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Windows XP - Change / Add Desktop Icons

Welcome to this Windows XP tutorial on how to change or add the desktop icons. You may want to change the desktop icons to add 'My Computer', 'My Documents' and 'Network Locations'.

Thinks To Note
  • Click the images to see a larger version
  • Yellow arrows or circles indicate where to look or click
  • Unless specified otherwise use the 'left' mouse button to click

Windows XP - Change / Add Desktop Icons

Start Menu in Windows XP showing selection of control panel

With your computer logged into Windows you should have the desktop loaded. In the lower left corner of the screen click the 'Start' button. A vertical menu will pop up.

On the right of the pop up start menu are many commonly used items. As pictured 'Control Panel' is one of these items.

Click the 'Control Panel' option on the start menu.

Control Panel selecting Display

The control panel will load showing all of the available settings. You will see an icon for 'Display' which we have highlighted in the picture.

With your mouse, double click the 'Display' icon.

The Display properties window will appear.

Display properties box in Windows XP

You will see five tabs along the top of the display properties window. The second one along is the 'Desktop' tab.

Click the 'Desktop' tab once with the mouse.

You will see a picture of a monitor, below that a list of pictures available as backgrounds and below that a 'Customize Desktop' button. Click this button.

Display properties box selecting the the desktop tab

Once you click the 'Customize Desktop' button a new window will appear as pictured.

You will see at the top of the window is a section labelled 'Desktop Icons' and three available icons to select; my documents, my computer, my network places.

You can tick the little box to select the icon to be displayed on the desktop. Once you have chosen which icons you want to display, click the 'Ok' button at the bottom of the window.

Display properties showing the desktop tab in Windows XP

You will be returned to the display properties window. Click 'Ok'

Many people are confused with 'Ok' and 'Apply'. 'Ok' basically accepts the settings you choose and exits the box. 'Apply' will make the settings the choose but leave the box open in case you wish to change anything else.

So if you don't want to make further changes, you don't have to click apply before ok.

Display properties box selecting the the desktop tab

The display properties box will disappear and you will see the desktop again.

You will now see the icons displayed on the desktop as selected

The recycle bin is on the desktop by default.

Next tutorial - Change Windows XP Wallpaper

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