How to Undo Desktop Icons Auto Arrange? [Quick Tip]

If you’ve accidentally reset your custom desktop icons layout by enabling Auto arrange or by hitting a wrong key sequence, here is a neat trick to revert back the original desktop icons position.

Desktop icons layout remains in the memory until you initiate a logoff. During user account logoff or when restarting Explorer cleanly, the desktop icons position is saved to the registry. To quickly revert back original icon positions during the current logon session, forcible kill and restart the Explorer.exe process. To do that, press WinKey + R to launch the Run dialog, type the following command and press ENTER:

taskkill /f /IM explorer.exe

The above command works in all versions and editions of Windows. In Windows Pro editions, alternately, you can also use this command:

tskill explorer

This closes all folder windows, kills Explorer shell and restarts it . The last saved desktop icons position (written during previous logoff) is now applied. Of course, this would work only if you’ve inadvertently changed the desktop icon layout during the current logon session.

Note that gracefully exiting Explorer is not going to work in this case, as it would save the current desktop layout to the registry.

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About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 10 consecutive years from 2003 to 2012.

7 thoughts on “How to Undo Desktop Icons Auto Arrange? [Quick Tip]”

  1. Did not work in Windows 10 Home Version 1903 OS Build 18362.592.
    Went to all blue screen and stopped. Had to re-boot whole system.

    Ron L.


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