Why Does Desktop Icons Keep Moving? (9 Fixes)

By Dominic Chooper on February 17, 2023

On top of everything else on your to-do list, logging in and discovering that your desktop icons have been rearranged can be frustrating.

It is not unusual to reboot, update, or log into your computer and discover that all of your icons have moved.

So, read on to know why desktop icons keep moving and what are some strategies for avoiding this.


9 Reasons Why Desktop Icons Keep Moving (with Fixes)

Why Does Desktop Icons Keep Moving

1. Automatically on Restart

It can be annoying to rearrange your desktop icons every time you restart your computer if you prefer to have them in a particular order.

You can, however, fix this issue with your icons moving on their own. But first, you need to ascertain its cause.


Due to auto-arrange, your theme’s default settings, or your resolution, your desktop icon may be moving around. You will need to test out a few to determine which is altering your desktop icons.

First, check to see if your computer has the most recent update, as an outdated version might cause desktop icons to be rearranged. Once more, figuring it out will require experimentation.

Most likely, your auto-arrange feature or default theme settings are causing your desktop icons to reorder themselves.

But a more substantial fix might be required, such as clearing your icon cache or updating your graphic disc.

2. Auto Arrange is Enabled

A more attractive effect is created by better desktop icon arrangement, which also speeds up work.

You do not even need to consider manually arranging your icons if this feature for automatically organizing them is available.

Auto arrange feature in Windows 10 (and earlier versions) organizes your desktop icons automatically.

You no longer have to make an effort to arrange these items once you’ve enabled this feature. After a change is made, they automatically arrange themselves quickly.


Changing auto-arrange settings is your first solution you can try for rearranging icons.

Even if you have customized your computer (by rearrange the icons or in another way), this setting frequently acts as a default, so it will probably continue to occur.

In order to turn off auto arrange setting: To begin, use a desktop with a simple screen. Your icons are arranged on your screen when nothing else is open.

Hover your mouse pointer over View while performing a right-click (on your wallpaper area). Uncheck Auto-arrange icons option in the pop-out menu.

Turn off Align Icons To Grid in this same menu. your computer, restart it. To confirm that this has modified your settings, restart your computer.

To do this, go to the menu and select Restart or Shut Down, then turn power back on. By using this method, you can alter your computer’s default setting so that icons are automatically arranged when it starts up.

Additionally, you are preventing your computer from automatically snapping your icons to a grid, which might result in their rearrangement.

3. Theme Settings

Some Windows themes that you download might include extra icons, sounds, and mouse cursors.

Some of these themes allow you to change icons for your user profile folder, network, this PC, and recycle bin.

In the standard Control Panel, this appropriate option is accessible. It’s also possible that your themes settings are causing your desktop icons to change.

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Your computer’s background, buttons, menu, and icons can all be customized using these themes settings. When using a particular desktop theme, your computer will by default reposition your icons.


You can turn it off if it is causing Windows to reposition your icons.

Procedure for changing your theme setting is outlined here in detail:

Search for the Start button. It typically appears as a Windows icon on the left side of your computer screen.

By selecting the gear icon from your Start Menu, Settings App will be displayed. Select Personalization from this menu.

Pick themes. Click on Desktop icon settings in the Related Settings section of the page. Disable Desktop icon changes for themes. By deselecting the box, you can disable this setting.

Desktop settings, including your icons, will no longer be affected by your Windows theme after you complete this process.

You can reboot or restart your computer to see if this resolved this issue.

4. Screen Resolution

Hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions, of pixels make up the image on your computer screen. Colors of these tiny square components are altered on your screen to produce this image you see.

Simply put, screen resolution has an impact on how clearly displayed text and images are seen.

Number of pixels that can be displayed on your screen both horizontally and vertically is determined by its resolution. It is written in a conventional style.

When comparing two screens of the same size but with different resolutions, the screen with higher resolution (that is, the one with more pixels) will display more of what you are working on, reducing the amount of scrolling required.

The image will be sharper because that screen has more pixels. However, because of higher resolution, screen elements like text and icons will appear smaller.


It is advised to find out what native resolution of your monitor is before you begin. To do this, enter the model number into Google and view the monitor’s specifications.

You must: to modify your screen’s scaling and resolution. Activate Display Settings. You can do this by looking it up in your Start menu or by selecting it with the right-click menu on your desktop.

To choose a different resolution, open the drop-down box under “Display resolution” in Display Settings.

If it is not already set to the native resolution of your monitor it is suggested you do it. Click the drop-down menu next to the statement that says “Change size of text, apps, and other items.”.

It will either be a sliding bar or a drop-down box, and unless it has been altered, it is typically set to Recommended setting of 250 percent.

Play around with a scaling percentage. Try screen resolutions of 100 percent, 125 percent, or 200 percent.

Tap Apply.

You can restart your computer after making necessary changes to see if this problem is resolved. You can prevent your icons from being moved when your computer restarts by altering your screen resolution.

Since you are experimenting with your screen resolution, this might be a necessary fix.

5. Delete Icons File

This fix requires a bit more technical work with your computer, but it may help if none of the above worked.

Windows icons are stored in a file format called ICO that is specific to Windows.

