To save and restore the Windows 11 desktop icon arrangement, export the icon layout registry to a file and run that file to restore the icon arrangement. This page introduces how to save and restore the arrangement of icons on the Windows 11 desktop.
Precautions for saving and restoring the layout of desktop icons
Before saving and restoring the arrangement of desktop icons, be sure to understand the following precautions.
- Save the desktop icon layout by exporting (backing up) the registry.
- In addition to desktop icon placement, the exported registry also contains desktop-related information such as icon size.
- From the above, executing the restoration of the desktop icon arrangement will also restore the desktop related display such as icons to the point when it was saved.
Save Windows 11 Desktop Icon Arrangement
There are two ways to save the arrangement of icons on your desktop: exporting from the Registry Editor and running a command.
Save icon placement with registry export
1. Launch Registry Editor
- Press “Windows” and “R” on your keyboard.
- When Run opens, type regedit in the text box and click OK.
- Click Yes when the User Account Control warning appears.
“Run” can also be opened from Start.
2. Open the registry that registers the placement of desktop icons
Registry location to change icon spacing
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags\1\Desktop\IconLayoutsExpand in the following order and open Desktop .
3. Save the registry that registers the placement of desktop icons
3-1. Click “File” and then click “Export” in the menu.
3-2. When Explorer is displayed, select a location, enter a name, and click “Save” to complete saving the desktop icon arrangement.
Here, as an example, the save name is ” DesktopIcon ” in the document folder, but feel free to change the location and name. However, half-width alphanumeric characters are recommended.
Save icon layout with command
Save the above registry by running the command in Terminal or Command Prompt. Also, by creating and executing a batch file, you can automatically save the icon placement. 1. Start the terminal
Here, the terminal is started, but the command prompt is also possible. Right-click the Start button and click Terminal (Admin).
If User Account Control is displayed, click “Yes” and the terminal will start with administrator privileges. 2. Run command to save desktop icon arrangement
- Enter the following command and press the “Enter” key on the keyboard to perform the same operation as exporting the registry above.
- If “This operation completed successfully” is displayed, it is complete.
■ Description of the command to save the registry
- reg export :
Instruction to export the registry
- HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags\1\Desktop :
The first “HKCU” is an abbreviation for “HKEY_CURRENT_USER” displayed in the registry editor, and the location (path) to be exported is specified later.
- C:\Users\pasoble\Documents\DesktopIcon.reg :
Save as “DesktopIcon.reg” in the “Documents folder” of the “Computerkin folder” in the “Users folder”
Be sure to change the save location according to your environment.
- /y : Force overwrite save without confirming overwrite
As an example here, the save destination is the document folder (C:\Users\Computerkin\Documents\) and the save name is ” DesktopIcon.reg “, but feel free to change the location and name. However, half-width alphanumeric characters are recommended.
Create a batch file for icon placement and save automatically
A batch file is a file format that writes and saves a command to be executed as a file with the extension “.bat” in Notepad, etc., and executes the written command by double-clicking the file.1. Start Notepad
Click the Notepad icon in the Start menu. If the menu doesn’t have an icon, enter “memo or memo” in search.
2. When Notepad starts up, click “View” in the menu, and if there is a checkmark next to “Wrap at right edge”, click it to remove it.
Note that if a line feed is entered in the command, an error will occur and the command will not be executed.3. Enter the following command. Copying and pasting is also OK, but please check if you can change the storage location and paste in half-width characters .
4. Click “Save As” in the menu after clicking “File”.
5. When Explorer appears, click File Name and select All Files.
6. Select a location, enter a name, be sure to enter ( .bat ) for the following, and click “Save” to complete the creation of the batch file.
Here, as an example, the save name is ” DesktopIcon.bat “, but feel free to change the location and name . However, half-width alphanumeric characters are recommended. Using the Batch File Double-click the batch file to execute the command and save the desktop icon layout by exporting the registry.
Restore Windows 11 Desktop Icon Arrangement
Restoring desktop icon placement restarts explorer after running a file saved by the registry export function.
Run the file that saved the layout of the desktop icons
1. Double-click the file where you saved the desktop icon layout.
Click Yes when User Account Control appears. 2. When the information about the registry operation is displayed and the confirmation dialog “Are you sure you want to continue?” is displayed, click “Yes”.
3. Click OK when you see “…was successfully added to the registry.”
- Up to this point, the registry has been changed when the desktop icon layout is saved.
- Then restart File Explorer to restore the desktop icon arrangement.
Restore icon placement on explorer restart
When you restart Explorer, all open Explorer-related items will be automatically closed, so please save any data you are working on first.3-1. Start Task Manager
Right-click the Start button and click “Task Manager” in the menu.
With Ver.22H2, you can start the task manager by right-clicking on the taskbar. If the task manager is “simple display” as shown below, click “Details (D)” at the bottom left to switch to the detailed screen.
From here, since versions 21H2 and 22H2 are slightly different, they are explained separately. ■ How to operate in version 22H2
- On the “Processes” screen, click “Explorer” to select it.
- Click “Restart Task” at the top of the screen to restart Explorer.
■ How to operate in version 22H1
- On the “Processes” screen, click “Explorer” to select it.
- Click “Restart” at the bottom right of the screen to restart Explorer.
This completes the operation of restoring the desktop icon arrangement to a point in time when it was saved.
Tips Desktop Icons:
You can also customize the spacing and size of Windows 11 desktop icons.
- Make windows 11 desktop icons smaller
- Change icon spacing on Windows 11 desktop