Save And Restore Desktop Icon Positions & Layout From Context Menu

There are a couple of reasons why you would want to save positions of desktop icons and layout on your PC. Maybe you have positioned icons in a custom way and don’t want other users to disturb it; or maybe you want to have a tidy desktop and don’t want to mess up with the current positions.

With default settings, you can’t save desktop icon positions in Windows, at least in current versions of Windows. However, one can get this functionality in Windows with the the help of third-party tools.

There are plenty of free tools available for this job. The problem with most of the tools is that you need to launch them every time you want to save or restore icon positions and layout. In the past, we reviewed a couple of tools that help you save and restore desktop icon positions.

This time around, we have a unique program that works as a shell extension for XP, Vista and the latest Windows 7.

save and restore deskstop icon positions

Desktop Restore is a shell extension that integrates into desktop context menu to record the layout and positions of icons and programs on the desktop so that you can restore it later. The extension can save more than one custom layout which comes in handy especially if you have enough icons and program shortcuts on desktop.

Save and restore desktop icon positions in windows

And the best part is it also supports multi-monitor layouts. When you install Desktop Restore extension, Save desktop, Restore desktop, and Custom save/restore entries will be added to desktop context menu (right-click menu). If you think this clutters desktop context menu simply enable Display only custom menu on desktop option to see only one entry in the context menu.

Once installed, right-click on the desktop and then click Save desktop button to save icon positions. To restore, again do a right-click on desktop and then click Restore desktop option.

Overall, it’s a handy extension to keep your desktop clean and organized in a few clicks. How to change icon spacing on desktop guide might also interest you.

Download Desktop Restore



  1. Phil Olenick says

    Just discovered this last night. Thanks! I used to have a program to do this which was written decades ago, but it doesn’t work under Win 7. I limped along without it but just got a pivoting monitor – which I became reluctant to do, as doing that threw all my icon locations into a cocked hat as soon as I rotated the monitor to work on a “portrait format” photograph.

    So I did a quick search and found your latest program, which I’m using under 64 bit Win 7 Pro.

    Thanks again.

    What does save to “legacy format” mean, and what is sacrificed by doing so?

    Also, my new monitor is capable of a higher resolution than my motherboard graphics. If I get a new graphics card to achieve the higher resolution, is there a way to scale the icon layout I’m using to the higher resolution, or should I just turn off “Align to Grid” to make the transition easier?

  2. Don Gateley says

    It does a nice job of saving and restoring icons but it says that it also saves and restores the position of application windows, which it doesn’t.

    Sure wish it did. This could solve the kinky thing microsoft has about meddling with all that and collapsing everything to the main display when you switch out an extended monitor on HDMI or DisplayPort.

  3. Hilsh says

    Would be nice if it were available as a straight forward download without the download manager etc. I liked it in XP. I’d pay for it directly if it came without all the tool bars, etc. Otherwise I’ll just find something else or do without.

  4. Tinytacohead says

    Loved this feature in a certain XP version & glad to have it back – Thanks!!

  5. Boky says

    It works, you have to disable “Aglin icon to grid” in View menu on desktop. If you don’t, you have to run “restore desktop” and icons will bi eventually back.

  6. Stuart Halliday says

    Unfortunately V1.6.3.031 of Desktop restore no longer works correctly.

    When I do a restore, most of the icons are not put back in the same place!


  7. TJ Fadness says

    Thank you! Worked like a charm. I’ve been using Fences for this very purpose (not actually using the fences), but it was taking too long to open while this is nearly instant. Thank you!

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