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Duplicate Icons in the Desktop - Windows 2000/XP

Author: David Candy
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Every time when you place a file or a shortcut on your Desktop, you get 2 icons. If one icon is deleted, other will also be deleted. This problem is caused by dragging the desktop folder about in the person's profile folder or All Users. Or, changed the User Shell Folders value in the registry incorrectly.


  • Open Registry Editor and navigate to the locations below

  • Backup the registry before modifying it. See here.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ User Shell Folders

  • Double-click Desktop and set it to %USERPROFILE%\Desktop
  • Navigate to this location:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ User Shell Folders

  • Set Common Desktop to %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Desktop
  • Close Registry Editor and restart.

More Information

The desktop is composed of two folders, one for the User profile, and one for all users in common. This problem occurs if both are set to the same folder. The Desktop is a special folder which displays the icons from both the above locations.

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