Get the Show desktop icon back in Windows 7 taskbar

While you have Show desktop transparent vertical bar at the right side end of the taskbar which also adds the functionality of Desktop Peek, it appears that there are some who miss the old Show desktop icon which appeared on the left side of the taskbar.

Show desktop icon in Windows 7

To get show desktop icon back in Windows 7, simply follow these steps in the order mentioned:

1. Copy-paste the following in a Notepad and save it as Show desktop.scf on your desktop.



2. Assuming that your Windows 7 is installed on C Drive, cut-paste this Show desktop.scf file in folder:

C:\User\%Username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\Taskbar

To open this folder, simply copy paste this address in the explorer address bar and hit Enter. Here I am assuming that your Windows copy has been installed on the C Drive. You may also, if you wish, directly insert your own username in place of %Username%.

3. Now create any temporary shortcut of  anyone of your other (.exe) applications on your desktop. Rename it to Show Desktop.

Next, right click on it and select Change icon.
Select the Show Desktop icon from the following folder :
Click Apply > OK.
NOW right click and Pin to Taskbar.

4. Now again right click on this temporary desktop icon and select its Properties.

5. In the Shortcut tab, change its Target to:

C:\Users\%Username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar\Show desktop.scf

show desktop windows 7 taskbar

You will now get the Show desktop icon in the Windows 7 in the location it should be and it will look & behave the way it should look & behave! Drag and drop it to the desired position.

Alternatively, you may also want to check out these freeware:

  1. Show Desktop Button App for Windows 7 that will enable the same feature in Windows 7 and allows you to pin it to the taskbar.
  2. Show desktop software will minimize all open windows to display the desktop.
Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of and a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows for the period 2006-16. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.


  1. Martin

    I wonder why Microsoft doesn’t set all of these shortcuts by default….

  2. Rychlouš

    Cooool. Thanks !!!

  3. Junkie

    Thats cool. Didnt know it would be possible. Need to try login screen change as well!

  4. Roland D. Russell

    Microsoft needs to serve their PC customers, not the other way around.
    A customer buying an operating system update has already customized
    his machine to suit himself. The desktop appearance, font size, security
    choices, icons, internet provider and his other personal changes should
    be incorporated in his new machine as part of the new installation program.

    That software information is right there in the machine anyway, so use it! I hate the idea of rebuilding my laptop just because I updated to Windows 7!

  5. Richard

    The quick launch tool bar is already in Windows 7. The process that is described is not really necessary to add the desktop icon.

  6. Cyclopsq

    Tnx! It realy helped! Hate that Windows puts the show desktop icon to the right!!!

  7. mckinnley

    what a pointless thing to do, that’s already in windows 7 by default, it’s the little box on the very bottom right corner.

  8. mike

    seems like a lot of work when you could just press the windows key and D together.

  9. gax

    Got the “Show desktop” icon by code – it appeared on the desktop.

    You don’t have to do the second step described in this article, just drag-and-drop the SCF file to the Quicklaunch.

  10. zaf

    it’s the same way to change desktop icon back??
    my problem its cause by associates the file type with the chosen program when i use ‘open with’..can i use this way??

  11. Jim10011

    i typed the address:
    C:User%Username%AppDataRoamingMicrosoftInternet ExplorerQuick LaunchUser PinnedTaskbar

    but it says does not exist. i typed my computer name under username and still doesn’t exist.

  12. SteveC

    I did everything you suggested and I now see the 2 files (the .scr and the shortcut)in the “…User Pinned/Taskbar/” folder but the Icon is NOT on the Quick Launch Bar. What am I doing wrong?
    Also, why can’t I drag and drop it there?

  13. Insert your name in place of %Username%

  14. Desperate Howie

    I’m posting here out of desperation. I tried either your method (or another way to get the old XP style “show desktop” icon) some time ago and something didn’t work out quite right, and I unpinned the icon. But since then, whether it’s related to the attempt (or maybe not related,) when I have a folder (or folders) open, the icon on my taskbar is not the correct icon for a generic folder or group of folders, but rather it’s ALWAYS the “show desktop” icon. How can I restore the icon for folders that show up on the taskbar to be *folders* again ? Sorry if this is not directly on topic, but I think you might have the answer. THANKS !

  15. I’m stymied at Step 2. It doesn’t recognize that address. Any idea why not?

  16. win 8.1 hater ;-)

    Any way to do this in simpler and in Windows 8.1 ? 🙂

  17. philessense

    I think ir you don’t want it, and if its present location works for you, braval But frankly, the one in W7 doesn’t work for me and I have the right to work in my style, not yours.

  18. philessense

    Thanks so much! This is exactly right and perfect for me. I appreciate the tip.

  19. Jeff

    This doesn’t work. Besides- it is unnecessary- the “Show Desktop” feature is on the extreme right end of the task bar by the “time”.

  20. I just tried it and it works. But true – you do not need to do it as this feature already exists.

  21. It’s not needed just right click on the task bar and left click on show the desktop or side by side or stacked

  22. BANDR

    Because they are stupid!

  23. James Hildebrand

    The feature at the side only shows desktop while mouse is there, but when you move the mouse, it all comes back! I need away that will show desktop until I click it again.

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