly. This have bothered me for months.

  70. Buzzdee

    Nice tool!

    I use it on my EeePc under XP, but I have one question:
    The postions are scrumbled after every reboot. How can I restore all Icon postions automatically after Windows start ?

  71. Baru


    I was so annoyed to get my careful icon positioning screwed up every time I used my laptop with an external display!
    Your tool finally solved my problem.
    Thanks again


  72. Andrew

    Where does it save the desktop icon layout?

  73. Prze

    Works nice on Win Vista 64 bits Home Premium. Many thanks. Good job.

  74. Putzo

    > “Where does it save the desktop icon layout?”

    I believe it’s at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\IconLayout.

  75. Rebecca

    How do I restore the toolbar on the lower right side of my desktop. This is where I had the date and time, the Norton security icon, ect. showing. I want these items to appear back where I had them.
    Rebecca Elisa Watson

  76. bruce

    I followed your instructions. After copying .dll and running LAYOUT.REG I got no messages; I even restarted the laptop. I have Vista 32 bit.
    I can see no menu items as described whether I try right-click or other CTRL/ALT/SHIFT combinations.
    Is there anything more I can do?

  77. Dmitry

    Great, i finally find solution for 64 bit Vista. Works well, thanks a lot.

  78. jd2066

    @Rebecca: You can try the steps at under “To Show All System Tray Icons”.

  79. hseldon

    Serge’s app for 64-bit Vista nearly works. When I do a restore all the icons are restored to original position except for Windows Mail which moves from its original position to the other side of the screen.

  80. JeffO

    The crux of icon positioning is that you have to have an anchor – two sides (one corner). All things must be static.
    Well, Windows isn’t static. It’s a bit jittery. Windows has its own way of deciding where to position things, independent of icon layout savers.
    So it’s not possible for any icon layout saver to operate perfectly.

    One of my Vista qirks is it used to enjoy changing resolutions on me. My video card drivers and Windows kept fighting over what they thought was optimal. If any screen parameter changes – resolution, icon size, text DPI, etc. – it throws off the entire icon layout restore.
    Add application-specific quirks like Windows Mail having its own idea where its icon ought to end up adds another layer of trouble.

    I’m very satisfied with both Serge’s 64-bit freebie and Microsoft’s old layout.dll, considering the difficulties. Sure beats the old days when there was never any potential rescue from icon hell.
    Microsoft’s solution for the past 10 years has been to retrain everyone to stop putting icons on the Desktop.

  81. minorgeek

    great !!!
    a little bug: if my dt has two files, “notepad” and “notepad admin” the restore restores the latter (correctly) but leaves the former unchanged.

    work-around: rename to notepad.x and notepad.admin makes it work. probably other renamings? also seems to work if i replace the “.” with blank space. so bug is when one filename matches the beginning of another.

  82. David

    [non expert comment] Works great on Home Premium, but…I have same problem as Brian–commands show up under My Computer and Recycle Bin but not on Desktop right click. How to move from Recycle to Desktop?

  83. minorgeek

    david, read the first post in this thread.

  84. howard

    The registry entries would not install on my vista puter.

    Any help on that?

  85. David

    Thanks minorgeek, I saw that. But since I’m not (yet) all that familiar with working in the registry, I don’t actually know how to add that. Nor do I know where or how to modify the registry to take out the commands associated with the recycle bin. I was hoping for an easy fix; looks like I need to get more educated.

  86. minorgeek

    actually, david, you need only copy and past from that post into a text file named something.reg. then right click it, select merge. it uses the program reg which exports/imports registry info, in this case importing and creating a new key. regedit is for interactive editing, which is fine to do…but back up anything before changing! system restore point to back up full registry. to back up just one key, right click that key and select export. it creates a .reg file that can be merged to change it back to original. i’m sure there are articles on good luck!

  87. Icarusforde

    ok, im trying to get the shortcuts onto the right click on desktop, and cant seem to get it there. Im running vista home premium 32bit and when i go into the registry, i can seem to find the correct entry. i even did as minorgeek suggested and copied and pasted the thing from bob and tried to merge that, but it didnt work.

    Any ideas?

  88. David

    Thanks again minorgeek. Didn’t work. I created the file as you said, and the icon looked like a reg file, but I got an error message when I tried to either merge or import saying it was NOT a reg file…so, I got brave, created a new “IconLayout” entry at the appropriate place and simply copied in the value. Worked like a charm. Now I’ll tackle getting the command out of the recycle bin!

    Icarusforde–hope this helps you. But do as minorgeek suggests and BACKUP FIRST!

  89. Terraromaster

    I have Vista 32 and it doesn’t work. The icons that I moved since saving layout don’t go back and a few Icons that were at the right place move behind other Icons. Weird.

  90. bruce


    I posted a note August 15, 2008. Nobody responded to that. I’ll keep watching to see if anyone responds to yours. Here’s hoping.

  91. minorgeek


    > have Vista 32 and it doesn’t work
    so do i. works well.

    > icons that I moved since saving layout don’t go back
    yes, of course. if you havent’ saved, you can’t restore. :)

    >a few Icons that were at the right place move behind other Icons
    perhaps because of above. and as i’ve said here, it’s not perfect. if you have two icons where one’s name is the beginning of another’s, it moves only one. still, great to click and see ’em come back almost just right.

    good luck!

  92. David

    Bruce and Terraromaster appear to have different problems. Bruce has nothing whereas I understand T’s problem to be that he has the menu items, but either or both of them don’t work.

    Have you both checked the registry to see if the correct entries exist (were they merged/imported correctly)?

  93. Kronus

    It can’t work under DreamScene desktop(Vista Ultimate Plus)…..

  94. Paul

    I had lost my Icon on the desktop. How I can restore back. Some one can help me. I had tried to do the restore that command does not work.


  95. Paul

    This is for Win VIsta Home Basic

  96. Karim

    Many thanks for posting this! It’s freaking awesome.

