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Desktop icons moving on their own!

Tags:
  • Desktop Icons
  • Windows 7
Last response: in Windows 7
February 29, 2012 1:27:07 PM

So, as the title says, my desktop icons wont stay put. This only just happened 2 days ago, Sunday my icons were where I put them, and not moving on their own. Suddenly Monday they are auto arranged on the left side in no particular order.

So, what is causing this?

First let me say, I have already checked, auto arrange is NOT on. I've also not right clicked my desktop and clicked sort by >. This problem is happening on boot up, I can move an icon to a different spot, reboot and it will be moved back to the left side of my screen. I do have a dual monitor setup, I have a 22" asus monitor hooked up through HDMI to DVI (HDMI end is on the monitor), and then a 40" tv hooked up from HDMI to HDMI. Both monitors are running into a single HIS 6950 2GB model video card. I've had this working fine since last September.

The only coincidence I can think of that may have caused this is my graphic drivers. If my memory serves me correctly I updated from 12.11 to 12.12 for the ATI card Sunday night after it popped up and bugged me and I decided I wasnt lazy enough to have it remind me again a week later. So I went ahead and updated, all worked fine, shut down and booted pc back up the next day (Monday) and sure enough icons moved. either thats the problem or it's a huge coincidence. I'm going to roll the drivers back to the 12.11 version to test this theory but I was curious if anyone else had heard reports of this, or even experienced this problem themselves, and if so was it the same 12.12 drivers I mentioned or something else? And obviously if they had this problem if they found a solution?

I'll report back with my findings on the driver rollback and whether or not that was it.

More about : desktop icons moving

a c 352 $ Windows 7
February 29, 2012 2:35:37 PM

I suggest you scan for malware (get malwarebytes from malwarebytes.org if you don't have it) and do a full scan with your anti-virus application. Remove all both apps find.

Good luck!
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February 29, 2012 7:32:32 PM

Malware Bytes, Spybot S&D and Microsoft Security Essentials brought back nothing more than cookie entries.
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Related resources
March 21, 2012 9:07:13 AM

If using windows 7 right click on the desktop go into personalize, click on change desk top icons on the left of the screen, a new box opens un-tick the Allow themes to change desktop icons box... problem solved.

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March 28, 2012 12:55:45 AM

davwee said:
If using windows 7 right click on the desktop go into personalize, click on change desk top icons on the left of the screen, a new box opens un-tick the Allow themes to change desktop icons box... problem solved.



I have double and triple checked all desktop sorting options via right clicking the desktop as well as the method you mentioned. Nothing wrong there. Either way, this can be marked as problem solved, simply because it randomly decided to work on it's own again. No driver changes no setting changes. One day it wasnt working, next day it worked, no problems since.

I blame Microsoft for soddy coding.
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October 13, 2012 1:55:24 PM

davwee said:
If using windows 7 right click on the desktop go into personalize, click on change desk top icons on the left of the screen, a new box opens un-tick the Allow themes to change desktop icons box... problem solved.


Thank you soooo much-This helped!
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October 15, 2012 4:15:11 AM

davwee said:
If using windows 7 right click on the desktop go into personalize, click on change desk top icons on the left of the screen, a new box opens un-tick the Allow themes to change desktop icons box... problem solved.

Brilliant - Thanks!

Or atleast we'll see if that stops MY desktop icons from moving around. :) 

Dora
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October 1, 2014 6:16:47 PM

This did not help for me. The problem is very intermittent. I can go weeks without it happening, but then it starts acting up again. My work PC does the same thing occasionally. I have auto arrange off as well as having the "allow themes to change..." box unchecked. Not malware or virus. There is a Microsoft Knowledge Base solution for "Icons changing" but it does not mention moving.
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October 28, 2014 10:12:36 PM

I also have Windows 7. My problem is repeatable, but only when the second monitor is connected. In that case, each time I boot the icons are placed in the same (wrong) arrangement, no matter how carefully I arranged them prior to my previous shut down. Per davwee's suggestion, I un-checked "Allow themes to change desktop icons" but that did not solve this problem.
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October 29, 2014 12:34:20 AM

Rachella_13: This has nothing to do with my browser (and its cache, cookies ad browser history). It is an operating system issue. But please tell me more about your "desktop icon cache." I didn't know there was such a thing.
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November 4, 2014 10:17:49 AM

Okay guys! My friend was having a similar problem, and I have two possible solutions:

SOLUTION 1 STEPS:

1. Right Click the Desktop.
2. In the Drop-Down Menu, Click the option Refresh.
3. Go to the Start Menu, and Shutdown the computer.
4. Reboot the computer.

