How to add a show desktop icon to the Quick Launch toolbar in the taskbar

This is a handy little trick that I recommend for every computer user out there when you need to create a shortcut to desktop icon. Clicking on the show desktop icon will minimize every window that is open to show your desktop. How great is that? But when the desktop shortcut is missing it can get confusing for some people. You cannot just create an old desktop shortcut to show the desktop. This is a different process.

How to create a new shortcut to desktop icon

1. Open Notepad and type the following text. (or copy and paste it)

[Shell]desktop icon

See the screenshot below. I have pasted the above code into a notepad.

2. Go to the file menu at the top and choose save as from the menu.

3. Where it says “save as file type” press on the drop down arrow to change it to all files. See the screenshot below. You can click on it to see a larger picture.

4. Save the text you typed as file name Show Desktop.scf to your desktop.

5. Now the show desktop icon will be on your desktop.


Add the show desktop icon to the taskbar – shortcut to desktop

To get a show desktop icon in your Quick Launch toolbar you simply have to  Enable the Quick Launch Toolbar for Windows XP and Vista. However if you have previously had the Quick launch toolbar enabled but have deleted the show desktop icon then you only need to drag the new one you created (from the instructions above) down to the taskbar.

If the taskbar does not accept the icon then you might have the lock taskbar feature enabled. This will stop you from moving or adding to the taskbar.

Notes on creating a show desktop icon

  • You can also choose to lock the taskbar will limit the length of your Quick Launch toolbar. Give it a try.
  • It is also handy to put a shortcut to your absolute favorite webpage in the Quick launch toolbar. You need to make a shortcut on the desktop and then drag it to the Quick launch. Here’s how to create a shortcut to a webpage on your desktop.
  • This process also applies to Windows Vista. The only difference is the colors of Windows. You still right click on the taskbar to bring up the menu and choose toolbars etc etc…(as above) You can even remove icons the same way. This dialog box will appear when you want to delete an icon.

Can you live without a shortcut to desktop icon?


  1. says

    How simple it was to restore the Show Desktop icon! I deleted it accidentally and restored. It was awesome that an icon got created by just pasting some lines in notepad.

  2. rachiti says

    Thanks for the quick and dirty way to replace this. I’ve accidentally deleted the darn quick launch desktop icon about a half dozen times in the past 5 or 6 years. It’s not as frustrating when I know the answer to this quirky problem is just a click away :)

  3. F.alena says

    Man, you are a genius! I had accidentally deleted my desktop icon and was going crazy… thanks a lot!!