  97. goombapatrol

    not working, the icons become scrambled after i try using it.

    i only am using 1 monitor, no idea what’s wrong.

  98. JeffO

    I’ve seen this behavior, but it has only happened to me when I’ve saved the icon postions, then changed the screen resolution. If the resolution changes, it will through off all the positions, so the restore will not put them back right.
    Every time you change your resolution, you have to save again.

    If that is not your situation, then I don’t know what could cause your problem.

    When I first had Vista, Vista kept lowering my resolution one notch. I read that Microsoft had decided for us what was optimal for all 22″ monitors. So every time I booted, Vista would lower it to Microsoft’s ideal. But ideal resolution is determined by physical properties of monitors. It has nothing to do with operating systems, except that some drivers and video cards are capable and some aren’t. But Vista stopped doing that, so I suspect Microsoft patched Vista to leave the resolution alone.
    Did your resolution change? Do you have all the Vista patches?

  99. goombapatrol

    my resolution has never changed.
    and yes, i have all the vista patches.

  100. hello

    I just installed it on my Vista Ultimate 64bit and it works!!! Nice tool!


  101. Concerned User :)

    Seems this is a cause for “Cross-Thread Deadlock” within Explorer.exe, DWM.exe and Explorer.exe will cease to respond then crash, have to restart Explorer.exe a couple times until it functions properly.

    Would be nice to see an updated version of Layout.dll to work in conjunction with Vista32/64, not sure about XP and Quad Cores.

    Quad Core Q6600 is what I use.

  102. LAE

    Wow! thanks

  103. jay

    Simple excellent tool. You would think the Evil Empire would figure something like this out. Anyhoo, Thanks Again!!

  104. avoidz

    @jay – this is the Microsoft who put a Delete option on the Recycle Bin in Vista which deletes the icon from the Desktop. Wasn’t there in XP. What a great UI improvement!

  105. Jay

    Desktop Icon S&R works fine on my VISTA 32 bit computer. But I mistakenly installed the 32bit ver on my VISTA 64 bit computer, before I realized there was a 64 bit version available. I ran the uninstaller, but it looked like it was inserting “uninstall” files in the reg. Then when I installed the 64 bit version, it doesn’t work. Maybe the uninstaller is 32 bit and didn’t properly “clean up” my 32 bit install on my 64 bit system. Any ideas?

  106. Paul.S

    I used Icon restore v1.0 on my winXp 32 bit system and it worked great for me everytime, I installed the same version on my Vista Ultimate 64 bit system without realising is was the 32 bit software I was installing obviously it did not work so I removed it and tried this version for 64bit
    it still does not work, although it installs and the restore/save features are there under shift/right click, if I save the desktop layout and then move a few icons and then click restore it not only moves the icons back but also moves other icons that were already saved but unmoved.
    I have read through this whole link at everyones messages and did not find anything that would help at all so I am at a loss.
    I will save this page and hope that someone has a easy resolve for this problem, in th emean time I will search for other software and see what else is out there, but I do agree with that microsoft should have added this simple task within its operating systems, it begger belief they did not.
    If anyone has a simple solution to this problem then please by all means email me, I would appreciate any help.

    Thanks Paul.S

  107. Ernesto

    Thank you. This is a very handy utility.

  108. PaulS

    Well I got a solution finally and downloaded this small tool “DeskSave” which in my opinion does the job great for me on Vista Ultimate 64-bit, here is the link incase anyone else would appreciate it if they are having problems with any other similar software……

    Regards PaulS

  109. Gregory Morehead

    THANK YOU SO MUCH! I have wanted something like this for years but the solutions were always so hard to setup. Thank you so much!

  110. LeChat

    Just tried the icon restore… file copied and installed fine… no problem following directions… right click and “saved” icon layout… am NOT getting the “icon layout saved” message… Uninstalled/reinstalled… same issue… any suggestions? -LeChat

  111. Peter

    I have XP. I followed the instructions but the two items do not show up in the computer list. I am not a techie, so I don’t know if I have 32 or 64 bit.

  112. avoidz

    Try DeskSave –

    It’s an easier installation, more reliable, and you can save multiple layouts. Works with Windows 98, 2000, XP and Vista, 32 and 64 bit.

    I’m not spamming, I just used the registry method for years and found DeskSave a better solution.

  113. Eric Beversluis

    I’ve gotten to the point in the instructions where it says to click on layout.reg and it will be entered into the registry. But instead of the view shown above, I get prompted to tell Vista which program to use to run layout.reg. I have no idea which program to use. Should this be automatic?

  114. had12mny

    The reason Microsoft hasent thought of this yet is they realize that nobody uses the desktop anymore (sarcasm). No need, now that all the programs are sorted so perfectly in the start menu as well as the user folder…why would you need to go back and look at your desktop when everythign else is soooo perfectly positioned. (more sarcasm).

    Just instaleld windows 7 and realized that the quicklaunch bar is no longer there by default. I guess they decided no one uses that either.

    I am glad they are looking out for us and removing all these annoying user friendly features.

  115. avoidz

    I think the Quick Launch bar (which most PCs I see don’t have enabled) has evolved/devolved into Taskbar-like buttons which just become highlighted when you open the program that’s pinned there. Whether it proves to be as useful and intuitive as Quick Launch remains to be seen. I already dislike the new Start Menu design.

    I’m sure more people still like to use the Desktop area to pin program icons on and make folders.

  116. Judy Jones

    Can’t get the DLL and REG to associate. This has been a frustrating experience, as the “fix” is just as difficult to understand as the problem. :-(

  117. alert

    Thanks for this! I was expecting there to be a more complicated solution, rather than just a dll and registry fix. This is simple and effective for when it scrambles my icons

  118. Gui Ambros

    hey serge, thanks A LOT for your x64 version! It’s working perfectly here on Windows 7 build 7000.

    Was really pissed off by not being able to use the 32 bits version, but your patch saved me a lot of headaches.


