Add a useful Internet Explorer icon to Windows 10 Desktop

In early versions of Windows, Internet Explorer had a special icon right on the Desktop. It was not just a shortcut, but an ActiveX object which provided access to various IE settings and features by right clicking it. For instance, you could open Internet Options directly from its context menu or start a private browsing session. Such an icon can still be added to the Desktop in Windows 10.


In Windows 10, Microsoft recommends and promotes a new browser called "Edge". The Edge browser is a Universal app, which as of this writing lacks many core browser features which even the average user needs. So, those who like Microsoft's browsers prefer to stay with the good, old Internet Explorer.

For such users, an Internet Explorer icon on the Desktop is useful. Most users pin IE's icon today to the Taskbar or the Start menu so it's accessible even when the Desktop isn't showing. Tip: Add the Show Desktop button next to Start in Windows 10. But even if you use the desktop icon relatively rarely, you can access IE's options (the Internet Options Control Panel) and other useful IE features by right clicking it.

Windows 10 Internet Explorer iconLet's add all the necessary values to the appropriate registry keys to make the Internet Explorer icon appear on the Desktop. To save your time, I made two registry files, one to restore the icon and another to remove it.

To add the useful Internet Explorer icon to Windows 10 Desktop, do the following.

  1. Download the following file:
  2. Inside the archive you will find two *.reg files, add_ie_desktop_icon.reg and remove_ie_desktop_icon.reg. Extract them to your Desktop.
  3. Double click the "add_ie_desktop_icon.reg" file and import it into your registry. Confirm the UAC prompt and Registry Editor requests to merge it.

That's it. Right click an empty area of the Desktop and choose 'Refresh' from its context menu. The Internet Explorer icon will appear.

Windows 10 Internet Explorer Desktop iconYou can right click it and directly open Internet Options, Start InPrivate Browsing or start IE in no-addons mode.

Import the "remove_ie_desktop_icon.reg" file if you wish to delete this icon.

When you are done, you can delete the REG files.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

5 thoughts on “Add a useful Internet Explorer icon to Windows 10 Desktop”

  1. Hi! My first comment here…:) Thanks for this great website and blog!
    BTW very useful, but I am sorry to say that it still do not support pressing Alt+Enter to open Internet Options like in Windows XP and Windows Vista. Hope that one also could be added. Thanks.:)

  2. Downloaded the file and unzipped them to the desktop and double clicked the add file. Got the success notification but when I refresh I don’t get an IE icon. Any ideas?

  3. Thanks, very useful!
    Also I was hoping pressing ALT+tab when the new Internet Explorer shortcut selected opens the Internet Options Control Panel like in Windows XP/Vista.

  4. That’s really useful!
    Is this a replacement for the old Pre-7


    Anyway, is there a way to apply this to current user, rather than current machine?

    Do I just change [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Desktop\NameSpace\{871C5380-42A0-1069-A2EA-08002B30301D}] to [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Desktop\NameSpace\{871C5380-42A0-1069-A2EA-08002B30301D}]


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