If that doesn't work, try this:

SOLUTION 2 STEPS: (You will need to run as Administrator).

1. Press Ctrl + Alt + Del to open up the Task Manager
2. In the Processess tab, go to the "explorer.exe" process.
3. Left-click the Explorer.exe process to select it.
4. At the bottom of the Taskmanager, click the "End Process" Button.

IMPORTANT: This will end the Windows Explorer process. Your interface will disappear. Do not freak out. Windows Explorer runs the interfaces in Windows 7, so do not freak out and do NOT close Taskmanager!

5. At the top of the Taskmanager, click "File."
6. In the drop-down menu, click "New Task (Run...)."
7. This will open the "Create New Task" window.
8. Now, in the "Open" entry field type "explorer.exe."
9. Press OK. This restarts the Windows Explorer process. Your interface will reappear.

Hopefully one of these two solutions can help solve your problems! I suggest being careful with the second solution in case you are not familiar with the Taskmanager or ending/starting processes or the Windows Explorer process. If neither of these solutions help, I am sorry, but there might be a deeper, more technical issue that is affecting your computer.
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November 7, 2014 5:32:11 PM

I clicked to respond to this thread (BELOW), not the one above: I was going to ask how do I make sure that I am the administrator in the solution suggested below?
Orcrist90 said:
Okay guys! My friend was having a similar problem, and I have two possible solutions:

SOLUTION 1 STEPS:

1. Right Click the Desktop.
2. In the Drop-Down Menu, Click the option Refresh.
3. Go to the Start Menu, and Shutdown the computer.
4. Reboot the computer.

If that doesn't work, try this:

SOLUTION 2 STEPS: (You will need to run as Administrator).

1. Press Ctrl + Alt + Del to open up the Task Manager
2. In the Processess tab, go to the "explorer.exe" process.
3. Left-click the Explorer.exe process to select it.
4. At the bottom of the Taskmanager, click the "End Process" Button.

IMPORTANT: This will end the Windows Explorer process. Your interface will disappear. Do not freak out. Windows Explorer runs the interfaces in Windows 7, so do not freak out and do NOT close Taskmanager!

5. At the top of the Taskmanager, click "File."
6. In the drop-down menu, click "New Task (Run...)."
7. This will open the "Create New Task" window.
8. Now, in the "Open" entry field type "explorer.exe."
9. Press OK. This restarts the Windows Explorer process. Your interface will reappear.

Hopefully one of these two solutions can help solve your problems! I suggest being careful with the second solution in case you are not familiar with the Taskmanager or ending/starting processes or the Windows Explorer process. If neither of these solutions help, I am sorry, but there might be a deeper, more technical issue that is affecting your computer.


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November 7, 2014 9:03:41 PM

Orcrist90, neither of your suggestions help me. What evidence do you have to support either of them? What exactly was the "similar" problem your friend had, and did he have any success following them? In particular, what do your steps change so that the icons will never be scrambled again?
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November 24, 2014 5:03:40 PM

Hii.
A have the similar problem. The only solution I found for now is to switch off the Theme service in the service panel (right click My Computer, them click Manage). But it has some issues - Desktop view becomes a kind of old-fashioned.
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December 6, 2014 5:29:00 AM

My icons started moving after I disconnected 2nd monitor and now only using main with hdmi cable. I leave icons in left side of the desktop, but after reboot they more to the right side. Tried all the suggestions above, none works. What it could be? Any suggestions?
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December 6, 2014 10:47:03 PM

Orcrist90 said:
Okay guys! My friend was having a similar problem, and I have two possible solutions:

SOLUTION 1 STEPS:
<.....>

SOLUTION 2 STEPS: (You will need to run as Administrator).
<.....>


Ditto - both of these steps are simply stopping a process then restarting it, having changed nothing about the actual process. So it reads the same files it always reads when you turn the computer on, and launches the same processes in the same unstable state.

