Missing ‘Show Desktop’ Icon

Question

I used to have an icon in my Quick Launch toolbar called Show Desktop that allowed me to minimize all my open windows at once. How do I get it back?

- Julie

Answer

This question was answered on May 27, 2005. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

The Quick Launch toolbar is one of my favorite options in Windows XP because it allows you to launch your most frequently used programs without having to see the Desktop or click through several menus from the Start button.

Those that have not activated it (would be just to the right of the Start button) can do so by right-clicking on any blank part of the Taskbar (the blue bar at the bottom of the screen) then clicking on “Toolbars” and then on the “Quick Launch” option (Active toolbars will have a checkmark next to them, so if a checkmark already exists next to Quick Launch, don’t click it again.)

One of the default items on the Quick Launch toolbar is the Show Desktop icon (it looks like a pencil writing on a white square and is usually the first one), but it is not a typical Windows shortcut.

If it got deleted from the toolbar, you can search for the associated file on your hard drive or recreate it by generating a special file on your Desktop Once you find or recreate it, you can drag it back onto the Quick Launch toolbar

If you find the following instructions too complicated, you can always use the keyboard shortcut of Win-D (the Windows logo key and the letter D at the same time) whenever you want to minimize all open programs.

To locate the file needed for the command, use the Find or Search function from the Start button and search for files and folders on the primary drive (usually C:) with the search phrase of “Show Desktop.scf” (including the quotation marks).

If you don’t find the file, you can recreate it by opening Notepad (in the Accessories section of the Programs menu) and typing the following lines:

[Shell]

Command=2

IconFile=explorer.exe,3

[Taskbar]

Command=ToggleDesktop

Save the file with the name “Show Desktop.scf” to your Desktop (this time without the quotation marks) Close Notepad and locate the newly created Show Desktop icon, then left-click and drag it to the Quick Launch toolbar.

If you want to change the order of any of the icons on the toolbar, simply click and drag them (with the left mouse button) to the desired position.

Far too many programs will force their way onto your Quick Launch toolbar during installation, so if you have more icons than can be displayed, a double-arrow pointing to the right will be at the end which can be clicked to reveal the rest.

To remove any unwanted icons from the list, right-click on them, select Delete and confirm that you want to delete the shortcut.

To increase the number of icons displayed, right-click on any blank part of the Taskbar and deselect the “Lock the Taskbar” option A light column of dots will appear at the end of the Quick Launch toolbar which can be dragged to the right to expose more icons.

Once you have the desired length, reactivate the “Lock the Taskbar” option to keep everything the way you like it!

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Author

Posted by Ken of Data Doctors on May 27, 2005