  119. Alexandre

    I was wondering if the context menu could be limited to my Computer only, under Vista?

    If you Right click on any entries in the right column of the Start Menu, you will see the Save/Restore Desktop options…

  120. Brian

    After 43 years in the IT industry I tend to take VERBATUM what you describe. Clicking START there is NO computer entry in the list. After checking your example pictures I realized that you were using the CONTROL pannel. Even there there is NO computer it’s called SYSTEM.

    That now sits on my desktop. You may find that other people have the same problem but because they cannot find the COMPUTER they foget the idea but don’t let you know.

    Even after 43 years experience I am still happy to get help where necessary.

    Great utility, well done.

  121. Alexandre

    To Brian.
    Let me clarify. I am using Vista 32 bit. If you click “Start”, you will see a list of entries in the right column.
    If you right click on any entries above Control Panel, you will see in the Context Menu popup, “Save/Restore Desktop Icon Layout” Options. That includes the “Computer” entry. I did setup the Start Menu to have these entries as menu entry not link or … So it the Save/Restore options show up in the Context Menu most of the time like explorer. Could we limit that to the Desktop and the “Computer” entry (Start Menu), Context Menu?

  122. Brian

    Thanks for your comment Alexandre but my start button gives me One colunm consisting of SHUT DOWN, HELP AND SUPORT The next 4 have an arrow to goto the specific applications SEARCH, SETTINGS, DOCUMENTS, PROGRAMS then there is a line above which is WINDOWS UPDATES, PROGRAM UPDATES, GET OPEN OFFICE AND DEFAULT PROGRAMS

    None give the computer entry the nearest is SETTINGS which takes me to CONTROL PANEL (which I have in Clasic view). There is NO computer, but there is a SYSTEM. Right click that and I see the appropriate commands.

    My system is 32 bit Vista Ultimate, although the systemhas dual AMD64 processors. I use the 32 bit OS becasue most of my apps won’t run in 64 bit mode.

    My opinion of Vista is best kept to myself, except to say my old MSDOS system ran faster.

    Thanks again for your comment Alexandre

  123. Kalmi

    You could call it this way from a vbs:

    Const RECYCLE_BIN = &Ha&

    Set objShell = CreateObject(“Shell.Application”)
    Set objFolder = objShell.Namespace(RECYCLE_BIN)
    Set objFolderItem = objFolder.Self

    objFolderItem.InvokeVerb(“Restore Desktop Icon Layout”)

  124. Kalmi

    I only tested that on xp with layout.dll

  125. teston4-4-2009

    I just tried the instructions on vista home premium 32 bit sp1. It only worked the 1st time then subsequent times when i re-aranged icons and tried to restore or save it did nothing. Ideas?

  126. CharlesDLM

    Great tool, works perfectly for me on Vista 32. Thanks.

  127. ray

    lost icons and startup button on desktop??

  128. ray

    how do i get icons backon desktop lost start button also

  129. Shay

    The 64bit worked gteat! no more wasting time orginazing.

    Thanks from Israel!

  130. Francisco

    Haven’t made this work on Windows 7 RC…can’t recall if it worked on the previous Win7 builds though

  131. Mister Zigler

    Did not work for me on Vista Home Premium 32 bit.

    However, when I went back to confirm the proper location of layout.dll and examined the file’s properties sheet, I realized the file was “blocked”, so I clicked “Unblock”, and the tweak now seems to work as expected. When the file was blocked, there were no dialog box confirmations upon Save or Restore, which was an initial clue.

  132. Benjamin Dudley

    I got it working fine with Windows 7 32-bit RC. Nothing different required.

    This is EXACTLY what I was looking for! THANK YOU!

  133. Corey

    Hi Guys,

    I’ve just installed this on my 32 bit Vista machine, my issue was every time I logged off one profile and went to another all the icons would get rearranged. It still does this but now I can restore them quickly and not manually by hand.
    I still can’t get the ‘save desktop’ option to right-click on the menu of the desktop itself. The registry in my PC doesn’t have the last “IconLayout” as given in the instructions to install it there? When I get to the end of this path:


    my choices are the following, from MenuHandlers I have:

    ACE, DreamScene, New, and XXX Groove GFS Context Handler XXX

    Any suggestions on how to get this to right click on my desktop instead of just “my computer” or the “recycling bin” would be greatly appreciated.


  134. Corey

    PS Have Vista Ultimate if that makes any difference.

  135. JeffO

    Corey, that looks good for 32-bit LAYOUT.DLL – you should get the same restore options on your desktop that you get when right-clicking on the system icons.
    No reboot necessary.
    Should work globally – for any user.

    – Maybe something is missing? LAYOUT.DLL must be in C:\WINDOWS\System32\
    – LAYOUT.DLL must be registered.

    The following regedits should register LAYOUT.DLL, and stick the right-click context-menu on both the system icons and the Desktop…

    @=”Desktop Icon Layout”



    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Shell Extensions\Approved]
    “{19F500E0-9964-11cf-B63D-08002B317C03}”=”Desktop Icon Layout”



    If this doesn’t work, then it’s a mystery.

  136. Michael Segall


    Had used the tweak on Vista, and installed it just now on Windows 7 Release Candidate, 32bit. Works great. But be careful about using automatic registry cleaners afterwards. Layout might not like it.

    Best, Mike in Paris, France

  137. Chris

    Thanks for posting this information. It works almost perfectly for me. Much appreciated.

  138. pete


    I hope you come back some day and read this message.

    You, sir, after 43 years “in the IT industry” are jaded and bitter. Go away.

  139. Steven

    Does anyone still have the 64bit installer as the link for that no longer works

  140. margaret wyatt

    why can i get my icons to stay on my background icon windows to stay put

  141. Warren

    This fix did not work for me. I run Windows Vista 64-bit Home Premium and when I clicked “Restore Icon Position”, it completely rearranged my desktop! WTH???

