Saturday, February 04, 2023

Hide Icons On Microsoft Windows Desktop

Anyone updating applications may notice that links to start the app often appear on the desktop. While these can often be easily deleted, if they are instead hidden then the next time the app is updated the link is likely to remain and stay hidden.

Microsoft has been pushing icons and shortcuts to the desktop. A recent Windows 10 patch rollup put a Microsoft Edge icon on the desktop, and it requires administrator privilege to remove it. 

Regular users can hide the icon with a quick command window. Bring up the command prompt by pressing Start button, type cmd, and press the Command Prompt app.

In the command prompt window, go to the desktop folder by typing:
cd desktop

Look for the file with the directory command and a flag:
dir /A

If the file does not exist, it may be in the Windows public profile. On the desktop, right-click on the icon, choose Properties, press the Details tab, and look where the actual link is located. If it is in the public profile you will need an administrator to help you.

If the file exists in your profile, you may set the hidden attribute on the filename for the icon to make it disappear:
attrib +h Microsoft*.lnk

The desktop should now be less cluttered with the icon hidden.

If the lnk file is in the Windows public profile and you can become adminstrator, then start the command prompt as administrator. Go to the directory and set the hidden flag:
C:\Users\Public\Desktop> attrib +h Microsoft*.lnk