Restore Arrangement of Desktop Icons After You Make a Remote Desktop Connection

I love being able to work from home. Since Windows Vista contains the Remote Desktop Connection feature, it is extremely easy to remote in to my work computer. This gives me access to all of the files, applications, and network resources that I have when I am actually sitting at my desk in my office.

Every time I connect to my office computer from another computer, however, it messes up the icons on my desktop. Then, when I return to work, I have to spend several minutes rearranging the icons so that I will know where to find my shortcuts. Last week my boss came in to my office and asked me a question about a document I had been working on. Since I had made a remote connection the previous day, my desktop icons were still jumbled. I fumbled around for a couple of minutes before going to the Start menu and looking in Recent Items. While this may not seem like a big deal to you, I like my desktop organized! I decided right then and there that I would find a solution to this problem.

Luckily, I didn’t have to look very far to find a viable solution. There are actually several free applications available on the Web that allow you to memorize the location of your desktop icons and then to reset their position after the arrangement has been scrambled (usually due to a change in resolution or from making a remote desktop connection).

After exploring the different applications available, I decided to go with Iconoid, a free app that allows you to save and restore icon positions, automatically hide icons when you don’t need them, select the best color for icon text and backgrounds, and more. It has an easy to use interface and it is free (although they do encourage you to make a $10 donation if you like the app).

To use this application, you simply install it from the Iconoid website, and then click on the desktop icon to open it. The Iconoid dialog box appears, and there are several tabs at the top of the window.

Iconoid Interface

To save your current desktop arrangement, you simply click on the Positions tab, and then click the Save Icon Positions (Relative) button at the top of the dialog box. If you want to save different arrangements for different resolutions, click on the Use separate positioning for each screen resolution radio button.

Now, any time that your icons are scrambled, you simply open Iconoid and click on the Restore Icon Positions Now button under the Positions tab, and your icons immediately move back to their assigned positions.


  1. James Moyer

    Donna this is such a fantastic tip… Now I will remote into my Work Computer from home more often. Thank you so much for sharing this tool. And $10 is a small price to pay for such peace of mind.

  2. Donna


    Yeah, I was using version 3.8.5 and when I switched to a new machine with Windows 7 and a 64 bit system, it quit working. I downloaded the new beta version (from and now it seems to be working fine.

    Here are a few of the other programs available that will do the same thing for you: Solway’s Desktop Icon Layout Saver, Desktop Restore, Desksave, and Rocket Desktop. I haven’t tried any of these lately, though, so I cannot recommend one over the other. If you try any of them out, let us know what you think.

    Good luck.


  3. Mary Cameron

    The very root of your writing while sounding reasonable at first, did not really work well with me after some time. Someplace within the paragraphs you were able to make me a believer unfortunately only for a very short while. I still have a problem with your jumps in assumptions and you would do well to help fill in all those gaps. If you actually can accomplish that, I could definitely end up being amazed.

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