  142. Todd Westin

    For me, the issue is not the icons on my desktop, but rather the icons inside a folder ON the desktop. It’s full of powerpoint and .mp3 files from class. Can I make this software work for those files?

    As you can imagine, the folder fills up pretty quickly daily. Vista likes to mess up my arrangement, which is infuriating. Solutions much appreciated!

  143. Greg

    The link to the zip file seems to be broken.

  144. daaddy

    rearranged my icons wrong and later not at all (64-bit)

  145. chris

    Not working so well in Windows 7 FYI. The context menu options appear, but when you choose “Save Desktop Icon Layout” it doesn’t always show the confirmation box. I might try out FSL IconRestorer instead for Win7 users.

  146. goombapatrol

    i’m working on vista 32bit.
    it’s not rearranging my icons correctly.
    for the most part it’s fine, but there’s a lot that are moved in the wrong spot.

    strangely enough, a program i had previously tried does the same thing (iconrestorer).

    any ideas?

  147. Perplexer

    Doesn’t work on Windows 7 64-bit. Does’t show any confirmation when saving position and when you try to restore position, it randomizes some icons. Definitely not working correctly on Windows 7 64-bit.

  148. Perplexer

    Ok I have managed to debug the behaviour.
    I placed two icons on the desktop, one is “VirtualDub” and the other is “VirtualDub MPEG2”. If I place them in the same horizontal line and save position, then when I select restore position, one of these icons will go BELOW the other one and disrupt the other icons around them.

    I solved the problem by renaming one icon to “Virtual Dub” (I added the space in the icon name).

    Two different tools I tried have tripped on this same instance so I’m guessing it has something to do with how Windows manages icons.

  149. Robert Crane

    Thanks !! Great program, I love it. I, like others have my desktop changed when ever I install something new and then things seem to go haywire. Now with a click of the right mouse I am where I want to be.

    Thanks again !

  150. Harald Redelberger

    Hi Geek,

    I use your utility pretty often. Always when Vista means that it is necessary to rearrange the icons I restore it as I wish (not Vista).

    It would be nice to do this automatically. So always when Vista starts it should restore the icons.

    Can you help me on that.


    Harald Redelberger

  151. Paul


    Nice utility and only starting to look at it but so far so good. I am looking at it with the intention of migrating mulitple Users to new PC and while I can copy their desktop ‘files’ from their old PC to the new PC they remain jumbled up and it would be ideal if I could use this to set their new desktop the same as their old one.

    I have tried coping in the layout.dll file onto the new machine in c:\windows\system32 but it comes back to me saying that there is nothing to restore – would anyone know if this is possible using this great utility or if they have done similar?

    Many Thanks,

  152. mridey

    So many years of rearranging icons the way I want them, and finally I get smart and find this wonderful fix! I’ve got Vista, XP and Windows 7 (64 bit) machines, and can’t wait for the Win7-64 fix to appear.

    What I don’t get is why, if this is such an easy fix, Microsoft hasn’t built it in by now. Yeah, I know. Microsoft.

    Thank you!

  153. James

    Brilliant! Thanks so much. :]

  154. Andy

    Thanks a lot! This just does what it’s supposed to do.
    I was actually trying to find a way to anchor icons to specific positions but this is just as good. If only vista had a simple widget to display folder contents on desktops like some nix distros.
    Thanks again!

  155. VLan

    I’m also hoping for a fix for Win7 64bit. Just upgrade to it and doesn’t work correctly, same prob as previous posts for Win7 64. Anybody find a solution?

  156. Luke

    Any plans to make this work with Windows 7?

    Ideally though Microsoft should fix this bug that’s been around since NT, very annoying when you use a data projector with laptop, or have multi-users who change resolution due to poor eye-sight.

  157. Bob

    Does not work on Windows 7 32 bit.

    Any ideas?

  158. ToF

    Just wanted to leave a thanks for the poster and to the creator of the fix. Fully functional on Windows 7 64bit. No idea what you people who are reporting it doesn’t work on 7 are doing? O_o

  159. m80116

    It works great on my Vista 64bit. No flimflam right on the matter. Thank you so much !

  160. tester

    windows 7:
    layout.dll in system 32 – change security settings to allow full control to current user
    regedit with jeffos post 10-may-2009 entries

    have it working with any *folder* on the desktop, including my computer, but not the desktop background though

    anyhow, better than original win

    thanks to all contributors

  161. Byron Nelson

    Just installed on a Windows 7 Ultimate (64 bit) machine and is appearing to function well.

  162. Byron Nelson

    … however, after significantly disrupting their pattern, they did not all come back to their original positions. I made sure that “align to grid” was turned off and they seem to all line back up as saved.

  163. endeavor

    Cory said:

    ..and my answer is to Cory (please let him know, thank you)
    I had same thing that I could not get it to show up on a right click on my Desktop either, but I had it everywhere else I did not want it.

    For the registry I mostly use the HKLM branch to enter instead of HKCU since HKCR is just a subset of HKLM anyway, and since whatever is entered into HKLM will always apply itself to HKCU ‘properly’ but is not always the case doing it the other way around. In this case I could see the HKCR …Folder\shellex\… would not transfer.

    Corey, if you want the listings to be available on your right click anywhere in your open Desktop area then enter this in:



    Having it on available on a right click in the open on the Desktop is perfect! …but for me imho, I never wanted it also on the Recycle Bin and Especially on All the folders on the Desktop like it’s set to do by default, and so the good news if you don’t is that you can remove them both by removing the entries you put in originally – you can remove the registry keys manually, or automatically with this –





    Thank you very much Serge for this neat little fix you did; thank you to The Geek hosting…. Thanks all around actually.

  164. endeavor

    The Geek, please would you fix that above key, it got seperated somehow, of course it should start like this:
    thx, then you can delete this post if you want, thx

  165. endeavor

    If anyone wants to install the application but only have the open area of the Desktop having a right click – and no where else, then for simplicity sake just use this reg instead of the one supplied.


