How to Get My Desktop Icon Back on My Task Bar

Windows XP and Vista have a feature on the Quick Launch toolbar portion of the taskbar called "Desktop" or "Show Desktop." You can click this icon to display your desktop program icons. If the icon is missing, you may have a feature disabled or you may have accidentally deleted it. If you've deleted it, you can restore it manually and place it back on the taskbar (including the original icon).

Businesswoman using laptop computer
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Step

Enable Quick Launch. If the Quick Launch feature is disabled, the desktop icon will not appear on your taskbar. Right-click your taskbar, select "Properties" and select the check box next to "Quick Launch." Click "Apply."

Step

Check the Quick Launch section of the taskbar to determine if the desktop icon is restored. Use your mouse to expand the Quick Launch bar (showing all the icons).

Step

Manually restore the desktop icon if it is still missing. Open your Notepad program and enter the following text exactly as it appears:

Step

[Shell] Command=2 IconFile=explorer.exe,3 [Taskbar] Command=ToggleDesktop

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Save the file as "Desktop," "Show Desktop" or "My Desktop." Enter the file extension as ".scf" and save it to your desktop.

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Expand the Quick Launch bar and drag the "scf" file onto the taskbar. The original desktop icon will be restored.