Windows: Restore Show Desktop Icon

Move the Show Desktop Icon to Quick Launch or Taskbar in Windows 7

If you aren’t a fan of scrolling your pointer over to the lower right corner of your monitor to Show the Desktop, we have a cool tweak that will let you create a Show Desktop icon in the Quick Launch or anywhere on your Taskbar.

If you want to easily get access to the Desktop in Windows 7 you’ve undoubtedly noticed they moved it to the lower right corner. This can be annoying if you have a dual monitors, or even a large monitor that is 22” or higher.

There are a few ways you can go about it and we’ll take a look at them and you can choose which method works best for you.

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Put Show Desktop Icon Back to Where it Used to Be

First let’s look at how to put it back where it used to be in earlier versions of Windows. One of the easiest ways is to Add the Quick Launch Bar to the Windows 7 Taskbar.

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After following The Geek’s article on restoring the Quick Launch Bar, you should see the Show Desktop icon. Then just move the icon to where you want it in the Quick Launch bar. For example, here we moved it along with the Switch Between Windows icon next to the IE icon.

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This method will “kill two birds with one stone” by getting the Quick Launch bar, and Show Desktop icon back in Windows 7.

Pin Show Desktop Icon to the Taskbar

You might not care to get the Quick Launch icon back in Windows 7, but would like to pin the icon to the Taskbar where you want it. Unfortunately the process isn’t as easy as a simple drag and drop.

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We need to use a workaround similar to the one we showed you earlier for pinning an external hard drive to the Taskbar in Windows 7. Right-click the Desktop and select Text Document.

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Now name it Show Desktop.exe and click Yes when the warning message comes up.

Note: You will need to have file extensions viewable in order for this to work.

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Right-click on the dummy exe file we just made and select Pin to Taskbar.

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Now create your own Show Desktop icon by typing or pasting the following code into Notepad.

[Shell]
Command=2
IconFile=explorer.exe,3
[Taskbar]
Command=ToggleDesktop

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When you save it, make sure to select All Files in Notepad.

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Then save it as Show Desktop.scf and place it in the following folder.

C:\Users\computername\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar

Note: If you don’t see the folders like AppData make sure you have Show hidden files, folders, and drives selected in Folder Options.

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Next right-click on the Show Desktop.exe icon we pinned to the Taskbar, then right-click Show Desktop and select Properties.

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Enter the following into the Target field under the Shortcut tab.

C:\Users\computername\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar\Show Desktop.scf

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Note: In the path change “computername” to the actual name of your computer for both steps.

Change Show Desktop Icon

Now we have our icon on the Taskbar and you can move it wherever is convenient to you, and clicking on it will indeed show your desktop. However, you might want to change the icon to something more appealing.

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One option is to open the Show Desktop icon Properties again and select the Change Icon button.

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When we did this we got the following message…Click OK and it will open up to %SystemRoot%\system32\SHELL32.dll.

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Where you can go through the list of icons included by default.

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You might have to do a reboot for the icon to show up correctly, and here is our final result where we have it in the Quick Launch bar and the Taskbar. Of course the regular Show Desktop in the lower right corner as well.

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For more on changing icons to something more unique, we have a couple good articles you might want to check out:

Windows 7: Explorer view – Size all columns to fit permanently

Today, I would like to share with you one very special keyboard shortcut, which will improve your productivity and save a lot of time when you have to deal with columns, grids and tables. Using this shortcut, you will be able to size all columns to fit automatically in Windows File Explorer, Registry Editor, Task Manager or any other 3rd party application which support this tricky feature. Let’s discover it!