    ; registers the Layout.dll
    @=”Desktop Icon Layout”


    ; adds to the open area of Desktop a right-click entry
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Shell Extensions\Approved]
    “{19F500E0-9964-11cf-B63D-08002B317C03}”=”Desktop Icon Layout”


  166. Capt. Spastic

    Yet another desktop restore icon that claims to work in Windows 7 64 bit, but doesn’t.

    I’ve not find one yet that works.

  167. endeavor

    My notes above were for WXP 32bit (x86)
    The program does work okay, and the reg I posted above is very effective for what I said it did.

    The only issue with the program itself is that upon a restore of the desktop icons (as other alluded to) is about 80% accurate. The icons do go back very close to their original position. In my case 80% are correct and the other 20% switch places with the above icon, similar to what happens in a screen resolution change – well that’s not that hard to put back I guess as compared to a scramble with nothing to help out.

    I have to give thanks to Serge for making this program, for free, and sharing it – thank you very much.

    Myself at times possibly having over 100 icons on my Desktop coinciding with work flow – it’s imperative the times (although few) that the desktop icons get scrambled, it’s absolutely imperative that the icon layout gets restored Accurately since the order replicates my work flow. My point is that I need 100% accuracy at all times, and I’ve found the program to do that with, which again others previously have pointed it out earlier. It’s similar to this one, but much more refined and accurate! I’ve set the Options screen to put a right-click to the Desktop, and set it to not run with windows and only when I tell it to. It works absolutely Wonderful is all I can say. Works with 32/64 bit. Here’s the link to its latest version

  168. Redsandro


    “Yet another desktop restore icon that claims to work in Windows 7 64 bit, but doesn’t.
    I’ve not find one yet that works.”
    – Capt. Spastic

    DeskSave mentioned by Endeavor seems like overkill to me though, and dedicating a domain to it makes me wonder if there’s a commercial scheme. Anyone tried it?

  169. endeavor

    I have no idea what you mean by overkill, and since you didn’t try it neither do you :)
    As I alluded to it has almost a 0 footprint of installation for files and registry. Has complete adjustable options which like I did unchecked everything and mine does not start with windows, and all I do is right click in the open area of the Desktop and tell it to save an icon layout, or same to Restore it. It has been completely accurate to restore icon positions for me. You really couldn’t ask for anything better, and for free. I thought the same thing about the nice website and why don’t ask for money or donations even… I dunno, probably like other great software’s like CCleaner, etc, I could go on and name many, and just like Serge did here with his program, thank you. You see some software developers do it for the love of coding, developing, or the enjoyment of helping out, or maybe even some do it to get business attention for their paid products. Anyway, I’m not affiliated with anyone and just is a regular joe like you. I’m only writing here to help out, just like Serge did sharing his programs, thank you again. bye

  170. kimek

    It does’t work in Windows 7 Enterprise x86. Any ideas??
    Thx in advance

  171. LoWang

    I was trying to use it but it turned out that this silly program loses its memory way too often so your icons are in mess and don’t restore! :(

  172. endeavor

    When it comes to DeskSave my only testing was with WXP so far, and use just a few options and I get 99% reslults if I stick to those few options. My main use for it is within WXP I guess.

    Vista I never has a problem with the icons so I never tested it.

    Windows 7, well as far as the whole Desktop Icon arrangement setup is totally convoluted right from the start. It’s right-click ‘View’ or right-click ‘Sort By’ is in my humble opinion broken to begin with. It does not work like WXP or Vista does and it’s so annoying! … just like how the very lame Search works in Win7 is ridiculously convoluted.

    It’s just fine in WXP & Vista and why the heck MS changed it is beyond me. As far as DeskSave goes working with Windows 7, well I just installed it and it does work within the limitations of Windows 7 limitations, and don’t ask me to explain that. If you dare sort by Auto Arrange and dare to use ‘Sort By’ it will mess all your icons up – and don’t expect DeskSave to fix it I haven’t found that to work consistently that I can tell, unlike Vista or WXP… Win7 settings are proactive with constantly updating/sorting itself live, and even saving whatever item to the Desktop it will auto sort it live however you have it set, where XP/Vista would just throw the item next in line – and that’s the way it should be imho.. Someone else can figure out what to do with Windows 7 Desktop stock/default icon procedures – it sucks.

    Obviously in any case even in WXP, if since the last time you made a layout and you had put a number of new items on the Desktop without a new layout save, well DeskSave can’t put it right you see there are limitations of DeskSave with extenuating circumstances in a few areas. I mainly us

    Someone else can take up the cause, bye

  173. goombapatrol

    still having the same issue.

    i tried this, iconrestorer, and another program.
    all of them end up returning a few of them, but scrambling the rest.

    is there a limit to how many it can remember? >_<

  174. sasa

    Hi guys!
    just to let you know that I am using Vista home premium 64
    and I installed file from
    and it works fine (although there is no confirmation message after saving layout).
    So what to say: you are guys BRILLIANT, FANTASTIC, INCREDIBLE…. !!!!
    of course (i thing it is already known, but maybe it is worth to stress)
    this desktop layout is only drop in the see, pardon ocean.. so
    You guys.. I have no words to express my thankfulness for for your contribution to improve the worsen. Thanks!

  175. pbahnson

    Can this functionality be mimicked in folders other than the desktop? It would be useful to fix the layout of other, commonly used folders in the same way. Vista explorer allows the user to place icons in a fixed layout; however, if you switch from the fixed layout to another options (such as sorting by name) there is no option to restore the prior fixed layout. This information must be stored somewhere, so it seems in should be possible to save and restore this information. The hidden file “desktop.ini” doesn’t seem to code for it. I have searched the web but either don’t know how to ask the question, or the information is not readily available. Can anyone suggest where the fixed icon arrangement information is stored?

  176. Garry Freemyer

    It does not work on Windows 7 Premium 32 bit. What did I do you ask? I followed the instructions. Real geeks can’t get it wrong and I totally empathize with the fellow who said yet another program that claims to work for Windows 7 but does not – least not with my machine.

