DOWNLOAD: Deskview

One of my favorite programs of the Windows 2000 era was a utility called SetShellView. This little app tweaked the Windows desktop, making your icons appear as “large icons”, “small icons” or as “list view” or “detailed view” – just like any other folder in Windows.

Sadly, this program was not updated for Windows XP.

I searched high and low for a replacement. And for the longest time I couldn’t find one. But one day I found a post at some now-forgotten message board. Someone else loved SetShellView too, and was asking about a replacement. One reply to that post was the cryptic, two-word “Try this:”, with a direct link to a program called deskview.exe. I downloaded it and used it for the rest of my Windows XP days.

As mentioned, deskview.exe changes your desktop icons from “large icons” to “small icons”. Unlike SetShellView, Deskview doesn’t have any options; you just double-click it to change the icons, then double-click it again to return your desktop to the default setting:

Deskview - XP

You can also put a shortcut to deskview.exe in your Startup folder. Deskview doesn’t remember your settings, so if you set it up and reboot your computer (or if Explorer crashes) you’ll need to double-click on deskview.exe and re-organize your desktop icons again.

Deskview works in Windows Vista, but requires some tweaking. By default, it will only shrink your existing icons by a certain percentage. For example, in the following picture the icons were originally set at “Medium icons” before deskview.exe was run:

Deskview - Vista

To really shrink your Vista desktop icons, you need to hold down the CTRL key, then scroll the mouse wheel (this will shrink – or enlarge – the desktop icons), and then run DESKVIEW.EXE to shrink them even further.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I am not the author of deskview.exe, nor do I know how to contact the author of the software. I have no idea if this software is licensed, and if so, what terms are provided in said license. If you are the author of deskview and want me to remove it, or credit you with its authorship, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Download Deskview
11kb, zipped

148 thoughts on “DOWNLOAD: Deskview”

  1. That’s great idea, but I will wait/expect an enancement of this tool e.g. in combination with an additional utility like “Save Desktop”.
    So I can change the view of the desktop and store or restore it with “save desktop”. Why?
    The reason to wish non OS utilit-y/ies is that the user-s want avoid numerous click to have the wished results.
    Maybe we can find the developper or one of you can reach the developper of “save desktop in order to enance own application/tweeck with “Deskview”
    Best regards. Arny006

  2. Hi,
    Make desktop icons have the “list view” or “deatailed view” is the only tweak I’d like to implement on my Vista-PC.
    But rather than installing an application, I’d prefer to run a command or change some register key or value.
    Do you know how to do it?

  3. This bit of software is great on XP, Ive just discovered another app to use in conjunction with Deskview called Fences, and combining the two its almost exactly what I want. However Fences doesn’t display correctly as the icons are left to right instead of up and down at the moment. I have requested it for a future feature addition, so hopefully they will combine the two.

  4. Works fine on my Windows 7 64-bit.

    Does anyone know how to configure it so that more text can be seen? I have really long file names and instead of seeing “…” at the end, I’d like to see the entire file name. Thanks!

  5. just started running win7, noticed deskview.exe doesnt minimize desktop icons completely to their smallest size… so i’ve ran “D-color Xp” program first
    (another desktop tweaker with deskview option) …
    in settings set “tile icons”
    then applied deskview.exe
    and achieved same icon sorting like in XP

  6. Well, Deskview has never supported list view. SetShellView did, but it only works (worked?) in Windows 2000. And it’s not my app, so I can’t update it.

  7. A lot of people to be looking a gift horse in the mouth regarding this app. Thanks for keeping it alive.

  8. It seems as if the latest update of Windows 8.1 has disabled this wonderful program. :-( Running deskview now does not change my desktop icons.

  9. Mr. Jim Cofer and others who visit this old thread: Jim, thanks, use DV and it’s a real productivity gainer for me – thanks for your post. But the reboot problem is a nagging concern. I’m going to post in How-To-Geek in the Computer Help category. If I find a work-around I’ll post here too. ~ guido, Fort Worth, TX

  10. Ok Jim and followers, after some more searching I’ve found what I was looking for. It’s called “IconRestorer.” See for one place to review and download. Note – the “CON” on that page is correct but to restore after rebooting is a single click on the IconRestorer and a second click to close the application interface. Two clicks and you’re set (for free). They ask for a donation if you want it to auto-restore without intervention. That seems fair to me. I’m going to keep test driving it – if it’s stable I intend to donate and enjoy the automated function and to support their work. ~ Guido from Fort Worth, TX.

  11. Update to my post in Nov 2015. Been test driving IconRestorer. I made a small donation to try the full version. Seems to do what it says it will except upon restoring I’m getting icons on top of icons. I reported the bug – no response from developer (twice). Disappointed they haven’t responded. But until I find something better I’ll stick with Deskview and IconRestorer.

  12. works fine on my version of windows 10. i used to use this on xp as well and looked for it again. glad its still here.

  13. No longer works properly (with my PC) post Creators Update for Win 10. Icons will auto arrange with spacing as if they are large icons.

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