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” or “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 of the replies 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:
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:
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!