  177. Bernd

    Didn’t work that well for me (Vista 32 bit). Not all the icons were restored in the right places.
    I tried DesktopOK then, and that worked much better. (

  178. Braden

    I have encountered a very annoying and odd error…the save and restore function sort of works and sort of doesn’t…it remembers the location of most of my icons but seems to randomly throw others around wherever it wants, thus forcing other icons out of their positions…THIS IS REALLY PISSING ME OFF! It seems like it assocaited a few icons with certain positions and now they are permanently linked there, no matter what. Arrrgh!!!

  179. Mopquill

    This used to work for me on Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit, but, it doesn’t anymore. I’ve tried uninstalling and reinstalling, restarting, logging out and back in countless times in every combination possible, and it doesn’t seem to work.

    One caveat: If I end the explorer process and start it back up, after the desktop is loaded but while explorer.exe is still loading, I can right-click an empty area of the desktop, get the save option in the context menu, and I’ll get the pop-up alert saying it was done. If I wait another 10 seconds, it’s back to the same nonsense.

    I’d really like to avoid using a program for this, small footprint or not. So, if anyone knows anything, feel free to respond. Thanks in advance. =]

  180. Mopquill

    Oddly, DeskSave works with Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit. I assumed it wouldn’t, since it just seemed like blatant advertising, but, it works. However, it seems to have some counter-intuitive settings, like “Undo after Restore”, which as far as I can tell, effectively breaks the point of restoring, as nothing happens.

    So, here is what I did:

    First, I extracted the zip to my Utilities folder. Then, I ran the EXE. Nothing tells you it’s still running, really, and it doesn’t work “out-of-the-box”. You should see an unattractive little icon in your system tray’s hidden icons area (click the arrow). Right-click it, and then click Options.

    Here are my settings:

    Auto restore after
    [ ] Start
    [ ] Resume from standby
    [X] Resolution change

    Confirmation before
    [ ] Restoring
    [ ] Restoring from file
    [ ] Saving

    Vista: Icon size after restoration
    Do not change


    [X] Start with windows
    [ ] Undo after restore (seriously, what the hell? Maybe it adds an undo option, I don’t know. But it seemed to break it for me)
    [X] Notification after saving
    [ ] Transparent confirmations
    [X] Save at logoff
    [X] No splash screen (I want this as unobtrusive as possible, and that doesn’t include splashes letting me know about my windows flaws at start)

    I also installed the shell extension, which gives you a less than satisfactory “DeskSave” menu in the right-click menu on your desktop, which needs to be expanded in order to save.

    It’s worth mentioning that I am this PC’s administrator, I have full permissions on all files and registry items, and I have UAC turned off. So, users without such settings may possibly run into problems, I don’t know for sure.

    Desksave is currently running at idle with 0 CPU usage and 5,464K memory usage.

    I’m not 100% happy with this, but, at least I can restore stuff again. I’m going to tinker around in the registry and see if I can’t make my own save and restore buttons that point to where they should in DeskSave, and then just use the “Uninstall shell extension” button.

    Good luck everyone, and thanks for posting this article. I wish it still worked on 7 for me. It does work on XP Pro 32-bit, as well as fresh installs of Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit though, and that is worth mentioning.

  181. tiuk

    Thanks all, I have several uses who often get annoyed when their icon positions are changed (remote desktop is bad for this if they have a higher resolution than the one being used to connect).

    They’ll be happy to see this!

  182. tiuk


    Proofreading FTL ;)

  183. me

    I read some older comments, and I just had to reply to them (or lord, the way the internet works).

    I’m a long-time Quicklaunch lover, but the new “pinning” concept works much better. Just put your quicklaunchables to the left and they don’t take up extra space when you run them. It’s really smart IMO.
    And the new start menu is amazingly perfect. Click an arrow and you get frequent or recent files associated with the program.

    Anyway, as another Win7-compatible alternative to this and DeskSave, you could try Fences by Stardock. It provides saving multiple layouts which is just an extra feature of what the program really is–it lets you make boxes on your desktop in which you can confine icons. It’s a cool app I used on Vista and definitely worth a try if you need something for win7. It’s freeware, but there’s a paid version also that can do automatic scheduled backups and some other stuff.

  184. Bhabani

    hey Guys, the “dll” did the job for me. Small & non-taxing program to get what I wanted for a long time. Cool….

  185. jpro

    Installed but restore and pop ups did not work in Windows 7 64-bit. Then read a previous comment to log out and then log back in, the restore now works :-) but pop ups still absent.

  186. Jules

    For some reason on the odd day when i turn my computer on the icons and the start menu never appear unless i rebot it 3 or 4 times. Its a bugger so please can you help ?

  187. Matt

    Does anyone have the 64-Bit install file? (Dips64-setup). The host site isn’t registered anymore…

  188. Luis

    Verified what Matt said. I’d run a search to see if I can find the software using google, but I don’t know the file name and I’m not sure who to trust.

    I’m running Windows 7 x64.

  189. Jon Austenaa

    The link provided by Serge is not functional any more. it says: expired on 07/03/2010 and is pending renewal or deletion.

    Can someone contact Serge? I prefer a small program like this.

  190. Alan

    ^^^ It works fine. clearly they were renewing their domain.

  191. Matt

    Works on my Windows 7 Ultimate 32 bit…

  192. niebling

    I used serge’s utility for 64-bit windows 7 and it installs and works fine.

  193. SweatHog

    I like Serge’s icon utility. But does anybody know where in the registry the Windows icon positions are saved? That way, on a new install I can just execute that key and have the desktop up and running. Thanks.

  194. Hami

    I just tired it out. Unfortunately it does not work. I have the menus but I do not get the pop-up windows that icons are saved or restored.
    Nothing happens when I choose the menu items from the context menu.
    I am using Windows 7, home edition

    Any ideas?


