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Friday, October 22, 2004

Windows Tweak: Remove Desktop Icon Titles

Have you ever tried to completely remove the titles under your desktop icons? With certain Windows icons like “My Computer” and “Internet Explorer”, a simple rename using a single spacebar keystroke will do the trick, but not with most of your other programs. They need an actual name, and will revert back to their originals if you try to remove them completely.

Today’s tweak is a great trick that replaces text you can read with text your computer does not display. Windows will not let you name an icon with a single spacebar entry, but it will let you use the ASCII code for a space, which is 0160.

Here’s how you do it:

1. To rename your icon, right-click and choose Rename.
2. Erase all text.
3. Make sure the NumLock key in on. Hold down the Alt key while typing 0160 on your number pad.
4. After typing in 0160, let go of the Alt key. You’ll see a blank space inserted with your cursor.
5. Press Enter to save the new name.

This method gets more complicated when you want to remove the text of multiple icons. Since Windows still needs each icon to have a unique name, the above instructions should only work for one icon. A solution is to enter the ASCII code following directions 1-5, then repeating steps 1-5 again within the same icon (which will move the cursor two spaces). As long as each icon has a different “name”, you’ll get the same results.

I recommend this tweak for anyone who likes a simple, clean desktop free of any unnecessary clutter. Of course, not having too many icons is a plus or you run the risk of forgetting what they all mean.

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Nice. Thanks Sarah !



Grammar and spelling went out the door on your last paragraph. Kidding . That's usually my typing style after 9PM.




Ahh...that makes my desktop look alot better. Thank you very much, Sarah.

- Brian Pope


Sarah! You rule! This tweak is amazing! Thanks!

Jeff B.

where can I find how to remove the recyle bin name


She said on the show it was in the screen savers archives I think.

That is cool. I like my desktop at home with only My Computer and Recycle Bin on it. I hate going to work and people have loaded up my mac desktop with a zillion unorganized things everywhere.


Hey does anyone remember how to change what it says on your start menu button? That one was a while ago I think.


... but is there a way to get rid of the shadow box the space bar leaves in place of a name directly below the icon?


check out my blog you guys, i review all the new stuff in the tech world!!! ainab.blogspot.com


See i did it for 2 icons.. but i did somthing on accident and i cant do it anymore its annoying now i gotta trty and figure this out


hey sarah ive tried this on my computer but the only problem is that there is an annyoying icon that doesnt want to accept the new name because there is a file already named it for exampl if i name my DivX icon alt 0160 and rename my trillian icon alt 0160 a message pops up stating that there is a file name already desighnated to that name and is unable to rename it. also im having a similar problem with this immovable icon for the hp 900 series icon for share-to-web upload folder not only can i remove it fromt he desktop but i cannot rename it either its a pestering problem that really looks dumb on my desktop is there any hope for my trouble?


umm i forgot to mention that im running windows professional on my computer


LOL mee forgot reeeall badly


Joel. To remove the HP icon right click on it and there should be something you can do with it in there. Maybe choose properties. I'm not quite sure and I cant check because I dont own an HP, I've just done it before on someone else's machine.

As for the icon. Sarah was saying you need to do 0160 twice for the next icon. That would give it two spaces which would esentially be different than 1 space. Good luck and thanks for the tip sarah (even though I dont use this one, It's still nice to know and play).

Ps After using this little hack I presume you can then use another little hack to make your icons closer together to fit more icons. Not sure where I saw it but I think there's this ability in some tweaking programs. I'll try to find a how to link to do it manually via registry. If anyone knows what im talking about and has a link please post.




Like your tips.

You kept telling people to send email to thescreensavers@g4techtv.com. That's pretty hard when the g4techtv mail server keep's saying that thescreensavers@g4techtv.com is not a valid address. I checked the website and that is supposed to be the right address.

This is the error I got:

This message was created automatically by mail delivery software.

A message that you sent could not be delivered to one or more of its
recipients. This is a permanent error. The following address(es) failed:

unrouteable mail domain "g4techtv.com

Just thought you might like to know.


Sarah yet again you are the best. Thanks for cleaning up my desktop.

Mr Booze


If you have TweakUI (which everyone should), you can get rid of the "Recycle Bin" name by going into the Desktop tab in TweakUI and using Sarah's tip to rename the RB. Worked for me at least.



Theres an easier way then keep typing 0160, the first time you do it, just copy the empty space and ctrl+v it multiple times..because once you start getting past 3 icons thats just annoying...


This is great i have been trying to do this for so long i wanted to have hidden icons on my desktop so i could have quick access that no one else could find by just looking at the screen thanks.


For those looking to rename your recycle bin, I dug around the TSS archives, and found the link she was talking about on the show.




Icons that exist on the desktop by renaming the title with a special code ([Alt]0160). The technique only worked for one desktop icon. After that you receive the error message: Cannot rename: A file with the name you specified already exists. Specify a different filename. The reason that you receive an error message is that the original technique is designed to work only for the standard desktop icons, i.e. My Computer, Network Neighborhood, Internet Explorer, etc. It doesn't work on shortcuts that you place on the desktop. However, I did discover that you can apply this technique to shortcut icons on your desktop.

