Magically Hide & Unhide Desktop Icons in Windows with Iconoid

Tina Sieber 24-10-2008

Magically Hide & Unhide Desktop Icons in Windows with Iconoid iconoid03 We have had it all. From docks Docks - The 6 Best Friends of your Windows Taskbar Read More to taskbar enhancements 6 Tools for Elegant Taskbar Tweaking and 1 to Repair Read More to launchers Top 7 Unknown Free Launcher Applications for Windows Read More and tools that will “extend” the size of your desktop How to Increase Your Virtual Desktop Space Feeling overwhelmed by all the windows you need open for various tasks or jobs? If this windows clutter causes you stress, virtual desktops are for you. Read More , we have presented just about any method that will help free your desktop from ugly icons that block the view of any decent wallpaper The Best Resources to Pimp Your Wallpaper Read More .


The disadvantage of all of these techniques is that you will have to actually remove the icons from your desktop. If that is not to your liking, here is a tool that is completely different. It lets you keep your icons where they are, yet it will take some strain off of your eyes.

iconoid Iconoid is a lightweight tool for Windows (tested on XP) that can hide all of your desktop icons and bring them back once you click onto the desktop – and it can do even more than that.

Iconoid comes with a ton of options and all of them are thoroughly explained on the Iconoid Help site. On the website you can go through every tab of the Iconoid menu and look at the various options, simply by dragging your mouse over the image representing the menu. Best of all, each possible setting is explained in a separate field on the right hand side. This is amazingly well done!

hide desktop icons in windows

Iconoid plants an icon in the taskbar. Left-clicking the icon opens the above mentioned main menu. A right-click launches a regular small menu that is shown below.


Magically Hide & Unhide Desktop Icons in Windows with Iconoid iconoid04Not only can Iconoid hide your icons and let them re-appear when you click on a random spot on your desktop, it can also save the arrangement of your icons and restore them, should something, e.g. a different screen resolution, mess them all up.

A fun feature is the Icon Dance which might be enough to freak out some people. Icons will randomly move across the desktop until the selection “Do the Icon Dance” in the taskbar menu is unchecked. Be careful though, the Icon Dance will mess up the position of your icons, so better save them first.

The small menu gives quick access to features that can be tweaked in the main menu.

For hiding the icons you can choose between ‘show always’, ‘as needed’ or ‘hide always’. I have selected to always hide my icons, so they will only appear when I deliberately click onto my desktop. They will hide again after 10 seconds, but you can choose any time between 1 up to 60 seconds.


When you choose to show icons as needed, you can let them reappear when the mouse rests on the desktop from 0 – 60 seconds and have them disappear again after the mouse has left the desktop for a certain time.

Magically Hide & Unhide Desktop Icons in Windows with Iconoid iconoid05Another very cool feature to be toggled in the main menu is the “Hide all windows” option.

I set it to “Hot Corner”, clicked the top right button and selected “Lock Workstation” as the action from the drop-down menu. That means as soon as I move my mouse to the top right corner of my screen, my computer will act as if I had clicked [Windows] + [L].

Alternatively, you can hide all open windows or start the screen saver. It works flawlessly.


These were just some of the many great features the program has to offer. Taken together this is one of the coolest tools I’ve had on my desk for weeks, if not months. It’s small and it simply works. In other words, I highly recommend Iconoid. How do you like it?

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  1. Devicepedia
    October 27, 2008 at 1:46 am

    I am referring to shortcuts that I would create over time or downloaded files etc...

  2. teem
    October 26, 2008 at 4:17 am

    If all what you want is to hide icons, then no need to download any tools, because it is a built-in feature in windows, Just right click on any empty place on your desktop and choose (Arrange Icons by) then uncheck (show desktop icons).

    • Tina
      October 26, 2008 at 4:34 am

      True, but that's two clicks and not very convenient when you regularly use the icons on your desktop.

  3. The Windows Fix
    October 25, 2008 at 11:05 am

    Hmmm, very cool, but I still think I'd rather delete them over a matter of time as opposed to just 'hiding' them.

    • Tina
      October 25, 2008 at 11:32 am

      Well, the point is not to hide all the trash that accumulates over time. You should still delete what is of no use.

      The point is to hide the icons for as long as you don't need them. It gives you the benefit of both having an undisturbed view of your wallpaper and still keeping shortcuts at a handy place, i.e. your desktop. Once you need them, you click onto the desktop to bring them up.

  4. Devicepedia
    October 24, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    Is there any way of restoring your desktop to its orignal state without having to delete all the icons?

    • Tina
      October 25, 2008 at 10:12 am

      With this tool you don't have to delete any icons. So as Aibek I'm not sure what you're refering to.

      If you don't want your icons hidden, simply close the tool and they will reappear permanently.

      Being able to restore the arrangement of your icons is an extra benefit. Should your icons suddenly look messed up, you can restore their original arrangement. That's if you ever saved it! However, in case you deleted your icons in the meantime, Iconoid will not be able to restore them, you would have to restore the icons manually.

      I hope that answers your question.

    • Aibek
      October 25, 2008 at 9:46 am

      What do you mean by "having to delete all the icons"? Which icons are you referring to?

  5. chtrich
    October 24, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    This is pretty cool. I'll have to give it a try. I hate all the messy icons. lol

  6. Tim Watson
    October 24, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    Looks great; I'm gonna have to try this out.