  195. Angew

    I’m using dips64 on Windows Vista Business 64-bit and wanted to share the following observation:
    Sometimes, when I did the Shift+RightClick on the desktop, the “Restore Icon Positions” menu item appeared, but did not work (i.e. nothing happened when I clicked it). Upon reading these comments, I learned Vista also has a Ctrl+Shift+RightClick menu, so I tried that, and lo! it worked perfectly.

    So, if you don’t get the behaviour you want in the Shift+RightClick menu, try also the Ctrl+Shift+RightClick. Just a minor hint from a grateful user of this nice little utility.

  196. steve

    Works on Windows 7 Pro. Lifesaver. Thanks.

  197. ChrisRut

    Funny – I’ve been in this business 40 years – but for whatever reason “auto-shuffled icons” was something I just cussed at – until today it never even occurred to me to look for a fix. Absurd!

    And the fix is soooo simple. Thanks Geek and all who contributed!

    And yes, why the hell hasn’t MS added this on their own? WTF!?

    Installed on Windows 7 Ultimate and Professional, 32 and 64 bit versions.

  198. Kevin

    If you create a batch file and enter the text below it will copy the DLL file and install the registry key. The batch file needs to be in the same directory as the DLL and Registry key files.

  199. Kevin

    I guess it would help if I put the contents of the batch file.

    If you create a batch file and enter the text below it will copy the DLL file and install the registry key. The batch file needs to be in the same directory as the DLL and Registry key files.

    Copy LAYOUT.DLL C:\Windows\System32
    regedit /s LAYOUT.REG

  200. ofir

    it was very helpful to me.

  201. Ballard Ricci

    OK, I’m new to Win7 and 64 bit shit, so I installed the 32 bit version first and then the correct 64 bit version. It seems to work OK ( I think ) but I have notePad and notePad++ on my desktop, and they go weird when I restore. ++ goes to notePads position and NotePad goes to somePlace I don’t like? any suggestions?


  202. krejzibijach

    thank you, nice one…

  203. SEM

    Tried the 64 bit version on Windows 7, and so far works a treat.

    Thanks for such a simple (but incredibly useful) util!

  204. Marcus

    Well, I’m sort of computer illiterate, and the talk of changing Hkeys and registry entries had me skittish, so I tried that DesktopOK for 64 bit Vista freeware program that somebody mentioned. Completely easy and works. I didn’t have to do anything. Just downloaded it and used it. Completely simple user interface too, fwiw.

    Just another option, I guess.

  205. Bill N

    This has saved me a s**t-load of frustration. Thanks so much!!!

  206. NishaKitty

    Just letting everyone know the DIPS version is working fine for me on Windows 7 64bit, you do have to relog your account if you want it to work after you install it though.

  207. rcm999

    Tried the 64 bit version due to the rave reviews. Absolutely does NOT work.

  208. Lateralus

    Works great on Vista 64bit, but I would like to take out the “hold shift” + right click and just have it right click on desktop. Is this possible?

  209. Tog

    How do you uninstall the version. it is not working for me. it restores some of the icons to random places. i am using windows 7 home premium.

  210. Behzad


    I am not sure if this is still active or not but I will try it. My problem (with Windows XP and now Windows 7) is that every other time, that I am not sure when or how), not only the layout of my icons are changed, but also some of my custom short cuts are lost! And it always happens to those shortcuts only. Lots of times I have recreated them but still I have the same issue and this driving me crazy.

    At some point I used DesktopOK that used to work at 1st. It saved my settings and then I could restore them again, but no more now. Any idea?

  211. Tbird

    Works great on Win 7 Ultimate x64!

    Nice work.


  212. maxime

    wow thanks alot! im using win7 home prem 32-bit and this works perfectly!! i was tired of system point restore and did this, very easly! you’re the man!

  213. toeringsandthong

    becareful,i noticed this crash some of my games,because i use the shift and right click alot in FPS ! crashed my cod black ops and bfbc2 several times !

  214. JD

    Cheers M8, ya a diamond, :-)

  215. Toody

    It is possible to save the icons order and restore them after i reinstall windows?
    And 1 more thing i want to save the order from quick launch as well but i need them to work after i reinstall windows.

  216. johnm

    win7 x64- Working excellant! Thank you all so much!, johnm

  217. SteveC

    It seems that on my PC, you have to watch for the following:

    1. DO NOT try to unzip into System32; it won’t work.
    2. Only copy Layout.dll into System32.
    3. Open RegEdit.exe
    4. Then Import Layout.Reg.

    After that the product works.

  218. Jim

    Works perfect Windows 7 32-bit!

  219. CasaDelGato

    SteveC – any chance of specifying exactly WHICH product you are talking about?
    (and where to get it.)

  220. pcp

    great little tweak!


  221. SteveC


    At the time of my writing, I was talking about whatever download came down off this site but I was using Vista HP. Since then I have upgraded to Win7 Ultimate and this product has failed me.


  222. Richard

    I’m using the 32 bit version on my Windows Vista laptop with an external monitor. It worked great the first time. Then I changed the icon layout a few times and saved it each time. Now, it is necessary to restore several times to get to the last saved layout. It’s like it has kept each layout and now cycles thru them to get to the most recent layout. Any suggestions?


  223. Chuck

    I have windows 7 and all of my desktop icons have disappeared. Ive tried everything I can find online to fix the prob but nothing has worked and alot of this stuff is over my head. Is anyone willing to walk me thru this ?

  224. TerraHertz

    Hi all,
    There seem to be so many ‘desktop restorers’, but so far I’ve never found one that does what I want.

    I don’t put much on the desktop, it would get too cluttered. Instead I have various folders on the desktop, and in those lots of icons sorted by ‘kind’. Naturally, Windows (XP in my case) now and then stuffs up the placement of icons in ALL those folders. Incredibly annoying, both for the nuisance and the horror of being stuck with an OS that is so broken.

