Restore your desktop icons arrangement

messy desktop

Do you share your PC at home? Do you feel like sitting beside your computer 24/7 every time someone uses your PC? Why? Because your fellow user has a habit of changing your desktop setup… and worse leaving it full of thrash?.

Worst, when your self-ordered computer will rearrange these icons with no particular reason. You have tried everything, rebooted your computer, changed screen resolutions, installed a new program, or something else, but the outcome is the same… the desktop layout you’ve always wanted has now completely changed and you must spend time to rearrange the icons again. (seems like there is a connivance between the user and the computer…hmmm)

Don’t be too hard on yourself, there is another way to make your stubborn computer follows you. Unfortunately there is no built-in option in Windows to save and restore the current desktop layout but there are numbers of programs, luckily most of them are freeware, that have been develop to save and restore your Windows desktop.

Listed below you will find information and many of these programs and links to download them.

Desktop Restore

One of my favorite programs to use for restoring a desktop full of icons is Desktop Restore by Jamie O’Connell. It works with Windows 98, ME, XP, NT, and Vista. It loads as a shell extension and can be used by right-clicking on a blank spot on your desktop. You should see a menu similar to the one below.

Desktop and you’ll be given the opportunity to save the current layout. If you would like to name this saved desktop, then choose Custom Save/Restore instead. In this way you can save multiple layouts if you so desire. Click on the Restore Desktop option to choose the layout you wish to restore and everything will return to normal.

Click on the link below to visit the website and download it
Download Desktop Restore

Icon Restore

Another popular icon restore utility is called Icon Restore. It installs a file called Layout.dll on the computer. This file installs two new options (Save Desktop Icon Layout and Restore Desktop Icon Layout) to the pop-up menu that appears when My Computer, Recycle Bin, or another system icon is chosen. Very handy, although you have to right-click on a system icon to use it.

Unfortunately, the install feature of Icon Restore does not include an uninstall option, however there is a separate utility to uninstall the program if you wish.

Click on the link below to visit the website and download it
Download Icon Restore

Solway’s Desktop Icon Saver

This is a simplest and easiest program to use. When installed it adds two options to the right-click menu when right-clicking on the desktop: Save Desktop Icon Layout and Restore Desktop Icon Layout. A simple click either saves the current desktop or restores it.

For more information on Desktop Icon Saver, visit Solway’s Software Page.


WinTidy is another very useful utility to save and restore the icon layout, however it does have its drawbacks. It does not work very well with Windows XP Service Pack 2, which is the XP version most people use. For this reason I dont recommend it as highly as Desktop Restore or Icon Restore.

You can learn more about WinTidy by clicking here
There are other useful utilities that will save and restore the icon layout of your desktop, however many of the other programs are not free. They either have nag screens or will timeout after the shareware trial expires.