Monday, November 30, 2009


Save Your Desktop Layout And Control The Space Between Desktop Icons In Windows Vista And Windows 7

Let me ask: How many times Windows rearranged your desktop icons?. This happens for a variety of reasons, most commonly any time Windows changes the screen resolution (often for games), when you update your display settings, or when you install a new video card driver.

But it’ll also happen whenever you use the Magnifier tool that comes with Vista or Windows 7, or when you change the desktop icon size (discussed next). Regardless of the trigger, it’s a petty annoyance we all could do without.

There are a variety of tools designed to combat this problem, but most have died out for one reason or another. The quick and dirty—not to mention free—solution is to use an add-on released by Microsoft several years ago; with a little tweak, it works just fine in Vista (32-bit edition only). Here’s how you install and use it:

  1. Go to and download the file, saving it to your desktop.
  2. Open, and inside you’ll find two files. The .dll file you can find elsewhere on the Web, but the other (the .reg file) has been specifically modified to work with Vista.
  3. Copy the layout.dll file to your C:\Windows\System32 folder.
  4. Double-click the other file, install.reg, and answer Yes when asked whether you want to continue.
  5. Next, right-click an empty area of your desktop and select Save Desktop Icon Layout.
  6. The next time Windows messes up your icons, just right-click an empty area of your desktop and select Restore Desktop Icon Layout.

Now, if Windows isn’t spontaneously rearranging your desktop icons, but refuses to let you put them where you want them, there’s a fix for that, too.

This problem is caused by either one of two mechanisms designed to help keep your desktop icons tidy, and you’ll have to turn at least one of them off to more freely place your desktop icons. Right-click an empty area of the desktop, select View, and turn off the Auto Arrange option. The other, Align to Grid, is discussed next.

Control the space between desktop icons
In the aforementioned View menu is the Align to Grid option. Leave it on, and your icons will always appear lined up in rows and columns; turn it off to have complete flexibility when dragging your icons around the desktop. 

To change the spacing, right-click an empty area of the desktop, select Personalize, and then click Window Color and Appearance. Click the Open classic appearance properties for more color options link, and then click Advanced. (Or, if you’re not using Vista’s Aero interface, just click Advanced here.) From the Item drop-down menu, choose Icon Spacing (Horizontal) and adjust the spacing by changing the Size value to indicate the number of pixels between the edges of adjacent icons.

A good value is approximately 1.3 to 1.5 times the width of an icon. To find the size of your desktop icons, right-click an empty area of the desktop and select View. If Medium Icons (the default) is checked, your icons are 44×44.

For Classic Icons, they’re the standard 32×32; for Large Icons, they’re 86×86. So, if you’re using classic icons, specify 40 in the Advanced Appearance window to pack them pretty closely, or 50 to spread them apart. Next, change the Icon Spacing (Vertical) value; use the same number for both the horizontal and vertical measurements, and the result will look pretty good.


About bench3 -

Haja Peer Mohamed H, Software Engineer by profession, Author, Founder and CEO of "bench3" you can connect with me on Twitter , Facebook and also onGoogle+

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