Restore Show Desktop icon in Windows 7 and Vista

By default, the Quick Launch toolbar comes with a Show Desktop button, which allows you to quickly hide all open windows and access stuff on your desktop, and then quickly bring them all back when you’re done.

But what if your Quick Launch toolbar doesn’t have one? If your Show Desktop icon got deleted in Windows XP, you could always restore the Show Desktop icon easily.

Unlike most other toolbar buttons, the Show Desktop button isn’t a Windows Shortcut. Rather, it’s a Shell Command File (.scf), which is really just a plain-text file containing a special command Windows understands. To create a new .scf file, open your favorite plain-text editor (or Notepad), and type the following five lines:


Save the file as Show Desktop.scf (or any other name, provided that you include the .scf filename extension) anywhere you like, including your desktop.


You should see the icon appear on your desktop:


Isn’t this a neat way to learn shell commands? Watch out for more shell command tips here in Help Desk Geek.

Ben Carigtan shows you how it’s done!

Comments [11]

  1. Bill says:

    Excuse me but if I can't see the desktop how do I click the show desktop icon?

  2. T Mac says:

    I hate the new Show Desktop icon in Windows 7, it's all the way to the right and a pain in the butt to click. I prefer the Windows XP show desktop icon on my quick launch bar. Thanks.

  3. […] Although a minor component in Windows XP, the Show Desktop icon was one of those features that many users took for granted. Starting with Windows 7, Microsoft offers an alternative to the Show Desktop icon that isn’t quite as convenient as the original. Luckily, you can manually create a Show Desktop icon in Windows 7. […]

  4. jjsinger says:

    how do you put it on the taskbar? is that possible?

  5. JT says:

    Thank you I learned something new. I wonder can these commands be modified slightly to make other Icon commands???

  6. فرید says:

    thank you .. i had really missed that icon!

  7. ahsiang says:

    The small rectangular on the right most of taskbar is the "show desktop" button! Am using Windows7 Enterprise.

  8. laney says:

    Thanks for this…… I stupidly deleted the icon and really missed it. Simple job now to drag it to my quick launch toolbar and voila!! All sorted

  9. Amit says:

    Thanks ahsiang …that did the trick

  10. hi people says:

    Just do Windows + M

  11. anthony says:

    I hope I see where this win 7 is "better" Right now I can't stand it.
    XP seemed more user friendly.

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