May 11, 2008
Tip and Trick Editorial

Restore Missing or Disappeared IE (Internet Explorer) Desktop Icon in Windows XP SP3

In Windows XP SP3 system, no matter it’s been upgraded from Windows XP with no service pack, SP1 or SP2 with XP SP3 standalone update package or Windows/Microsoft/Automatic Update, or user clean install from scratch with an integrated Windows XP with SP3 CD ISO image, the special desktop icon of Internet Explorer (IE) browser on desktop has gone missing. The IE desktop icon is different from normal IE shortcut, where IE desktop icon is special shell shortcut that provides quick access to Internet Options, and has shorter right click contextual menu.

Previously, Windows XP user has an option whether to turn or off (display or not display) the IE icon on desktop, by going to Control Panel -> Display -> Desktop -> Customize Desktop, and enable or disable Internet Explorer under Desktop Items section, or right click on Desktop, and then go to Properties -> Desktop -> Customize Desktop, and tick or untick Internet Explorer in Desktop Items section.

Internet Explorer in Desktop Items

In Windows XP SP3, the Internet Explorer option under the Desktop Icons section is missing, or disappeared. In fact, this is not a bug and is by design, probably due to anti-trust litigation settlement which requires Microsoft to disintegrate IE from operating system so that other web browsers can compete freely with IE6, IE7 or even IE8 in future. As such, IE desktop icon no longer exists and the ability to display IE desktop icon by selecting option in Control Panel’s Desktop Items customization has also been removed from Windows XP on SP3 (actually it has been removed previously from Windows XP SP2 or earlier when user install hotfix updates or IE7, but there is trick to restore the IE desktop icon, which continue to applied now). The behavior of Internet Explorer 7, which is bundled with Windows Vista is also the same.

IE Desktop Icon Not Showing in Windows XP SP3

User can always re-create a normal shortcut to Internet Explorer browser to place on desktop. But as mentioned, the shortcut created will be the normal type with an arrow on the bottom left corner, has plenty more right click context menu items, and when select “Properties”, it’s shortcut properties that is been opened, and not Internet Options in the case of IE desktop icon.

To restore and re-display Internet Explorer desktop icon item in Windows XP SP3, simply download and extract reset_ie_icon.reg from the .zip archive. Then double click on reset_ie_icon.reg to execute it and apply the necessary registry keys into system registry to bring back the IE desktop icon. The registry files supports Windows XP SP3 user who uses new Start Menu style and will fix also issue related to Local Policy restricts IE desktop item from displaying.

If you prefer to resolve the issue manually, perform the following:

  1. Click Start, Run.
  2. Type regedit.exe.
  3. Navigate to the following registry key:

    (wrapped for easy reading)

    Note: If HideDesktopIcons and NewStartPanel do not exist, create new registry keys for them.

  4. In the right hand pane, double-click {871C5380-42A0-1069-A2EA-08002B30309D} key.

    If the registry value name does not exist, create a new DWORD value and name it as {871C5380-42A0-1069-A2EA-08002B30309D}

  5. Enter dword value data as 0 to enable the Internet Explorer icon on the Desktop.

For user who’re using Classic Start Menu, replace NewStartPanel with ClassicStartMenu instead so that the registry key location is as follow:

(wrapped for easy reading)

Other steps are exactly the same with the above. Refresh the desktop after change to display the IE desktop icon.

  • joaozal

    Worked exactly as expected!

    Thank you!

  • Pingback: Restore, Enable and Display the Missing Internet Explorer (IE or IE7) Icon on Windows Vista Desktop « My Digital Life()

  • One2One

    This is excellent, works everytime

    Don't forget to REFRESH youtr Desktop

  • Ravi


    Thank u it works …

  • Aman

    Thanks Baboji. Your trick works!

  • Harsha

    This info is greatly helpful!! Thanks much

  • M. Rising


    Please Right Click on the Icon you just dragged and dropped from the start menu and let me know if you can view Internet Explorer Properties the same way you can when you utilize the registry change that was presented above.

    The complaint that most people have with the change is that you can not access Internet Explorer Properties quickly, like you could before the Change.

  • rtw


    Most Excellent Advice!


  • Baboji

    Easy way to do that:

    1. open your computer.

    2. go to desktop by pressing backspace or click up arrow.

    3. you will find IE icon with computer, mydoc, network… icons.

    4. drag and drop IE icon on desktop.

    and you done..


  • D. Druss

    I restored the IE icon without tampering with the registry! Control Panel/Desktop/Customize/ Web – then add any URL for desktop icon (the IE icon was not a choice in Desktop Icon.

  • Ahmet

    Thanks, it works for me

  • nicole

    I have Windows XP, with SP3 and the Regedit fix worked perfectly. After changing the dword value to 0, I right clicked the center of my desktop screen, hit refresh and voila! the IE icon appeared.

    The Microsoft site recommended a fix by adding a script to the registry and it did not work. This did! Thanks for the tip.

    Off to check out the rest of your site …. thanks again!

  • Sainz Vermon

    It worked, thanks a lot..

    I tried a lot of solutions for the missing IE icon on desktop for my XP SP3 but it didn't worked.. I even try to reload icon cache using TuneUp Utilities but still no icon (IE) appear.. But this solution worked, 100% (I am a Windows Power User so I can easily understand the structure of the System Registry so it worked for me).. Definitely recommend this solution…

  • parvaiz

    I have tried this solution on windows Xp but it does not work

  • Ab

    Ahh, didnt work. There are obviously many causes of this issue. 20 years of development and users have to hack the registry to get an icon back?

