How to Restore Show Desktop Icon on Windows Quick Launch Toolbar

How can you restore “Show Desktop” Icon on Windows Quick Launch Toolbar if it has been deleted by mistake or is missing.  I use the handy Quick Launch toolbar on my windows lower navigation bar to quickly open programs that I use very often. It has quick launch shortcuts to notepad, firefox, messenger, media player etc… and my favourite and most useful shortcut is “Show Desktop”.

show desktop icon

Restore “Show Desktop” Icon

Clicking on the “Show Desktop” icon minimizes all open windows to show you the desktop. For some unknown reason, the Show desktop icon disappeared from my Quick Launch toolbar. I realized this is not like any other simple shortcut to a program. Of course I found a keyboard shortcut – pressing Windows key + M does the same job of minimizing all windows too.

In case you do not have a Quick Launch toolbar. Right click on the lower navigation bar, select Toolbars, check Quick Launch and the Toolbar should appear beside your start button. Drag and drop as many quick launch software’s as you want. Easily drag them to realign the order. Limit the length of the toobar by right click and selecting “Lock the Taskbar”.

I created a shortcut to “C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Desktop” on my desktop and dragged it to the quick launch toolbar. The same icon appeared. But when I clicked on it opened a new window showing the desktop contents. I could tweak the settings in Properties such that it opened minimized. But that is not what I wanted.

Then I found this Microsoft support article and which instructed on how to recreate the Show Desktop icon. And here are the simple steps.

1. Open Notepad
2. Copy and Paste this exactly (in multiple lines)


3. Save the file on Desktop as Show Desktop.scf (not with a .txt extension)
4. Drag the file to the Quick Launch toolbar

Click the Show Desktop Icon and it works!


  1. Hrw says:

    “Windows + D” can also be used to hide/show all windows on desktop.

  2. SpacePen says:

    Windows Key + M minimizes all windows, but Windows Key + D actually does the same thing as hitting that shortcut.

  3. Steve says:

    Thanks for this how to file, it saved me a bit of mental anguish trying to figure out how to restore it. Thanks.

  4. Sandra says:

    Thank you for the simple shortcut of Windows Key + M. Why the microsoft website couldn’t bring itself to offer this simple solution will always puzzle me. We should all be thankful for technical savy people who are actually interested in helping those of us technically challenged.

  5. eq says:

    My first icon is, in quick launch, Internet Explorer and it also disappears and soon coming back and soon also disappers. Also disappears the second icon, when first is already dissapeared.
    This have to be some windows problem, not just “show desktop” problem and how to solve this problem.

  6. Saurabh says:

    Hey, thanks a million for the code above. I lost my shortcut somehow and couldn’t find it in the system.

  7. Dave says:

    I tried all of above and the icon is back in Q/L. However it just did not work. This link fixed it. Took awhile to find it . This fixes the Registry entry

  8. David Tycholis says:

    THANKYOU!!!! i have been going nuts trying to figure out how to restore that thing….your article was easy to understand..AND IT WORKED!

    thanks alot.

  9. Just Me says:

    Hi- your article was the first I found in google when searching for “my show desktop icon has disappeared” so I gather you’re very popular- cos you work!

  10. Steve-O says:

    Instead of dropping more clutter on your desktop, save this to C:/ and then link it from there.

    Thanks for the tip though man, worked like a charm!

  11. david says:

    Many thanks; had somehow lost quicklaunch icons and now retored thanks to your simple right click instructions.

  12. Ian says:

    The repository for the “Quick Launch Taskbar” is : “C:\Documents and Settings\[your_username]\Application Data\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch”.
    So Cut & Paste the file “Show Desktop.scf” there if you want. No link needed.

  13. sylax says:

    i have check times without a number but my quicklaunch isnt coming up in the taskbar if i go to taskbar and startup and click it,it will select when i click apply too but when i click ok and go back to the properties it is uncheck again. am so mad in need of this cos the quicklaunch does more than enough for can i make it work again,how can i make the arrow sign reappear on my taskbar am in trouble pls help.

  14. Ali says:

    Useful. But it isn’t a complete solution. Taskbar icon stops working if you delete the file you created. Registry tweak would have been a better solution. Thanks for the post.

  15. Wayne says:

    Fantastic…what grief when I lost the “Show Desktop” Icon…and now it has very simply been restored, thanks.

  16. Becky says:

    Thank you so much. I accidently deleted my shortcut and could not find how to get it back. The keyboard shourtcut was cumbersome. I live by my “show desktop” icon. Thank you for helping me get it back!

  17. Rachel says:

    Thank you so much! My computer at work was replaced, and it didn’t have any icons in the Quick Launch bar any more. Now I do again!

  18. Javad from Iran says:

    I found that I had to do this also, I had the icon but it was not working:

    Go to My Computer->Tools->Folder Options->File Types
    click New
    type “SCF” (no quotes)
    Click Advanced
    For @ssociated File Type type “Windows Explorer Command” (no quotes)

  19. QuickOnlineTips says:

    You can right click and delete the icon. Someone might have done that.

  20. Darcy says:

    You can move the file some place other than your desktop after you drag it to the quick launch task bar and it will still work.

  21. emily says:

    Genius! I deleted mine by mistake. Thanks!

  22. Locky says:

    OK so it drags to the quick launch bar, but the original show desktop file I created stays on my desktop. If I delete it the quick launch shortcut stops working. What is the point of a show desktop shortcut on my desktop?? meh, it works so it’s good enough…

  23. Brian says:

    Many thanks. Worked a treat. My icon – after years of having the facility on several computers – had disappeared.

  24. Edwin Tan says:

    Thank you for helping me restore my missing quick launch desktop icon. Cheers !

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *