Set desktop icons to classic icons using registry RRS feed

  • Question

  •   Hi,


      Does anyone know if there is a way to set the Vista desktop icons to classic icons by changing a registry setting? I tried changing the settings back and forth exporting HKCU\Contol Panel\Desktop. I use WinDiff to compare the before and after "snapshots" and they turn out to be identical. I went a little broader and saved HKCU but there are so many things changed that I can't narrow it down.


    A few people on the internet suggested that "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics\Shell Icon Size" is the place to make the change. If I manually change the icons and check this key, the value never changes.


    Has anyone accomplished this?




    Friday, November 21, 2008 5:49 PM


  • Hi Rob


    I don't think that the registry key you mentioned has any effect on the Vista icon settings. I think the Desktop Icons are handled through the Windows Desktop Manager (WDM) component.


    That registry key reflects the value that is set in the classic appearance properties.


    This may also be a result of the Themes and how they are handled in Vista.


    For instance, you can use the CTRL+ScrollWheel trick to change the size of the Desktop Icons, but only if you have the Aero Theme enabled. If you have the Vista Basic theme or any other theme enabled, this does not work.


    You may need to use the Windows Standard or Windows Classic theme (ugh) for this registry key to have any effect.


    Hope this helps.



    If this post helps to resolve your issue, click the Mark as Answer button at the top of this message.

    Ronnie Vernon
    Microsoft MVP
    Windows Desktop Experience
    Saturday, November 22, 2008 12:12 AM