    Ever wondered why MS is hated, this sort of stupidity is it.

  • Deva

    Really it works ,thanxs for guide line

    keep rocking ….

  • ovidiu

    Worked for me! Thanks!

  • JasonJ

    This worked – thank you very much

  • Sue P

    I used SUPERAntiSpyware and found may problems including Trojan Vundos. Got rid of them all. Computer working fine now.

  • TimeTraveller

    Great fix. Worked for me!

  • thats work fine thnxx

    good work!

  • Steve P

    Didn't have the desktop customize option available, and tried all the MS Site fixes, both automatic and manual. No go.

    The only thing I found that fixed the issue was using add/remove components, un-check IE, finish, then go back in, and re-check it.

  • Joel

    Want to fix this automatically? See knowledge base article 945402 and click Fix It!

  • Joel

    Want to fix this automatically? See knowledge base article 945402 and click Fix It!

  • ie8user

    Microsoft has released a "Fix it" in KB945402 that will do this for you automatically on both WinXP and Vista.

  • mohsen

    many thanks. its usefull and solved my poroblem. thanks

  • Ian

    I found the first solution worked fine on a machine that had just been upgraded to SP3 – the REG_DWORD entry under NewStartPanel was present and its data value just needed changing to 0. Having got the icon back, I deleted it on purpose (It’s what customers do all the time…). Now I couldn’t get it back at all, trying all of the suggestions above. Even deleting the NewStartPanel key and recreating the entries from a reg file from a working PC did not help. Finally I trawled through the entire registry searching for all occurrences of DWORDs named {871C5380-42A0-1069-A2EA-08002B30309D} and ensured all their data values were set to 0. This did the trick. I guess each instance may be slightly different, dependant on how the icon was removed

  • Tony

    I did not mention that although I have my desktop item back, the option to enable it is still missing from the Desktop Items panel within the Display Properties.

  • Tony

    None of these solutions worked for me at first (XPPSP2 and SP3, IE6 and/or IE7) either alone or all together. But, combined with all the solutions mentioned above, I went to HKCRCLSID{871C5380-42A0-1069-A2EA-08002B30309D}ShellFolder and changed 'Attributes' to '0'. (Oddly, in another 'working' computer the value was '36' in decimal.)

    I did the same at HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerCLSID{871C5380-42A0-1069-A2EA-08002B30309D}ShellFolder and also at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREClassesCLSID{871C5380-42A0-1069-A2EA-08002B30309D}ShellFolder and so far, after a reboot I have gotten the fully functional IE desktop item back on all user accounts. I hope this helps. And thanks to all of you who have also contributed to fixing this annoying problem.

  • paulo alberto

    Gostaria de ressaltar que

    No painel do lado direito, clique duas vezes em (871C5380-42A0-1069-A2EA-chave 08002B30309D).[ o certo é {871C5380-42A0-1069-A2EA-08002B30309D} com { }

    If the registry value name does not exist, create a new DWORD value and name it as {871C5380-42A0-1069-A2EA-08002B30309D} Se o valor do registro nome não existir, crie um novo valor DWORD e nomeie-a como (871C5380-42A0-1069-A2EA-08002B30309D)incorreto {871C5380-42A0-1069-A2EA-08002B30309D}correto

    Essa dica precisa ser atulizada, pois é o valor correto é {871C5380-42A0-1069-A2EA-08002B30309D} com {} e não com () como relata no post.

  • Dawn

    Marc, I tried the fix mentioned in this article and like you said, it didn't work on my XP. I tried the fix you suggested and it did the job. Many thanks.

  • Marc

    I have found this fix is so many locations it isn't funny, and it has NEVER worked on XP. It did work on Vista though.

    Oddly enough, this fix is also on Microsoft's website and they state it works in Vista and XP (which id doesn't).

    What DID work, was changing the following registry key's Attributes value (REG_DWORD) to 0:


    It was set to 0x00100000 for some reason. This worked on 2 user profiles on the same machine, and the fix at the top of this page did not need to be applied.

  • es, that is old news. And incorrectly reported as well!

    For one thing, the change has nothing to do with SP3, it was made well before

    SP3 was released. The Internet Explorer checkbox was removed from the Desktop Items dialog box under XP SP2 when you installed the following update, released on Nov. 13, 2007:

    Microsoft Security Bulletin MS07-061 – Critical

    Vulnerability in Windows URI Handling Could Allow Remote Code Execution

    The second of those links also explains the removal of the checkbox, and points to the MSKB article showing how to restore it if desired:

    The Internet Explorer check box disappears from the Desktop Items dialog box after you install the QFE version of security update MS07-061 on a Windows XP Service Pack 2-based computer

    In addition, even though I applied that fix back in Nov. 2007 (as would everybody properly keeping their systems updated) to all of my XP SP2 systems, the IE icon remained if IE7 had been installed, or is re-instated after installing IE7. In otherwords, even *without* the registry fix, I have IE icons on the (Windows Classic) desktops on all of my systems, including those with SP2 and KB943460 installed, SP3 installed via Windows Update, SP3 installed via the full install package (WindowsXP-KB936929-SP3-x86-ENU.exe),

    and systems loaded with SP3 integrated into the installation disc.

    All-in-all, I've installed SP3 probably 50 times already on various systems, and each one has an IE icon on the Windows Classic desktop by default.

  • Pololin

    Esto es completamente una sutileza (por no decir una pelotudez) por parte de Micro$oft, ya que en realidad deberian haberlo borrado de la instalacion y no dejarlo, pero sacando el icono del escritorio.

    Greets from Argentina.

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