Both Windows 7 and Windows 8 give us the ability to control certain aspects of Desktop icons. We can control which of the built-in Desktop icons are displayed, we can change the icon image that’s displayed for them, and we can even control whether themes are allowed to change the icons, or not.
For icons installed as part of program installations, or shortcuts you manually create, we have all the usual ways to modify them. We can change them, move them, create folders to organize them, or even delete them, without deleting the program itself.
Of course, if you’re using Windows 8 and you delete a program icon, you’ll need one of the Start Menu replacements , or you might have some difficult finding the program again. I strongly recommend that you use a third-party add-on Start Menu, if you’re using Windows 8. either Start8 ($5, http://www.stardock.com/products/start8/) that I use, or one of the other paid or free ones that are available).
In both Win7 and Win8, you can get to the Desktop Icon Settings dialog box easily — and the same way, too. The dialog boxes are almost identical. Just right-click on the Desktop itself and then select Properties.
That gives you the following dialog box, which is where you change the active theme, or more importantly, can download many other themes from Microsoft.
On this dialog box, you will want to click on the link in the left column that says Change desktop icons.
That click will open the following dialog box, which shows you the
By default, Windows 7 and Windows 8 present you with very clean Desktops. Most of these are unchecked.
I like a lot of program icons on the Windows Desktop, but not most of these five, so the only one I have checked is the Recycle Bin.
Notice the checkbox at the bottom, beside "Allow themes to change desktop icons." That checkbox is now unchecked on my computers (I hadn’t paid attention to it before this, and I find that changes to my Desktop icons by themes annoys me.
By unchecking the box, the annoyance goes away. (Fortunately, most themes are more behaved than this, and don’t change desktop icons.)