Here are the simple instructions:

  1. Run File Explorer (formerly called Windows Explorer in pre-Windows 8 versions).
  2. Click the View tab of the Ribbon, and enable the “Details” view:Explorer Details View
    Note:  In the screenshot above, you can see a customized This PC folder with custom folders added inside. You can also add or remove any folder in This PC using the following tutorial: How to add custom folders in This PC in Windows 8.1 or remove the defaults.
  3. As you can see from the picture above, my column sizes are larger than necessary to fit all the displayed text. I would like to quickly resize them so all of them fit to size. Click on any file or folder and press Ctrl + hotkeys (Ctrl and the plus key) on your keyboard. All columns will be resized to fit!
    Explorer Details View Resized

Note that you may have to press the ‘+’ key on the numeric keypad of your keyboard. If you have a keyboard without a dedicated numeric keypad as some laptops have, then you may need to use the Fn key along with Ctrl to input the ‘+’ key correctly. The + key on the key with the ‘equals to’ sign (=) does not work for this trick.

This handy trick works in many places and apps in Windows. It is applicable to Windows Explorer in Windows XP as well.

When you run Registry Editor, with Ctrl++ shortcut you will be able to resize the right pane with values quickly. This screenshot below is taken before I pressed the shortcut:

Registry EditorAnd this one is right after I pressed the shortcut:

Registry Editor ResizedLook how neatly all the columns are automatically resized to fit.

Don’t forget, this trick works for most apps with grid/details view.

If you have any questions, see the following video:

A small note about Task Manager. In Windows 8/8.1, there is a new Task Manager app, which allows you to copy process details and has new useful features like startup impact calculation. While in the old, classic Task Manager you were able to resize columns in the same manner on any tab using this Ctrl++ key combination, the new Task Manager only allows you to use this on the Details tab. On other tabs, Microsoft has implemented the ability to show the data as a hierarchical list, i.e. “treeview”. That treeview is a completely different control, so it does not allow you to use this keyboard shortcut. Just for note: if you are not happy with new Task Manager, get the old one back using this tutorial: How to restore the good old Task Manager in Windows 8.

Windows 7: Search filter

Windows 7’s add a Search Filter options appear in a drop-down menu box immediately beneath the Search text box in a Windows Explorer window. The actual search filters you’ll see listed vary depending on the type of drive, folder, or file that’s currently selected in the Explorer window. The filters can include any of the following:

 

Date Modified: Search for files based on the date they were last modified.

Date Taken: Searches for photos by the date they were snapped.

Date Created: Searches according to when the file was created. You can select the date (or a range of dates) from a mini-calendar that appears.

You can also be less specific and choose: A Long Time Ago, Earlier This Year, Earlier This Month, Last Week, Earlier This Week, or Yesterday.

Size: Search for a specific file size by typing its KBs or MBs in the search text box. Or, you can search by various size ranges.

Kind: Search for files of a specific type as selected from the drop-down list that appears when you click the Kind option.

Type: Searches based on certain file types by extension, such as .pdf, .jpg, or .docx.

Name: Searches by filename. You can enter all or part of the filename in the search text box after the Name filter.

When you don’t know all of a filename, you can use the asterisk (*) to stand for one or more wildcard characters in the filename and a question mark (?) to stand for individual wildcard characters.

Length: Search for an audio or video file by its relative length. You can enter the exact length or select one of the Length options that appear in the drop-down list.

Tags: This filter lets you search for a file by the tags assigned to it. Enter one or more tags after the Tags filter in the Search text box.

Authors: Search for file by a particular author. Enter an author name after the Authors filter in the Search text box or select the name from the drop-down list that appears. (This filter is called Artists when searching audio files.)

You can chose one or more of the search filters when looking for a file, but keep in mind that all the conditions you specify with the Date Modified, Size, Kind, Type, Name, Tags, and Authors search filters are inclusive, which means that all their conditions must be met in order to be returned to your Search Results Window.

Chrome: Turn off new tab history of most visited sites

This should work:

  • Enter chrome://flags/ into the address bar
  • Search for “Enable Instant Extended API”
  • Set it to Disabled
  • Restart Chrome

You may have to click on the ‘x’ on the right of each cached thumbnail to get rid of it.

Added Note: This answer was accurate for versions of Chrome that were current at the time of writing, September 2013. It is reported to be no longer accurate for later versions of Chrome.

 

There’s an extension called Empty New Tab Page. Does exactly what it says on the tin.