Show / Hide Desktop Items Windows 2008 R2 / Windows 7 by means of registry and Microsoft Group Policy Preferences

Update: Corrected the typos, images, registry keys.

Creating a new Citrix XenApp 6 / Windows Server 2008 R2 environment for a customer, stumbled on the problem that I still need to perform some registry tweaks to get the desktop icons to be shown or not. Seems that it is very hard for Microsoft to get this done in Group Policies. I usually save this kind of information in my archive, I thought it might be of use for a broader audience.

Here are the registry locations for hiding the Microsoft Windows Desktop Items:


“{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}”=dword:00000000      (<= Computer)
“{59031a47-3f72-44a7-89c5-5595fe6b30ee}”=dword:00000000            (<= User Files)
“{5399E694-6CE5-4D6C-8FCE-1D8870FDCBA0}”=dword:00000000   (<= Control Panel)
”{F02C1A0D-BE21-4350-88B0-7367FC96EF3C}”=dword:00000000     (<= Network)
“{645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E}”=dword:00000001         (<= Recycle Bin)


“{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}”=dword:00000000      (<= Computer)
“{59031a47-3f72-44a7-89c5-5595fe6b30ee}”=dword:00000000            (<= User Files)
“{5399E694-6CE5-4D6C-8FCE-1D8870FDCBA0}”=dword:00000000   (<= Control Panel)
”{F02C1A0D-BE21-4350-88B0-7367FC96EF3C}”=dword:00000000     (<= Network)
“{645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E}”=dword:00000001         (<= Recycle Bin)

In the above example everything is shown on the Desktop except for Recycle Bin which you will notice has a value of 1 (Hide=Enabled). I, off course am aware that Recycle Bin does not have to be controlled by means of a registry tweak because it can be removed by Group Policies. It’s just in there for the total picture.

The easiest way to tailor these items into Microsoft Group Policy Client Side Preferences is to log on a Windows Server 2008 or Windows 7 reference machine which has the Group Policy Management tool installed.

Off course you do not have to use Microsoft Group Policy Client Side Preferences, this can also be KIX scripted or any other tool you prefer like AppSense Environment Manager of RES Workspace Manager.

Step 1. Enable all the Desktop items in Personalization (right click desktop, Personalization) so that they are shown on the desktop.

Step 2. Open Microsoft Group Policy Management, open the Group Policy you want to use for this purpose;

Step 3. Go to User Configuration, Preferences, Windows Settings, Registry, Right Click and Click New Registry Wizard;
Step 4. Browse to the item (Computer, Control Panel, User Files and/or Recycle Bin) you wish to Show (or explicitly Hide), remember to mark the item twice, once under ClassicStartMenu and once under NewStartPanel;

Step 5. Enable or disable the item you wish to show or hide. See the image below, when the Value Data reads 0, it is displayed, if it is 1 then the object will be hidden.

Step 6. I know Recycle Bin can be controlled using Group Policies, so this item is really not needed. As the image below show I have disabled this item. With this particular customer I disabled hiding Computer (Value=0) and enabled hiding Control Panel and User Files (Value=1).


About Henny Louwers
I work as a IT Architect specialized in Workplaces, Application Delivery solutions with a special interest in Citrix Cloud and Microsoft Azure.

26 Responses to Show / Hide Desktop Items Windows 2008 R2 / Windows 7 by means of registry and Microsoft Group Policy Preferences

  1. Pingback: Windows 7 deployment with MDT 2010 and SCCM 2007 – useful links « Share IT

  2. Snaker says:

    Works great, thank you for this solution 🙂 But maybe you would add the key “{F02C1A0D-BE21-4350-88B0-7367FC96EF3C}” for network.


  3. mja says:

    there is no HideDesktopIcon in HKEY_CU but just under HKEY_LM ?


    • Rightmouse click anywhere on your desktop and select Personalize. Click desktop icons. Deselect (for instance) Computer. After this action the key should be there.

      You can however create it manually, it should work.


  4. Sexyfire says:


    Just to say that the registry entries of “Control Panel” and “Users’s files” for the Classic start menu have to be swapped.

    “{59031a47-3f72-44a7-89c5-5595fe6b30ee}”=dword:00000000 (<– Control Panel)
    "{5399E694-6CE5-4D6C-8FCE-1D8870FDCBA0}"=dword:00000000 (<– User’s Files)

    The above is wrong and should be

    "{5399E694-6CE5-4D6C-8FCE-1D8870FDCBA0}"=dword:00000000 (<– Control Panel)
    "{59031a47-3f72-44a7-89c5-5595fe6b30ee}"=dword:00000000 (<– User’s Files)

    On the NewStartPanel you mentioned them correctly.

    Also thanks for the solution, searched the 'whole' internet to find this nice blog!


  5. jupiter says:

    Is there an option to show the My Documents folder? I have a RDS environment and I’d like our end users to have a shortcut to their My Documents, not User Files.


  6. Champagneman says:

    Thanks, Worked partly for me. My environment is XP and server 2008. My Computer came up on XP clients but not My Network places and My Documents. Checked the registry key against XP PC but found everything alright. But thanks anyway for throwing some light and starting us off in the right direction.


  7. Marilou says:

    This website was… how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something which helped me.
    Thanks a lot!


  8. Pete says:

    Please let me know if you’re looking for a author for your blog. You have some really great posts and I think I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d love to write some material for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine.
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  9. Why make it so hard? You can use the GPO without having to create registry entries. User Configuration/Policies/Administrator Templates/Desktop and disable the remove my couments, computer icon, etc. Much simpler.


  10. OK i take that back. Even when disabled, the default behavior is not to show it. Only way is the registry entries. 😦


    • Nevertheless thanks for your reaction, of course it could be the case that meanwhile there are more efficient ways of doing this and posts should always be challenged to do things more efficiently.


  11. wongfun says:

    Hi there, just find one more registry key for “Library” icon on desktop.



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  15. fayework says:

    Searched for months before trying to do this, and looking for something else, rand accross this. Works like a charm, still can’t get control panel to disappear. I’ve got it otherwise disabled, just can’t get it off the desktop. Thanks!


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  20. Kamil says:

    Does anyone have any idea why the registry tweak isn’t working with my machine?

    I’ve placed the Recycle Bin and Computer values in the registry keys mentioned above, set the values to 1, and nothing happened.
    When I open the Computer window and move one level up (with Backspace key), I still can see these icons.


  21. Pingback: KenterOnline | Show / Hide Desktop Items Windows 2008 R2 / Windows 7 by means of registry and Microsoft Group Policy Preferences | Blog | Henny Louwers

  22. Fredrik says:

    Create, anyone knows how to change the setting for the recycle bin if an item should be placed there or be deleted directly?


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