    What I want is an icon location save/restore util, that can be pointed at ANY folder (no special cases), and which uses a plain text file IN EACH FOLDER to record the saved folder icon layout information for that folder.
    It would use a default name (eg icon_layout.txt) for saves and restores, but allow ‘save as’ and ‘open’ of differently named files.

    Does anyone know of a tool that works like this?

    IMO using the registry for saving folder-specific information is a bad idea. Way to disassociate critical information that should be kept where it’s used, thus allowing visible and manual management of backups, different versions, etc.

    Btw, all those wondering why MS hasn’t implemented a sensible icon arrangement save/restore scheme (or not losing it in the first place) are looking at this with a flawed fundamental assumption. You think MS is trying to improve Windows.
    But actually, MS is deliberately working to make Windows more and more convoluted and crippled. Hiding and obfuscating the underlying file system, incrementally killing the UI via creeping conceptual fragmentation, ever-growing DRM restrictions, corruption of text interchange formats, etc, are all about undermining the social power of usable computing machines in the hands of ordinary people. It’s a component of something called Agenda 21. Look it up.

    Yesterday I had to get some files across to a friend’s laptop running Windows 7. First time I’d had to touch Win7. Ha ha ha! What a tangled piece of garbage!

  225. djdean

    I looked through several methods of get the icons to stay put in Windows 7, I am using Home Premium. This is by far the easiest. Om the desktop right click to bring up the personalization and desktop settings.

    Arrange your icons; I used View- Align Icons to Grid. Then go to Sort By and choose Item Type. I now have no more issues. Hope this helped.

    Good Luck

  226. TerraHertz

    Ha ha ha! Seriously djdean, your idea to overcome the problem of Windows scrambling icon layouts is to use align to grid and sort by type?

    No, that doesn’t help at all. You fail to understand the problem.

    And I’m back here, because Windows just decided to randomize the layout of about 100 icons in a folder, AGAIN. Four days since the last time. Search for a solution failed last time, time for another attempt.

    Oh and btw, when I said ‘sorted by kind’, I didn’t mean filetype. I meant the kind of things I use them for. So one ‘kind’ may include any number of types of files or utilities. There’s no way any automated sort could duplicate this.

  227. 0xG

    Great Utility, thanks! It’s the only thing that keeps me from going back to XP :-)
    I run Win 7 in a VM, and the icons are scrambled on EVERY reboot!
    I have tried all the suggestions & hacks, but yours is the only one that works…

    As a design suggestions, can I add a couple of ideas?
    Well, here goes anyways :-)

    1) Get rid of the dialog box – it’s an unnecessary extra step after every restore
    2) It seems to miss the desktop.ini file that is in “user”s desktop (strangely, the “public” one is remembered) – (some of us geeks like to show hidden & super-hidden files)

  228. lkarjala

    I use Windows 7 64-bit OS. I downloaded the dips62-setup.exe file to install the save and restore desktop icons program. I get the Save Desktop and Restore Desktop menu items when I Shift-R Click on the desktop; however, they do not operate correctly. Do I need to manually install the LAYOUT.DLL and LAYOUT.REG files to Windows/system32? I don’t find the files in the folder, but I thought the installer did that. I’m concerned that the two files are for a 32-bit system. I will appreciate any assistance you can provide.

  229. Frustrated

    I came here suffering this problem with W7 HP x64, then I right-clicked on the desktop, selected Personalize and Change desktop icons, and in that Desktop Icon Settings dialog I un-checked “Allow themes to change destop icons”. On reboot all my icons are where I placed them.

    I just did this and so can’t say this fixed the problem for good but there’s an idea for some of you.

  230. Justin

    I personaly like to use Fences.exe from Stardock, a FREE little utility that gives you desktop windows like we used to have in Windows 3.11 (for those that remember it).
    You can create and backup multiple layouts and it’s slick looking ;)

  231. R456

    i use Desktop Restore from midiox com great…32 and 64bit version

  232. Solved

    try this!!!!! right click on the desktop “sort (icons) by name”…now you sort the icons manually by hand as you like…then you log out and on or restart…good luck!! (Vista64Home)

  233. Solved

    my text above belongs to the problem “vista doesn`t save the icons position”

  234. Eddyq

    This does not work on Windows 7 Enterprise, version 6.1 (Build 7601: Service Pack 1)

  235. Jay


    I used it on Vista 64 Bit and worked like a charm…loved it…Now I have moved to Windows 7 32 Bit with Win7 Professional.

    The app Installs but does not show any messages when we right click and save/restore…it actually does not work…i tried moving the icons and restoring…

    Please release the update for Win 7 32 Bit…

  236. Steve

    I have an unusual problem, and I can’t seem to find an answer for it online. I have my desktop icons set up as “Align to Grid”, and for the most part all the icons stay still. However, any Excel files that I have stored on my desktop will move back to the left side once I edit it and click save. I don’t know why, but only the Excel files do this. Word, notepad, and any file types stay in the same place.

    I’ve tried the solution offered here, but it still doesn’t work for my Excel files.

    My system: Windows Vista x64 Home

    Any help would be appreciated.

  237. Jay

    Do we have somethign similar for Win 7 32/64 bit…

  238. Stu

    Desktop Restore is the only program I’ve found that does the job. Works on all Windows versions, including Windows 7.



  239. chai

    One of my ancient PC games requires me to reduce graphics quality before it can be played. And it’s always a real pain having to put desktop icons back to the way they were after original resolutions are restored.

    I tried the (mentioned early in this thread). But it seemd like either nothing was installed or it simply did not work on my notebook. So I thought I gave (see above) a chance..and it works great so far. I have Vista Home Premium X64, SP2.

  240. Thoss Spitnale

    Will this work on a Windows 7 Enterprise, 32-bit machine?

  241. doug

    Why on earth did you write this requiring the shift key first. Each time MS rearranges my desktop in the future (3/yr), I’ll have to search for your website to try to find the reminder to press the shift key, assuming I can remember your website! I love the app, but, please, drop the shift key requirement.

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