Anyway - it seems to be related to monitor and/or graphics driver for me?

I'm out of my realm here, but other symptoms I see that appear related to the shuffling icons are:

- It happens intermittently when my monitor goes into standby, ~1x/month as someone said
---> perhaps related to power management?

- Doesn't seem to be related to leaving on for long periods of time
---> probably not a memory leak; restarting your processes would free and re-establish memory but it is only a temporary workaround that you now have to maintain

- If windows are open when my monitor goes into standby, Win7 *always* resizes them into nice small rectangles and cascade them from the upper left corner (I never maximize my windows)

- When I cold boot my machine my monitor flashes an error (not the OS, the monitor) saying the resolution needs to be set to 1920x1080.
---> desktop | rt. click | screen resolution = "1920x1080 (recommended)"
---> like Win7 isn't making that information available, or it's mismatched by a pixel

I just checked my graphics driver - HP-something - and it had an update to download and install.
---> Unpublished, required data Win7 needs to 'talk' and no one is passing?

Another work-around is a desktop organizing application. I was running one (called Fences a few years ago, not sure if it's around now) and it stopped the random shuffling of icons. However Aero + Win7 (no widgets) PLUS the app was too much of a resource hog.

Now if Flash runs I might as well go to lunch before my mouse comes back... ;) 

Just curious if anyone has noticed any other correlations around graphics-like touch-points.
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January 29, 2015 1:25:25 AM

xrtpatriot said:
So, as the title says, my desktop icons wont stay put. This only just happened 2 days ago, Sunday my icons were where I put them, and not moving on their own. Suddenly Monday they are auto arranged on the left side in no particular order.

So, what is causing this?

First let me say, I have already checked, auto arrange is NOT on. I've also not right clicked my desktop and clicked sort by >. This problem is happening on boot up, I can move an icon to a different spot, reboot and it will be moved back to the left side of my screen. I do have a dual monitor setup, I have a 22" asus monitor hooked up through HDMI to DVI (HDMI end is on the monitor), and then a 40" tv hooked up from HDMI to HDMI. Both monitors are running into a single HIS 6950 2GB model video card. I've had this working fine since last September.

The only coincidence I can think of that may have caused this is my graphic drivers. If my memory serves me correctly I updated from 12.11 to 12.12 for the ATI card Sunday night after it popped up and bugged me and I decided I wasnt lazy enough to have it remind me again a week later. So I went ahead and updated, all worked fine, shut down and booted pc back up the next day (Monday) and sure enough icons moved. either thats the problem or it's a huge coincidence. I'm going to roll the drivers back to the 12.11 version to test this theory but I was curious if anyone else had heard reports of this, or even experienced this problem themselves, and if so was it the same 12.12 drivers I mentioned or something else? And obviously if they had this problem if they found a solution?

I'll report back with my findings on the driver rollback and whether or not that was it.


i think i know what is it....you have lower resolution in some game so icons move...try just putting same resolution in game like in win7
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April 15, 2015 3:28:44 PM

davwee said:
If using windows 7 right click on the desktop go into personalize, click on change desk top icons on the left of the screen, a new box opens un-tick the Allow themes to change desktop icons box... problem solved.



I know a heck of a lot about computers but your simple suggestion fixed the problem. So I just want to thank you for fixing my icon problem. On my brand new LG 34UM95 34" 21/9 3440-1440 IPS monitor hooked up to my 2600k and SLi'ed EVGA 770 4gb Classified cards every time the monitor would wake from sleep mode or after I turned off monitor and then turned it back on it would rearrange my desktop icons and resize and move my windows. Like you said unticking Allow themes to change desktop icons box fixed it like a charm on my windows 7 64 bit.

I am hoping I can return the favor in some kinda way so here goes nothing.

