How To Remove Icons From Desktop

The Windows Desktop is like a kitchen counter or the center table where one does most of the work but only when it is clean and decluttered. When your Windows desktop is full of icons and shortcuts then it becomes difficult to work on your PC. This blog is an attempt to clean the mess on your Desktop and remove icons from your desktop. Let us examine all the methods that one can use to declutter your Windows desktop.

Types of Icons On Your Desktop

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Default Windows Icons. 

  • These icons are default Windows icons that can be enabled and disabled under Windows Themes. 
  • You can also select these icons and press the delete key. 
  • Removing these icons does not pose any permanent change as they can be brought back anytime.

Folder Icons.

  • These icons are actual folders that may contain many other files and folders.
  • It is actually a part of your data and can be moved to other drives.
  • If you delete these icons, then you will lose your data and it will become difficult to retrieve your data.

Files Icons.

  • These icons are the files that you have created or saved on the Desktop.
  • You can move these files on your drives and place them in folders using This PC.
  • Once deleted, these files may or may not be recoverable.

App Shortcut Icons.

  • These icons are shortcuts to apps and not real apps.
  • They are denoted by a twisted arrow mark in the bottom-left corner.
  • You can delete these icons and access the apps using the Windows Start Menu.
  • These icons can be deleted and recreated at the user’s discretion.
  • If you delete an app shortcut icon, you do not delete any part of the actual app.


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This icon is the actual file and it does not contain an arrow mark. This icon is a shortcut to an app. It contains an arrow mark in the left-bottom corner.

Note: If you find any other icons other than the four types listed here and are not sure what to do, drop a note to us in the comments section describing the icon. We will try to get back to you as soon as possible. In the meantime, you can declutter all your remaining icons and move this icon to the top-right corner of your screen where it will be out of sight for some time.

Also Read: Desktop Icons Disappeared After Upgrading to Windows 11

How To Remove Icons From Desktop Using The Delete Method?

Deleting the icons from your desktop is the simplest way to remove extra icons from your desktop and declutter your desktop. 

Step 1: To select the icons you want to remove from the desktop, click on any icon you don’t want.

Step 2:  Press and hold the Ctrl key.

Step 3: Click the other icons you wish to remove.

Step 4: Press the delete button on your keyboard or make right-click on any of the selected icons and choose Delete from the context menu.

how to remove recycle bin from desktop

Step 5: The deleted icons will move to the Recycle bin and you can empty the bin to remove them permanently.

Note: As I mentioned earlier, you can always get the app shortcuts and default desktop icons back at any time. But it might be a challenge to get back the files and the folders removed from your desktop. Hence, make sure you double-check an icon before removing it.

App Shortcut Icons are of very minimal file size (in KBs) and removing them will not help gain storage space. They need to be removed to free up your desktop so that you can work properly in a clean and decluttered environment.

Also Read: How To Recover Deleted Files From Recycle Bin After Empty

How To Remove Icons From Desktop Using The Hide Method?

There is another way to declutter your desktop temporarily. And that way is to hide all your desktop icons. Please note, using this method all your desktop icons will disappear until you reinvoke them back. This method does not delete any icons but provides a clean desktop to run your apps.

Step 1: Right-click on any empty space on your desktop to invoke the context menu.

Step 2: Hover your mouse cursor over the View option.

Step 3: Click on Show Desktop Icons to uncheck it.

remove icons from desktop

All the icons will disappear, including any new ones you create, until you follow the same steps again and place the check mark beside Show Desktop Icons.

Also Read: Desktop Icons Not Showing on Windows 10, 8, 7?

How To Remove Recycle Bin From Desktop?

Generally speaking, it is very easy to remove icons from the desktop and that is by deleting them. However, the predefined or default icons (like Recycle Bin), sometimes do not get deleted by simply pressing the delete key. In this case, you need to access the Theme settings of Windows to remove the default icons. Let us check the steps below:

Step 1: Make right-click on any empty space on your desktop.

Step 2: Click on Personalize.

remove icons from desktop

Step 3: Click on the Themes tab from the left panel.

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Step 4: Look for Related Settings in the far-right corner of the window.

Step 5: Click on the Desktop Icon Settings under Related Settings.

Step 6: A new dialog box will appear where you will find all the predefined/default icons.

Step 7: Remove the check mark beside the icon name to remove them from the Desktop.

remove icons from desktop

Step 8: Click on Apply and then on OK.

Also Read: How To Restore Lost Recycle Bin Icon On Windows 10

The Final Word

I hope you now know the difference between desktop icons and all the best ways on how to remove icons from desktop. These methods are easy to follow and you can share them with your family and friends. Also do not forget to press CTRL + D to bookmark this page for the future.

Please let us know in the comments below if you have any questions or recommendations. We would be delighted to provide you with a resolution. We frequently publish advice, tricks, and solutions to common tech-related problems. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Flipboard, and Pinterest

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