HideDesktopIcons: hide and unhide desktop icons with a single click


If you’re looking for a simple, easy way to switch your desktop icons display on and off – literally at the press of a button – then check out this tiny little free app.

HideDesktopIcons emulates the “display desktop icon” command in the Windows context menu, packaged in a simple icon that can be placed anywhere (or alternately launched via a keyboard shortcut). A single click will hide the desktop icons and/or display them again; there is no user interface or any dialogs of any sort.

We do quite a bit of videoconferencing at work as well as screen sharing for presentations, and the first thing that I like to do in these situations is switch off my desktop icons (a clean desktop looks so much more professional and is so much nicer to look at).

One of the things I liked about the desktop icon organization tool Fences, which I used to have on my machine, was a secondary function whereby double clicking on any blank part of the screen would cause the desktop icons to be hidden or to re-appear. I no longer use that software but I miss the instant icon-hiding function. I therefore set out to find an app that will provide a comparable functionality, which lead me to HideDesktopIcons.

What I like about this software

  1. It is just a single, simple button: unzip and use.
  2. It can be placed anywhere: such as the Quick Launch menu in XP or on the taskbar in Windows 7. It can also be placed in your favorite launcher or pinned on the Start Menu, etc.
  3. Can be launched via keyboard shortcut: right click properties then shortcut and enter a key combination in the “shortcut” field. You might need to place it in your start menu or your desktop for the shortcut to work.
  4. It just works beautifully

Compatibility: WinAll. If you get an error when you run, make sure you have the Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Redistributable Package (x86) installed.

This software was found on the How-To Geek blog (scroll down for download links), and is an approx 82K download.

  • Brockman

    [1] Thanks for finding this. Works well.
    [2] Your RSS feed seems to be broken. Please check.

  • Toni

    That’s one cool, simple app. I am going to try it.

    I also have trouble with the RSS feed from your site. It won’t load, since a day or two I think. I use Firefox and my RSS feeds are on the Firefox bookmark toolbar (or whatever it is called in English).

  • Samer

    Guys. I know my RSS feed is broken, but unsure how to fix. Hopefully I will manage to get it back up in a day or two.

    I’ve found a brand new theme that I have decided to move to. Hopefully doing so will fix the problem (if I don’t find a solution earlier).

  • nou

    I know of a similar program… called Stardock Fences. The difference is that you double click on the desktop to hide the icons. You should check it out too!

  • Toni

    Samer, no need to hurry anything with the rss, I visit your site almost daily, so I will not miss anything. Look forward to the new theme.

  • Jojo

    Didn’t work for me. No error messages, nothing happens. Running WinXp SP3.

    But I searched the forum at the download site and see another simpler solution that doesn’t even require a program!

    Just right-click on the desktop. Under “Arrange Icons By”, there is a setting called “Show Desktop Icons” that you can toggle on/off.

    The only problem I encounter with this approach is that it takes about 15 seconds to hide/show the desktop icons. But then, I have about 100 icons on my desktop. 🙂

  • LJBisbee

    This didn’t seem to work for me, either. I’m using Win7x64.

  • Phil

    No one has ever been in the position to quickly hide several sensitive folders / items in your desktop from prying eyes? But since that person is not going to use your computer and you work with them very often it´s not convenient to pull them in an encrypted volume.

    Fences is able to hide certain items in the desktop with a double click. If you could do the same but with a pass to unlock it and a user defined hotkey for hiding / showing it would be perfect.

  • Alex

    Where is the link to download?

    Organize better your home page, not turns complicated the life of yours friends.


  • kaisa44

    OK, tout ca c’est bien…
    mais il est où le lien de téléchargement ??

  • d

    i cant get this to work
    i have windows 7 home 64 bit

  • Sakil Shahriar

    worked like charm