Do you know about core parking, especially in windows 7? well it is a power saving feature microsoft implemented to save power on laptops by parking CPU cores that are not needed or the program can get away without the core and finish it with less cores while leaving a core or more parked and doing nothing. I can see where MS is coming from on Laptops and the like, but it has absolutely no place on the desktop. I found out about it when I was running the same 2600k system with 2 EVGA SuperClockedGTX 560TI's in SLI playing BF3 and I was getting a nasty stutter during gameplay. So I did a google search about my problem and someone with the same problem came up regarding core parking and how when he disabled it his stutter went away in BF3. So I went ahead and disabled core parking and whala stutter completely gone and my system felt different NOTE: temps did not go up at all and I monitor them. A 2600k running between 4500 and 5ghz should feel like silk at all times unless a HDD bottleneck comes into effect. But it felt smoother and slightly more responsive. So I started thinking about it and it made perfect sense, If 4 or more threads are parked and then needed it is going to take some time to unpark the needed cores, It may take nanoseconds but I was able to feel a difference so I delved deeper into core parking and the benefits of disabling it and I found only a single very short article that had Win RAR benchmarks and Intel CPUs from Lynfield up to Sandy Bridge E had huge increases in performance of 25-40% which is nothing short of amazing but it did not include anything else worth mentioning beside what I have previously stated.
I have a friend with a AMD FX8320 system running win 7 and I mentioned it to him over teamspeak while playing BF4 and right away we disabled his core parking feature and apon returning to the same multiplayer map with the same amount of players he insisted he was getting a good 10FPS better at all times including average lowest and highest FPS with a 280x card. He also stated the system felt different just like I did.
There is a program called core park that will disable core parking without going into your registry and will disable it or re-enable it if you want. It also opens up the Core parking mumbo jumbo in your power settings in the control panel.
I am a avid TechReport reader and i posted on their forums about disabling core parking with less than ideal responses in 70% of the readers with around 30% agreeing. But there was a lot of people saying it was snake oil and others who agreed with them but in the same post stating that Microsoft disabled core parking by default in windows 8/8.1. If that was the case then why did MS disable it? Oxymoron posts if you ask me. Even if I was running Win 8/8.1 I would damn well make sure core parking is disabled. It is like your CPU is a V8 engine I do not want any cylinders disabled and only enabled when I need them...that is how i look at it.
Well I hope this is helpful and if not feel free to shout back and thanks again for fixing the problem even though you posted it back in 2012 :) 

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June 14, 2015 1:17:47 PM

I want to thank all the participants here: I have read endless threads on Microsoft boards and not found either a rational explanation for this "phenomenon" nor a fix anyone can prove out - the above is a much better discussion and set of trial-fixes.

For others suffering this maddening issue, I will add a couple of helpful explanatory points that clarify the issue and potential fixes.... terminology-wise this is a tough one to run web searches on - brings up lots of confusing topics:

1. There is a big difference in cause/effect/solution between: A) Problems occurring from use of 2 monitors, especially laptops switching between onboard display and external monitor., B) Problems occurring with use of only 1 display [period].

2. This is not about "Auto Arrange" or "Align Icon" options on the Windows desktop so far as I can tell. The problem will ignore/circumvent both of those options [i.e. all possible combinations of those items on/off]
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July 18, 2015 1:08:58 AM

cognus said:
I want to thank all the participants here: I have read endless threads on Microsoft boards and not found either a rational explanation for this "phenomenon" nor a fix anyone can prove out - the above is a much better discussion and set of trial-fixes.

For others suffering this maddening issue, I will add a couple of helpful explanatory points that clarify the issue and potential fixes.... terminology-wise this is a tough one to run web searches on - brings up lots of confusing topics:

1. There is a big difference in cause/effect/solution between: A) Problems occurring from use of 2 monitors, especially laptops switching between onboard display and external monitor., B) Problems occurring with use of only 1 display [period].

