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Stop Windows 10 Desktop Icons from Changing Location After a Screen Refresh

Do you like a personalized Windows 10 desktop with your shortcuts, files, and other items organized in a specific way? If so, you might have noticed they can change location when the screen is refreshed. For example, it tends to happen when you modify the screen resolution. It can be quite frustrating after organizing your desktop icons, only to have them disorganized when you connect a second display or refresh the screen. Here is how you can fix that.

icon desktop 1b

Press Windows key + R to bring up the Run dialog and type: %userprofile% and hit Enter.

Run dialog

Your User folder will open. Make sure that hidden items are visible by clicking the View tab then check the box Hidden items within the Show/hide group.

icon desktop 2

Next, open the AppData folder and then open the Local folder.

icon desktop 3

Select the IconCache file then click Delete.

icon desktop 4

That’s it! If you want to confirm it works, move an icon to any location on your desktop, then right-click the desktop and click Refresh or press F5 on your keyboard.

For more on organizing your desktop items, read our article on how to use Stardock Fences to hide all desktop icons the easy way.

Or, check out our article on how to create Windows 10 universal app desktop shortcuts.

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26 Responses to Stop Windows 10 Desktop Icons from Changing Location After a Screen Refresh

  1. mur_phy February 25, 2016 at 2:37 pm #

    If one simply does not show the icons on the screen but rather R click the Taskbar>toolbars>desktop then a simple click on the carot will show all of the items available from the DT and there will be no need to minimize open apps in order to access new items from the DT.

  2. PC March 5, 2016 at 1:07 pm #

    Thank you for your article; it is however inaccurate for the current user build (winver=Version 1511 OS Build 10586.122) and this is as of 03/05/2016 at 1:52 AZ Time. Utilizing your exact instructions, I was unable to locate the IconCache file. Utilizing a search for IconCache, I was able to locate it and was able to delete it to the recycle bin. I tried your instruction to test it; it does not function as you stated. I removed and icon to a different location, right clicked on the screen. The screen went blank and reappeared; the icon remained in the area I moved it to. I also attempted to test it again utilizing the F5 option; the same thing happened; the screen went blank, reappeared, but the icon remain in the area I moved it to.

    Would you need to reboot your computer to make this work as you stated? I have not deleted the IconCache file from the recycle yet as I wanted to make sure it worked before I did so.

    Thank you for the tip, just needs to be addressed further.

    • Block February 10, 2017 at 6:11 am #

      Cannot find IronCache

      • George Lea February 26, 2017 at 2:59 pm #

        Same here Block.

  3. speedyblupi May 12, 2016 at 12:48 pm #

    The file just creates itself again.

    • Annette August 20, 2016 at 5:21 pm #

      Yes, my file was recreated again too!

  4. Bama350z June 24, 2016 at 10:27 am #

    What I want to know is how to keep my windows from moving from my second monitor to my main monitor just because I power it off.

  5. Winston Smith August 16, 2016 at 2:31 pm #

    All the other “solutions” I could find had me chasing all over regedit – without resolution. This solution was simple. And worked. Thank you!!!

    • Marcia October 10, 2016 at 8:30 am #

      Yes!! It worked for me too! Thanks Andre

  6. Winston Smith August 22, 2016 at 10:50 am #

    Update: The solution worked until the weekend Windows weekly update. The update rearranged the icons. There is apparently something seriously wrong with Win 10!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Rearranged the icons to where I wanted them and redid the solution. Waiting to see how long the icons stay put.

    • Jay September 7, 2016 at 1:25 pm #

      Winston: It’s doubtful that an update rearranged the icons. More likely, the reboot prompted by the update process resulted in the icons rearranging.

      This makes sense: a reboot causes the ‘iconcache’ file to get recreated, so the fix described on this page, insofar as it works at all, doesn’t work after a reboot. So it’s not really a solution.

      • Winston Smith September 7, 2016 at 3:46 pm #

        Thank you, Jay. I’m technology challenged, but your explanation was so clear even the Geico caveman nodded at me that he understood it, too. Thanks.

  7. Jon September 25, 2016 at 3:15 pm #

    Thank you for teaching me how to effing recode windows so it can act like every other platform in the 21st century!

    Windows drives me nuts!!!!

  8. StacyN October 24, 2016 at 6:15 am #

    It works – temporarily – and as soon as you reboot then next time the file/problem just recreates itself.

  9. Ed Kranz October 31, 2016 at 2:56 pm #

    This fix does seem to be working–but I actually had to move an icon on the desktop to make it work.

    When this desktop rearranging catastrophe started with the previous group of Windows 10 updates, I searched for a desktop restore utility. I now use Midi-Ox Desktop Restorer. But even after deleting the IconCache.db file and restoring the desktop using the desktop restorer, a refresh or restart put all of the icons back on the left side.

    Apparently an icon has to be moved to force generation of a new IconCache.db file.

    So I first restored the desktop using the desktop restorer. Then I moved an icon to generate new contents into the IconCache.db file. I am glad I found the Midi-Ox Desktop Restorer last time! I installed it on all of my Windows computers.

    Now my desktop seems to remain intact even after refresh or restart… at least until the next update!

  10. Siegfried November 6, 2016 at 9:09 am #

    When I try to delete the IconCache files (3 of them,), it tells me that they can’t be deleted as they are being used by Windows Explorer.

    This is REALLY pissing me off badly – I honestly can’t BELIEVE that the hydrocephalic chimps at Microsoft refuse to pay any attention to their users (this issue seems to have been going on for well over a year now), and that they haven’t come up with a fix for this issue. I guess they don’t care about their customers or users, since they already got their money.

  11. Bradleyp December 26, 2016 at 6:46 pm #

    This tip for the desktop icons re-arranging did not work.

    @Andre, you need to update your article.

  12. David L Laidig January 17, 2017 at 9:01 am #

    Doesn’t work File gets recreated

  13. Bonhes January 25, 2017 at 5:26 am #

    I have not tried this, but I would think it’s normal for the IconCache file to be recreated. In which case maybe the trick is getting it to recreate with the icons arranged how you want. So maybe there’s a sequence of steps required, like making sure Auto Arrange is off. Or try moving icons after (and/or before) deleting IconCache. Just something to consider.

  14. Milan February 3, 2017 at 1:57 am #

    thanks, very helpful, you are right, it is very frustrating 😀

  15. Raoul Drapeau February 4, 2017 at 12:51 pm #

    Wonderfully simple solution for something that has been bothering me for a long time.

  16. David Lloyd February 21, 2017 at 5:41 pm #

    Windows would not allow access to the AppData folder. I had to take ownership of the AppData folder, which was not a simple task. Then I was able to follow these instructions, but they had no effect. I just want my old icon positions restored the way they were before Windows messed with them without my permission.

  17. Alexey March 4, 2017 at 6:38 pm #

    I changed permissions of IconCache file to read-only. Now it prevents it to be overwritten by system. Works for me so far.

  18. Harvey Lewis April 7, 2017 at 10:27 am #

    I hated MS screwing up my icons and found a software fix. Download ShellFolderfix and run it. You will have to run it again every time there is a MS update.

  19. jay April 21, 2017 at 4:16 am #

    It worked. When I found and deleted IconCache file, icons are not rearranged after clicking refresh (even when I changed files in the folder). IconCache file was located on my [AppData > Local] folder. Thank you so much!

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