[Full Guide] How to Hide Desktop Icons: Windows 11

[Full Guide] How to Hide Desktop Icons: Windows 11

/ James Masterson

Are you longing for a minimalistic, clutter-free desktop on your computer? Fancy a sleek view devoid of countless icons and shortcuts? If your answer is yes, then you’re at the right place. In the latest iteration of the Windows operating system, Windows 11, there are many ways to streamline your desktop look by hiding unnecessary icons.

By doing so, you achieve a cleaner look and enhance your system’s performance. In this comprehensive guide, we unpack the process step by step, providing you with easy-to-follow methods to hide desktop icons, be it app icons, shortcut icons, or system icons. So, let’s dive right in and add some zen to your digital workspace!

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Hide Desktop Icons in Windows 11 With Desktop Context Menu

Are you trying to minimize the content available on the desktop? Indeed, everyone needs to cut back on the general content displayed on the desktop. It should be done to limit space consumption and allows for the efficient functioning of programs without getting stuck.

In this regard, hiding desktop icons, app icons, shortcut icons, magnifying glass icons, gear icons, etc., from the start menu or other desktop options in the Windows 11 operating system can deal with space-linked errors. The easiest approach is deleting or hiding icons from the desktop context menu. Here are the steps to follow to hide the targeted desktop icon.

Step 1: Navigate to the targeted app icon to be hidden—Right-click in the space on the desktop.

view and show desktop icons option

Step 2: Move to the view option from the context menu, then select the show desktop icons option. Uncheck the box for the option. It will hide the icons from a desktop, but one can access them via file explorer.

view and show desktop icons option from context menu

Hide Desktop Icons Windows 11 From Local Group Policy Editor

Suppose you want to hide specific desktop icons for certain applications, programs, or users’ files/folder icons in Windows 11 (a popular operating system). In that case, it can be done via the group policy editor, which can help hide the system icons and provide you with a clean desktop.

Step 1: Launch the group policy editor via run utility. Click Windows key+ R, and in the run command box, type gpedit.msc. Click Ok to continue.

gpedit msc

Step 2: In the group policy editor window, select the user configuration option in the left pane. Click the option to expand.

user configuration in policy editor

Step 3: Select the administrative templates option from the list of options to expand. Now click the desktop.

Step 4: In the desktop option window, move to the right pane, click the Hide option, and disable all items. Double-click it to open the new popup window.

hide and disable all items

Step 5: In the popup, select enabled to hide the icons from the desktop. Click ok to save changes.

click enabled and ok button

Hide Desktop Icons Windows 11 via Registry Editor

The Windows registry editor utility can be used to hide the system icons from the desktop in Windows 11. Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Launch the registry editor from run utility. Click Windows key+ R, and in the run command box, type regedit. Click ok to continue.


Step 2: In the registry editor window, type the following key address in the address bar and click enter to navigate to the key option.

HKEY CURRENT USER > Software > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Policies > Explorer

windows explorer regedit

Step 3: In the key option, right-click the blank space to select new>Dword (32-bit) from the context menu.

explorer new dword

Step 4: Name the new key as NoDesktop.

Step 5: Double-click the NoDesktop key and set the value as 1. Click apply, followed by clicking ok to save changes.

nodesktop key value data

Hide Desktop Icons in Windows 11 by Remove Desktop Icons

If hiding desktop icons in Windows 11 is no longer viable, removing them from the desktop via the Windows settings app can serve the purpose. Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Launch Windows settings from the Windows key+ I shortcut from the keyboard.

windows i keyboard shortcut

Step 2: In the settings menu, select the personalization option, followed by selecting themes in the next window.

personalization option
windows themes

Step 3: In the themes menu, under the section of related settings, select the option of desktop icon settings.

select desktop icon settings

Step 4: A list of options for desktop icons will appear in the pop-up window. Check the box for all options, click apply, and click ok to complete the action. It will remove icons for programs selected from the list on the desktop.

desktop icon settings

Hide or Unhide Desktop Icons Effortlessly With This Complete Guide for Windows 11

In this comprehensive guide, we have explored various methods to hide and unhide desktop icons in Windows 11. Whether you prefer a clutter-free desktop or need to conceal icons for presentations or personal preferences temporarily, the step-by-step instructions will enable you to manage your desktop easily. From using the context menu and desktop settings to employing third-party software, you now have a range of options to customize the visibility of your desktop icons. Remember to choose a method that suits your needs and preferences, and don’t forget to re-enable the icons when necessary. With these techniques at your disposal, you can effortlessly control the visibility of your desktop icons and create a personalized desktop experience in Windows 11.

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Hide Desktop Icons in Windows 11

Why can’t I hide my Windows icon?

Hiding a window icon can be beneficial for streamlining the user experience, as it allows users to quickly access their most frequently used programs without being distracted by other programs. Unfortunately, hiding a window icon is not always possible, and this is because some icons are always visible and cannot be hidden.

Why is my desktop icon frozen?

My desktop icon may become frozen if the computer runs a process that takes too long. This could be due to a crashed application or program, a problem with the device drivers, or a virus infection. Try and identify which application or process may be causing the issue.

Can the control panel be used to hide icons in Windows 11?

Yes, the Control Panel can hide icons in Windows 11. To do this, open the Control Panel and select “Appearance and Personalization.” Select “Change Desktop Icons” from the left-side menu and uncheck the icons you wish to hide. When you’re done, click Apply or OK to save your changes.

Why can’t I click on my shortcut icon?

If you can’t click on your shortcut icon, there are a few possible causes. One possibility is that the icon has become corrupted, which means it’s no longer working as expected. Another possibility is that the program associated with the shortcut has been removed or uninstalled from your computer, preventing you from clicking on the icon.

How do I hide my gear icon?

If you’re looking to hide your Gear icon on your device, there are a few ways. The first way is to long-press the Gear icon until selected and drag it to the top of the screen. The next step is to release it, which should cause it to disappear from view. The second way is to go into your device’s settings and look for the “Hide Gear Icon” option.

James Masterson
Meet the author

James is a software engineer and an information architect with a keen eye for detail. Among his key interests are enhancing the usability of our Windows 10 content, troubleshooting errors, and tech news.