Restore the Show Desktop Icon In Windows 7

Windows XP came with the Show Desktop icon, a component that many users got used to. It helped as a make easy tool for accessing the desktop while working on some other open window. On clicking on the icon, the window got minimized and the desktop appeared for easy access to the user.

However, Microsoft came up with a different alternative in Windows 7, one that is not as user friendly as it was in Windows XP. We’ll see why it is so and how we can fix this up.

The Alternative Way in Windows 7

To the extreme right bottom corner of the Windows 7 taskbar, just after the time and date indicator, is a small rectangular sectioned area whose function is not indicated unless you bring your mouse pointer over it. This area acts similarly as the Show Desktop icon in Windows XP. Clicking on the above specified area, minimizes all active open windows and brings up the desktop for easy access to the user. Clicking on it again, restores the open windows as they were before. While this is a good implementation, it gets overlooked easily, as the small section remains unlabeled and unused.


If you are more familiar and find it more easy to have a Show Desktop icon as in XP, you can always create one and use it in Windows 7 for easier access to your desktop.

Creating a Show Desktop Icon in Windows 7

Start by clicking on the Start menu and go to All Programs. Click on Accessories and then select Notepad.


A Notepad file opens. Copy and paste the following code in the Notepad file :

[Shell] Command=2
[Taskbar] Command=ToggleDesktop

Note: There should not be any space between the “comma” and “3” in the 3rd line of the code.


Click on “File”  menu of the Notepad window and select “Save As…”. Save the Notepad file as “Show Desktop.scf” and select desktop as the location.


A file named “Show Desktop.scf” appears on the desktop. Creating the file in Windows 7 is complete.


Using this Show Desktop icon :

Now, leaving your created file on the desktop isn’t really going to help as you have to minimize every window to access it. For easy access you can either pin this file to the Start menu, or add it as a toolbar in the taskbar. To pin it to the Start menu just drag the file to the “Start” icon. Windows automatically pins it to the Start menu.


To add this file as a tool in the system tray

  • Create a folder in any location of your computer. Name it as Show Desktop.
  • Copy the file, you’ve created, “Show Desktop.scf”.
  • Right click on the taskbar and select Toolbar>New toolbar.
  • Select the created “Show Desktop.scf” file on the desktop to add it as a toolbar.


Now you can easily access your desktop while working in an open window by either opening the Start menu and selecting Show Desktop, or by simply clicking on the Show Desktop icon in the toolbar. Users familiar with Windows XP will find this very user-friendly as it is easy to access your desktop now in Windows7.

Note: The created file must be saved with a “.scf” extension and not the default “.txt” one.


Tanmay Ahmed is the administrator as well as the owner of the tech blog TechsGig where he regularly writes about computer tips & tricks, OS hacks, free online web tools and much more. In real life he is a student of computer science from Kolkata,India and he is very much passionate about being a professional blogger. He is here to share his knowledge that he gained from his student & blogging life.

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