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:

XP Desktop (Deskview)

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:

Vista Desktop (Deskview)

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 Replies to “DOWNLOAD: Deskview”

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  2. Hey, nice work! I saw a jpeg of a desktop that looked really busy and it had your icons, so I wondered if I could find something to make mine smaller. It works great!

  3. Thanks for this. Icons on the desktop are a listview with icons set as the default view. To illustrate this, open Windows Explorer and View the right pane as Icons, then Tile, then List. Deskview changes the view from Icon to List.

    Another program that that performs what Deskview does and offers much more is D-Color XP. It is tiny in size too. Check it out.

  4. Jim:
    You are so gracious to continue to host this utility. I have linked to your page for it countless times. I realize it’s only out of the goodness of your heart, but if you would set up a paypal donation link, I’m sure some people (myself included) would like to show some gratitude. I believe in putting my money where my mouth is by repaying such kindness. Deskview makes the screen I look at every day more pleasant.

  5. Wonderful find!!! I normally hide all my desktop icons, but turn them on when I’m on a downloading spree. This makes everything look nice and neat. Nothing worse than a cluttered desktop.

  6. In order to change size in vista with icon hold ctrl and scroll your mouse (make sure desktop is left-clicked once and active) it will shrink your icons, now run the .exe of this soft and it will look nice.

  7. I just have to say…. I have wanted this program for SO DARN LONG! Not really so badly that I’d go out and comb the internet, but it was one of those things that would “tickle” the back of my brain when my desktop would get to cluttered or my projects would get intensive/heated… Translation = When I’d get busy, i’d bury or loose files on my desktop… sad. This is the perfect item!!

  8. I have been using Pistachio for about two years and it provides small desktop icons along with dozens of other desktop and mouse features. It is FREEWARE and can be added to your STARTUP so that it functions at bootup. Free at:
    I’ll try some of the other progs mentioned to see if they are better. I only needed small icons, so if they work as well, then I may change, since that is the only function I use in Pistachio. So far, for small icon progs, I’ve found Pistachio, Deskview, Win Tidy (but it warns you not to use on XP SP2 and higher, but heck, I’ll try it), and Verve.

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  10. Pingback: Deskview?????????
  11. Thank U Sir,

    But my problem still there constant. i could not get back my icon back in normal size. it look like nagetive picture and overlaped.

    give me a solution.


  12. Sudhanshu: have you deleted the file SHELLICONCACHE and rebooted? that should fix the problem.

    If you have TweakUI installed, there is also a “repair icons” option that should fix it (note: all it does is delete and recreate SHELLICONCACHE, which you could easily do yourself).

  13. For Vista: hold CTRL and use your mouse scroll wheel to change the icon size, you can make them as small as normal list view using this method.

  14. Its ok untill the desktop is refreshed
    But when the desktop is refreshed the names of icons overlap on other icons

  15. Indeed, this app is one of the nicest windows tweaks 😛 😉

    Its just a simple desktop mod, but it gives so much free space!

    Very good to get comfortable with this gross interface that is windows X.XX (and mac, and linux) (so gross:P )

    The only crap with deskview is that it doesnt cut filenames’s lenght if there are 2 columns. (and if it ever gets to do it, i realy whish it wont make filenames ending with “…”) 😛

    Yet, having long filenames has good sides too;)

    So yah, if someone reads this and cares, please give 1000$ to the software’s author 😛

  16. Deskview doesn’t work with Windows 7 RC 64bit

    I had gotten it to work with Windows 7 Beta 64bit, but something must have changed.

  17. deepdvd…

    I also had problems with Windows 7 RC 64-bit and DeskView.exe.

    UAC is turned off already. I used the Control Panel GUI and tried the registry method also.

    What steps did you take to get it to work?

  18. I just upgraded to Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit (MSDN subscriber), and I can’t remember doing anything but turning off UAC to get deskview to work in RC.

    Sorry Jay, but I’m in the same boat now. I’ll post here if I get it working again.

  19. Jay, I figured out what I did to get it to work in Windows 7. It probably doesn’t have anything to do with disabling UAC either.

    On both the Beta and RC, I had removed the watermark on the desktop that showed the version by using the tool listed (with download link) below. As a positive side-effect, it was also what made Deskview.exe work!

    Just follow the directions.


  20. Apparently, I was too hasty on my solution. It only works temporarily after you log off after running RemoveWatermarkX64.exe.

    After rebooting, it won’t work anymore.

  21. Apparently, I was too hasty on my solution. It only works temporarily after you log off after running RemoveWatermarkX64.exe.

    After rebooting, it won’t work anymore.

    i agree that……..

  22. Pingback: Windows 7 Ultimate (64 bit)
  23. I had problems getting this to work in Windows 7 x64 Ultimate but finally figured out something that works for me.

    Instead of running the file directly, I created a shortcut to the .exe and ran that.

    I put the exe in C:\Program Files(x86)\Deskview\ Then I put the shortcut in the startup folder for Win 7. C:\Users\YourProfile\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windws\Start Menu\Programs\Startup\

    This way it starts up automatically when I log in

  24. It didn’t work for me on Windows 7 until I went to Personalize -> Desktop Icons, changed those around (I previously had them all off), and re-ran the program.

  25. My Deskview no longer works for some reason, I see the cmd flash like usual but it does nothing anymore

    winxp sp3

  26. please tell me how to ROMOVE THIS FUCKING THING !!!!!!!!!!!!
    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, My desktop become so UGLY LIKE shit

    delete is not useful
    HElp !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. @kyoiroi: Sorry you don’t like it. You don’t have to do anything to “remove” it: just double-click on the app to return your desktop to the previous settings, then delete the DESKVIEW.EXE file.

  28. @Chad: THANKS!

    I just switched to Windows 7 from the RC, and I can’t believe how simple it was to get this to work.

    All you have to do to get deskview.exe to work is…
    Right-click the desktop, Personalize -> Change desktop icons AND uncheck “Allow themes to change desktop icons”.

    After you uncheck that, deskview works perfectly!

  29. I have been using Deskview ever since I found it on this site. IMHO this is an AWESOME desktop tweek. I REALLY like the way the file name are fully displayed (I have lots of files that all start the same and the mouse over is annoying to wait for) and how they never overlap and I get them all close together rather than all over the desktop. Wish you knew who wrote the code I would very gladly register and pay for it (maybe not $1000 but definately $20). Thanks for the Win7 fix. I was depressed that I thought MS had “broken” another great program, but your fix worked.

  30. 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

  31. 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?

  32. 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.

  33. 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!

  34. 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

  35. 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.

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

  37. 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.

  38. 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

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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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