Use Small Icons on the Windows 7 Taskbar and Desktop

With a default installation of Windows 7, you might notice a couple of thing immediately such as the large desktop icons and the large taskbar! I’m personally not a big fan of huge icons anywhere on my computer!

And to me, a large taskbar is a waste of precious real estate. I like the smallest taskbar possible without having to auto-hide, a feature I’m also not a fan of.

Here is what my desktop and taskbar looked like on Windows 7 when I first installed it:

small icons taskbar

Way too big! In this article, I’ll show you how to reduce the size of the desktop icons and the taskbar in Windows 7.

Use Small Icons on Windows 7 Taskbar

To do this, right-click on an empty space in the taskbar and click on Properties.

win 7 small taskbar

On the Taskbar tab, check the Use small icons box. Then click the OK button.

use small icons win 7

Here’s a screenshot with the new smaller taskbar in comparison to the large desktop icons.

windows 7 taskbar small

Much better! Of course, you can uncheck that box if you prefer the large icons on the taskbar.

Reduce Size of Desktop Icons in Windows 7

OK, so how about those large desktop icons? That’s also very easy to change. Simply right-click anywhere on the desktop and click on View. In the menu, you can choose how large you want the icons to be.


I prefer small icons, so that I can fit more on my desktop and see more of my wallpaper in the background. Large icons are absolutely huge and probably only useful if you have vision problems.


And now you can see I’m using small icons on the desktop and in the taskbar! Excellent!

Comments [23]

  1. The buttons are because since "touch" techonologies are developing, tablets and other stuff. They want the icons big so it's eaiser to touch.

  2. Making the taskbar icons smaller is great – I stumbled on it myself, but it also made the original 3-level Time/Day-of-week/Date into a single 'time'. Lots of screenshots show a 2-level Time/Date, but I can't figure out how to get it. Any help?

  3. Dude. Just click on your desktop, then hold down CTRL and scroll your mouse wheel up and down until you get the size you want.

  4. You can use Ctrl+Scroll on desktop to increase or decrease the size of the icons

  5. I ditto Neil. single click on one icon, hold CTRL key, roll mouse wheel, quit when right size.

  6. Guys, what about if you are trying to do this on a laptop and there is no mouse? Is there a way to increase/decrease the size of your taskbar using only the keyboard?

  7. The ctrl trick is awesome, you can even go smaller than the menu lets you for a super small icon.

    PS. It's it a little bold of Google to put their logo directly up against Microsoft's logo? They're basically saying 'we're as important on your computer, as your OS'. I don't care, but I am surprised Microsoft doesn't throw a fit about it.

  8. Neil, thank you for your help. I am 53, have had a computer for 3 years, still learning (self taught), with help from my friends such as you. So, all the help I can get is really appreciated. Thank you once again – control and scroll on the desktop. Easy when you know how! Keep up the good help work, Gentlemen and Ladies, as I need all the help I can get.

    Best regards and future good wishes.

    Steve b.

  9. Thank you so much. Really, you are Great.

  10. This is usually one of the first things I do when doing a new Windows 7 install but this is something I always forget about because it is so easy…it must be early onset whatever :-)

    Thanks for putting this out there for those of us who need these little reminders.

    Take care and have a wonderful day!


  11. Thank you! my desktop looks better ;)

  12. the icons are by accident very very massive on my laptop. I have no mouse, just touch paddy things. I cannot make small icons appear and all the text is too big to navigate. I cannont find a way out of this mess ! How can I get a fresh start on my desktop in windows 7 please.



  13. thanks for the write up, helped me a lot. +1 rep

  14. i have problem here:

    i have the windows taskbar on the left side of the desktop and i resized the icons on it. however, the taskbar size wouldn’t adjust automatically. once i did after a restart, but only for a short time. how can i make sure that the task bar adjusts to the smaller icons on it?

    thanks a lot

  15. My entire desktop becomes large for no reason, the icons and the background. I can make the icons smaller with the CTRL and the mouse but the background remains huge. It only returns to size by shutting down and restarting the computer. Do you know why this happens and how to prevent it? Thank you.

  16. I want to reduce the size of the font on the toolbars as i find it huge. Hopefully it will also reduce the size of font in the Windows Live Mail i.e. headers, outbox, quick views, generally all the graphics.

  17. He he, everytime I do a fresh install, I forget the procedure and come back to this article.

  18. Thanks for the information on how to do this. I had forgotten since I haven’t had a PC in a number of years. You walked me right through it and now I feel at home.

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