How to Show Legacy Desktop Icons on Windows 11
Legacy desktop icons, such as This PC and Control Panel, are hidden by default on Windows 11. You can restore these icons (and modify them) with this guide.
When you fire up a Windows 11 computer, the only system icon you’ll see on the desktop is the Recycle Bin. Legacy icons, such as the This PC, User’s Files, Network, and Control Panel icons, aren’t visible on a standard Windows 11 desktop.
While the option to bring these legacy icons back isn’t as simple as it was on previous versions of Windows, you can restore them using the Desktop Icon Settings menu. You can also customize the appearance of these icons to make them fit in with your chosen Windows 11 theme.
If you want to make these classic desktop icons visible on your Windows 11 desktop, you’ll need to follow these steps.
How to Get Legacy Desktop Icons Back on Windows 11
To bring back the legacy desktop icons on Windows 11, follow these steps:
- Click the Start button or press the Windows key on your keyboard to open the Start menu, then click Settings.
- Alternately, you can use the keyboard shortcut Windows key + I to open Settings directly.
- When Settings opens, click Personalization on the left, then scroll down and select Themes on the right.
- In the Themes menu, click the Desktop icon settings option.
- When the Desktop Icon Settings window appears, select the checkbox next to each of the icons you want to display on your desktop.
- Click OK to save your choices.
- After following the steps above, the legacy system icons you picked will appear on the desktop.
How to Customize Legacy Desktop Icons on Windows 11
Legacy icons, such as the Network and This PC icons, haven’t changed too much. If you want to change how they appear, however, you can customize them by changing your Windows 11 theme settings.
To change the look of the legacy desktop icons on Windows 11:
- Open the Start menu and press Settings.
- In the Settings menu, go to Personalization > Themes.
- Scroll down and click Desktop icon settings under the Related settings section.
- When the Desktop Icon Settings menu opens, highlight the icon you want to change and click the Change Icon button.
- In the Change Icon window, choose the new icon you want to use, then click OK. If you don’t like any of the available options, click the Browse button, then select an icon from an image file you have saved.
- Click OK again in the Desktop Icon Settings menu and exit Settings.
Customizing Your Windows 11 PC
The steps above should help you to restore legacy desktop icons on your Windows 11 PC (if you care about that sort of thing). If you’re not on Windows 11 yet, you can also add classic desktop icons on Windows 10.
There are other ways you can customize the appearance of your PC, however. For instance, if you’re getting eye strain, you could enable dark mode. You could also customize your taskbar by displaying all taskbar corner overflow icons.