2. This is not about "Auto Arrange" or "Align Icon" options on the Windows desktop so far as I can tell. The problem will ignore/circumvent both of those options [i.e. all possible combinations of those items on/off]


I agree. This is about a major bug in Windows. It simply doesn't respect the user's choice of MAIN MONITOR. Does Linux work with multiple monitors? Windows certainly doesn't and I'm about to dump it.
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July 22, 2015 5:04:45 AM

Yesterday did fresh install of win 10. Installed all drivers programs and antivirus. Started pc today and all icons moved to the left side i move them and after refresh they again moved to left side. Restarted pc, restarted explorer still same ...
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September 19, 2015 6:12:43 PM

SIMPLE METHOD OF AVOIDING YOUR ICONS MOVING WITH MULTIPLE DESKTOPS:

1- Get all of your icons where you want them.
2- Right click the desktop. Select "View". Uncheck the "Align icons to grid" box.
3- If you want to move icons around later just recheck the box, move your icons, then uncheck it again.

Happy Times!
- OneFreeMan
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September 21, 2015 6:25:19 AM

Stefag40 said:
Yesterday did fresh install of win 10. Installed all drivers programs and antivirus. Started pc today and all icons moved to the left side i move them and after refresh they again moved to left side. Restarted pc, restarted explorer still same ...


I have the same issue with desktop icons and I was thinking to reinstall my operating system (W10)... So this is not a solution...?
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September 30, 2015 6:36:29 PM

I have the same problem as @Cristian_1 and @Stefag40! Every time I refresh my desktop, icons move to left side, even if I sort them by myself, they just go back after each refresh. I've checked some of other sites, most of them said it was virus and I should download RogueKiller application which would find the virus (some hkey) and delete it....but it didn't even find it so, can someone help me/us ? If I won't get any help, I'll just create a new topic, because this one is kind of old and doesn't seem to bring any attention/help.
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December 12, 2015 7:53:48 AM

OneFreeMan_1337 said:
SIMPLE METHOD OF AVOIDING YOUR ICONS MOVING WITH MULTIPLE DESKTOPS:

1- Get all of your icons where you want them.
2- Right click the desktop. Select "View". Uncheck the "Align icons to grid" box.
3- If you want to move icons around later just recheck the box, move your icons, then uncheck it again.

Happy Times!
- OneFreeMan


Thanks.. this solution probably? worked.
Also installed Desklock 1.2 (freeware) which as the name suggests locks the Icons.

Merry Christmas.

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December 12, 2015 1:15:53 PM

I responded to this thread over a year ago. I have been having the problem on and off this whole time. I have tried all of the above a (a few times) with no luck. Sometimes it seems to help, but the problem is so intermittent that it is hard to tell without waiting for a month or more.

One thing to note. My problem is NOT where all of my icons move. It is just one. I understand about changing resolutions and how the operating system must rearrange the desktop to get everything to fit. This is not the deal. It is always (I think) the latest Word file that I have edited. It has happened with different versions of Office and with XP and Windows 7.
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December 15, 2015 11:35:03 AM

This is not a solution, but possibly in the right direction. This happens only on my pc when HDMI is connected, as well it Auto aligns to grid, no matter what is checked AFTER SCREEN IS CLOSED, other then a refresh it always stays. Stays all the time with HDMI disconnected.
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December 23, 2015 5:57:10 PM

I'm battling this icon rearranging thing in W10. I have dual 4k monitors hooked up, with my left monitor as my main screen / desktop. The monitor flickers briefly, then all my icons scatter to the left side of the main screen. I also notice that the W10 start button no longer works after this happens.. with the exception of the right click functionality. Only way to get the start menu working again is to reboot. Ugh.. I've battled this problem since day one of W10 and have given up on organizing my icons!!
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December 23, 2015 7:15:55 PM

danxmanly said:
I'm battling this icon rearranging thing in W10. I have dual 4k monitors hooked up, with my left monitor as my main screen / desktop. The monitor flickers briefly, then all my icons scatter to the left side of the main screen. I also notice that the W10 start button no longer works after this happens.. with the exception of the right click functionality. Only way to get the start menu working again is to reboot. Ugh.. I've battled this problem since day one of W10 and have given up on organizing my icons!!
it's probably b/c u r connecting through HDMI, once its disconnected they will prob stay still, happens to me too, I gave up no biggy. It's b/c the screen res. Changes.

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