Solution 1: If you have multiple shortcut icons on the desktop, you can use this technique by stringing together multiple [Alt]0160 codes. For example, the first shortcut would be renamed with [Alt]0160, the second one as [Alt]0160[Alt]0160, and so on. (Be sure that you release the [Alt] key in-between each code)

Solution 2: If you have multiple shortcut icons on the desktop, you can successively add more spaces after each [Alt]0160 code. For example, the first shortcut would be renamed with [Alt]0160, the second one as [Alt]0160[Space], the third one as [Alt]0160[Space][Space], and so on. (Be sure that you release the [Alt] key before you press the [Space] bar)

While both of these techniques provide a solution, the second technique is actually better because it doesn't make the special blank character any larger. Speaking of the special blank character, many of you stated that the special blank character is visible through your wallpaper. That's because the special blank character takes on the color assigned to the desktop in the Display Properties dialog box's Appearance tab and that color will always appear on top of the wallpaper just like the text background.

However, if you really want to make your desktop icons appear to stand alone, remove your wallpaper, or select a small image and center it on your desktop. When you do, the special blank character will disappear into the background. Keep in mind that when you select the icon the special blank character will be visible. Another thing to keep in mind is that you must hold down the [Alt] key as you type the special code on your keyboard's numeric keypad. Many laptop users stated that you don't have a numeric keypad on your laptop. However, all laptops do have a "virtual" numeric keypad that is accessed by holding down a special function key and pressing the specially labeled keys. (See your laptop's manual for more information on your virtual numeric keypad).


Is it possible to set the background color for icon text to invisible, or completely transparent?

sarah lane

Ok you guys, why aren't you reading my articles carefully? Second to last paragraph... directions for multiple icons are there... I promise...

Jeff, thanks for clarifying.



Another Point Goes to the Lovley Sarah Lane over ther in the Nook.


so simple, yet so awesome :-)


Thanks. It is annoying that the background color for the spaces cannot be changed to transparant, though. The ironic thing is that I had been using a solid color as my desktop until tonight. With a solid color, hiding it would be easy enough in appearances. Lucky for me, the top portion of the wallpaper I selected is black, so I set the background title color to black and moved everything up to the top portion of the desktop.


i just turn off all my desktop icons...and put the things i actually use on my toolbar...


using reg edit can i hide icons in my computer..if so pls let me what to do ...n by the way how can i get all the regedit commads ...thanx


Hi all.
If you wan't to get rid of the recycle bin shortcut and more stuff you can use the group policy editor.
Just go to start / run and then type:
It will only work in windows XP or higher



In other words the MENU on the RESULTS PAGE HEADINGS! is the very light baby blue which makes it very hard to focus on it?


Hi Sarah,

First of all you ROCK and I enjoy you on The Screensavers, I remember a tweak where you can change your IE Dispaly at the top, but have forgotten to do this to change it to something else can you help..
With all the recent changes at G4 I hope you and Kevin stay at the show forever, I have learned sooo much from
you guys !!! Keep up the great work
Take it easy



this did not work for me......


wud sarah!!! this is tite!!! you rock and may i add HOT as well. thanx for the tip. i do have one question though. by doing this to the desktop would it harm anything on my system? take care and God bless.


I run Win xp pro on my computer and have admin rights. When I install games and such the icons appear on my wifes desktop-she is on a limited account. Is there any way to remove the icons completely from her desktop? When I try, it says the files are write protected or are in use. Any way around this? thanks

daniel thorek


start the hp web folder wizard by double clicking the icon... press next a few times and then hit: NO to stop the icon from being displayed on your desktop.


My icon text background was previously completely transparent or invisible but it suddenly takes on the color set under the Display Properties dialog box's Appearance tab. I don't have a single clue how it happened and what causes it to happened and it is very annoying. Hope you guys could help me out here. Thanks.


hum, when I press (and keep) alt, and press any key, I got a bip and nothing happend... normal ?????????

Jeff Scarr

Hi, I have the same problem as seabass with icons for programs installed under the administrator account in windows xp appearing on all the guest desktops.
How can these be deleted when windows always responds to the attempt with a message that the icons are write protected?


Re: you installed a new program and the icon appears on all users desk tops. Go to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Desktop and see if the unwanted icon is there. When you delete it there, you will have to create a shortcut on your own desktop and it should not appear on any other user profiles.

Has anyone came up with an answer for the text background changing from transparent to a solid color ? If so please email me or post, Thanks !!!


Remove unwanted Icons or programs from desktop with a free programe called "deletedr.exe" Works like magic!! But back up onto Floppy just in case file is still need.


Hi, Sarah, im new at this.i have pictures on my screen saver that i would like to remove an dont know how,,could you help me ???Betty

Tim Harris

To get rid of the text box below the icon on your desktop wallpaper in XP you need to make one setting change. Click on the start button. Go to Setting\Control Panel\System. Click on the Advance tab. Click on the Settings button under performance. Click on the the Visual Performance Tab and select custom. Then check "Use drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop." Then click OK twice and close the control panel and the text boxes are gone.


doesnt seem to be working for me...does that have to do with the fact that Im on a laptop?


How do I undo this tweak on the recycle bin, because now I can't right click the properties option.


can someone tell me how to do this on my laptop.....i dont have a number pad so it doesnt work....please help.


Thank you all guys for the great tips!

But can anyone PLEASE let me know how to get rid of the background colour under the icon text. It used to be nicely transparent until I did something completely unrelated and then it changed!


Bill gates



If using XP right click on an open area on the desktop. Open "arrange icons by", make sure "lock web items on desktop" is unchecked.

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  • Hi, I'm Sarah Lane, and I've been posting a mishmash of stories, images, videos, and links here since 2003. Read more about me >>

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