Disable Align Desktop Icons to Grid in Windows 10

Your Desktop is a special folder which shows your background wallpaper that you have chosen and your files, folders, documents, shortcuts and all such items you have stored. It appears every time you sign in to Windows. In this article, will we learn how to disable the Align Desktop Icons to Grid feature for your user account in Windows 10.

Tip: In earlier Windows versions, the Desktop had important icons enabled by default - This PC, Network, Control Panel, and your User files folder. They were all visible by default. However, in modern Windows versions, Microsoft made most of these icons hidden. In Windows 10, only the Recycle Bin is present on the Desktop by default. Also, the Windows 10 Start Menu does not have links to these icons either. You can enable classic Desktop icons as follows:

Enable Desktop Icons in Windows 10

By default, Align Desktop Icons is enabled. If you drag and drop icons anywhere on the Desktop, they will be snapped to a grid and will get auto-arranged. It is possible to disable this feature and to place the desktop icons at any position you like on Desktop. Here is how to disable this feature.

To disable Align Desktop Icons to Grid on Desktop in Windows 10, do the following.

  1. Minimize all open windows and apps. You can use Win + D or Win + M shortcut keys. Alternatively, you can right-click the taskbar and select "Show the desktop" from the context menu or left click the far end of the taskbar.Taskbar Context Menu Show DesktopTip: See What is the difference between Win + D (Show Desktop) and Win + M (Minimize All) keyboard shortcuts in Windows
  2. Right click the empty space on your Desktop and select View - Align icons to grid. This command will toggle the Align icons to grid feature.

    Disable Icons Align To Grid
    When Align icons to grid  is disable, a check mark will disappear next to the context menu command's name.Desktop Icons Align To Grid Disabled

This is pretty simple.

This feature can be configured with a special Registry tweak. Here is how it can be done.

Disable Align Desktop Icons to Grid with a Registry tweak

  1. Open the Registry Editor app.
  2. Go to the following Registry key.
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags\1\Desktop

    See how to go to a Registry key with one click.Desktop Bags Registry Key

  3. On the right, modify or create a new 32-Bit DWORD value "FFlags". Set it to one of the following values in decimal.

    1075839520 - disable Auto Arrange Icons and Align Icons to Grid
    1075839525 - enable Auto Arrange Icons and Align Icons to Grid
    1075839521 - enable Auto Arrange Icons and disable Align Icons to Grid
    1075839524 - disable Auto Arrange Icons but enable Align Icons to Grid

    Note: Even if you are running 64-bit Windows you must still create a 32-bit DWORD value.Auto Arrange Edit In Registry

  4. To make the changes done by the Registry tweak take effect, you need to restart the Explorer shell.

That's it.

7 thoughts on “Disable Align Desktop Icons to Grid in Windows 10

  1. Sonya

    Thank you, Sergey, for this article on how to disable Windows 10 Align Desktop Icons to Grid through the registry. You have stopped a constant nuisance, that I’ve had to fix over and over again. Now I have my desktop defaulting to 1075839520. What a joy!

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      You are welcome.

      Reply
      1. Sonya

        environment: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit version 1703 OS 15063.608

        Hi Sergey, The fix disappears after reboot. How can I make it permanent? Thanks!

        Reply
        1. Sonya

          Just now tried it in Safe Mode, Administrator.
          The decimal value I set to 1075839520, that changed the hexadecimal value to 669af90.
          But on reboot, it changed back to hexadecimal 0x48200224, decimal 1210057252.
          I had made sure the FFlags was a 32-bit DWORD.

          Has Microsoft put a limit on what kind of changes to the registry we can make?

          Reply
          1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

            Quite possible.

        2. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

          What if you just untick the option in the context menu?

          Reply
  2. Frank

    I’m having the exact same problem as Sonya. When Explorer shuts down and restarts, the FFlags reset to 1210057252. Occasionally, the icons will auto arrange to the left side of the screen. I was hoping that Sonya figured this out and has a solution. Changing the option in the context menu has no effect on this behavior.

    Reply

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