How to Hide All Desktop Icons 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. Today, we will see how to quickly hide your desktop contents.

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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

To hide all desktop icons in Windows 10, you can 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 - Show Desktop Icons. This command will toggle the visibility of your Desktop icons.Windows 10 Hide Desktop Icons

This is pretty simple.

Depending on your production environment, it may be necessary to disable Desktop icons for all users in your Active Directory/domain, a specific user on your computer or for all users of your PC. In this case, you can use a special Group Policy item or a Registry tweak. Let's review them.

If you are running Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, or Education edition, you can use the Local Group Policy Editor app.

Hide All Desktop Icons in Windows 10 with Group Policy

  1. Press Win + R keys together on your keyboard and type:
    gpedit.msc

    Press Enter.Windows 10 run gpedit

  2. Group Policy Editor will open. Go to User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Desktop. Enable the policy option Hide and disable all items on the desktop as shown below.Windows 10 Hide Desktop Icons Gp

Hide All Desktop Icons in Windows 10 with a Registry tweak

  1. Open Registry Editor.
  2. Go to the following Registry key:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer

    Tip: See how to jump to the desired Registry key with one click.

    If you do not have such a key, then just create it.

  3. Here, create a new 32-bit DWORD value NoDesktop. Note: Even if you are running 64-bit Windows, you still need to use a 32-bit DWORD as the value type.
    Set it to 1 to hide desktop icons.Windows 10 Hide Desktop Icons Tweak
  4. To make the changes done by the Registry tweak take effect, you need to sign out and sign in again to your user account.

Later, you can delete the NoDesktop value to allow the user to use Desktop icons.

To apply this option for all users, ensure that you are signed in as Administrator before proceeding.

Then, go to the following Registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer

Create the same value here, NoDesktop as described above.

Tip: You can switch between HKCU and HKLM in Windows 10 Registry Editor quickly.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer from Russia 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.

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