Show or hide the four basic system icons that can appear on the desktop. Add your own icons to the desktop. Create a shortcut to a work folder and place it on the desktop. Show or hide all icons on the desktop. Align desktop icons to a grid. Automatically arrange desktop icons. Remove icon shortcuts to keep a clean desktop.
- [Dan] Windows offers no rules about Desktop icons though it's strongly suggested that you don't save items directly to the Desktop and instead use your account's folder system to keep your files organized. Beyond that the Desktop can be adorned with up to four system icons, to control whether or not these icons appear press the Windows + I keyboard shortcut to bring up the Settings app. Choose Personalization, Themes, and scroll down to Desktop icon settings.
Here are the four icons, there's computer, your personal folders, Network, and the Recycle Bin full or empty. Add or remove a check mark to show or hide the icon respectively, and you can set the icon's appearance by clicking it here and then clicking the Change Icons button and you can choose another icon if you wanna have fun I don't, so I'll click OK. Beyond these icons you can decorate the Desktop with your own icons, I've seen Desktops with hundreds of icons, which is messy, but if that's how you work, so be it.
My choice is to send only shortcuts to my current work folders as well as other items I use frequently to the Desktop. For example, I'm gonna navigate to my current work folder. Let's open up a Windows Explorer window and Documents, and there's my work folder right there. So to put a copy of this folder on the Desktop, I right click, choose Send to, Desktop, create shortcut and there it is! Windows places shortcut icons on this Desktop in the upper-left corner marching down in columns.
You can move the icon to anywhere and it should stick to a grid which can help you organize things and keep them however you like to see them. If you have trouble moving an icon in this manner then the Desktop may be configured to auto arrange the icons. To confirm right click on the Desktop, choose View, and if it's set, remove the check mark by Auto arrange icons. You can also check the Align icons to grid item to ensure that everything snaps up in nice even rows and columns and if you don't like nice even rows and columns uncheck this item, and if the icons bother you altogether you can hide them.
Just choose Show Desktop icons, and they're gone! Now the command hasn't deleted everything, you can bring 'em back just by showing them again but if you do wanna remove an icon, other than the four system icons shown earlier, just drag it to the trash. As long as the icon is a shortcut as shown here by the little shortcut arrow in the lower-left corner of the icon, then deleting it doesn't delete the original file or folder.
Messy Desktop or organized that's how you keep your Desktop icons under control.