This is an incredibly versatile image “container” that can hold a single image, much like a JPEG or PNG, or it can include a variety of image sizes and color depths.

As long as an icon designer has included all required sizes and formats for the system you wish to use it in, when used in a native Windows environment, correct image is automatically displayed, making this format very user-friendly.


You are trying to delete your icon file, which may be moving your desktop icons.

Here’s how to do it:

Icon Cache supports your computer to display icons or thumbnails on the desktop. You take this work off the computer by doing it yourself.

6. Graphics Driver Update

Your computer can convert digital code (zeroes and ones) into graphics, pictures, and videos with the help of a graphics driver, which is a piece of software — essentially a set of instructions.

Graphics drivers, also referred to as display drivers or video drivers, are software programs that give a piece of hardware (i. e. A graphics card is a physical part of your computer that is solely used to render images.

In other words, your graphics card is the device that enables your computer to display visuals. Your graphics card receives instructions from the graphics driver on how to operate.

It’s possible that you’ve had a computer for years and have never given your graphics card a second thought. There is generally no justification for doing so.

In addition to having integrated graphics cards, Apple computers run the MacOS operating system.

You won’t have to do much thinking because this operating system updates graphics drivers automatically as part of system updates.

The majority of laptops with Windows and Chrome operating systems include a graphics card and a graphics driver already installed, saving you the trouble.

However, if you work with a Windows desktop computer, you’ll likely have to choose and manage your graphics card manually. Understanding how to update graphics drivers is necessary.

Updates to graphics drivers are released on a regular basis by manufacturers of graphics devices. You can find these updates online and download them to your device.

Updated graphics drivers should always be installed whenever you have the chance because they frequently offer more processing power, improved energy efficiency, and intelligent RAM allocation.

On rare occasions, these updates may even shield you from malware that targets the graphics card in a computer.

Keeping their devices updated with the most recent graphics drivers is especially important for gamers.

Modern video games frequently put a tremendous amount of strain on GPUs, and they will only perform at their best if they are using the most recent graphics driver.


How to update the drivers for your graphics card is as follows: On your keyboard, hit the Windows key while also pressing R.

You should now see Run Dialog. Select Ok after entering devmgmt . msc. Your Device Manager ought to open after that.

Display Adapters menu will expand once you click the button. To enable and then update your graphics card, use the right-click menu.

Make your computer automatically check for new driver software. This will guarantee that your graphic card drivers are updated whenever a software update is available.

7. Faulty Third-party Apps

You might frequently experience system settings interference from faulty third-party apps. Thus, the reason your desktop icons change positions may be due to such apps.


Update any dubious third-party apps to fix the issue. Otherwise, try uninstalling the suspect program to see if that helps.

Remove all recently downloaded third-party apps and see if that helps if you’re having trouble identifying a problematic third-party app. Next, download those applications from reliable websites.

Always use a trusted third-party uninstaller when deleting your apps. This will get rid of all the leftover junk data and lead to other system issues.

8. Corrupted Software

Simply put, a damaged file that is not operating properly is considered to be corrupted. Documents, program, and system files are all susceptible to this, among other file types.

Most of the time, a simple system reboot will solve the issues, but occasionally they can be more complicated.

Your computer’s files are all organized and contain specific information. However, entering incorrect information into a file or entering the right information in the wrong place will have an impact on how the file is displayed.

A corrupted file may occasionally refuse to open at all or show up scrambled and unreadable.

This does not necessarily imply that the program’s core is corrupted; for instance, Word might be unable to open a specific document but be able to open others.


If the problem is caused by corrupted software, you can fix it by running various system checks.

Let’s start with the “Full Scan” option:

Corrupted apps may not always be removed by Windows system scan options. In these situations, you can rely on cutting-edge system diagnostic tools like DISM and SFC.

You can locate and fix damaged system files on your device with help of these two fantastic tools.

In some cases, they’ll replace any missing critical system files. In order to get started, let’s look at how to use the DISM tool: In the Start menu’s search box, enter Command Prompt.

Select Run as administrator from the context menu of the right-clicked Command Prompt result. Enter after you type the following command: DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth.

Watch for the scan to finish. In that case, enter after typing the following command: Clean-Up-Image/RestoreHealth in DISM/Online.

Restarting your device after the process is finished is recommended. Next, perform the following actions with the SFC tool. Apply aforementioned techniques to launch Command Prompt.

To launch an SFC scan, enter the following command and hit Enter. sfc /scannow. The Command Prompt should be closed after SFC scan is finished. To save these changes, restart your device.

9. Windows Latest Version

The best course of action may be to update your Windows if you are still having trouble. This should solve both the current problem and any other bugs on your device.


In order to update Windows, follow these steps: Choose Best match after typing Settings into the Start menu search bar.

After clicking Windows Update on the left-hand side, select Update and Security.

Then, carry out the instructions that appear on-screen after you click the Check for updates button on the right side.


The desktop icons on your device make it easy for you to access the majority of apps, so it can be quite annoying when they keep moving around.

Fortunately, using the strategies we’ve discussed, you can quickly deal with the current problem after understanding why desktop icons keep moving.

If you believe that someone else has been manipulating your desktop icons, you should use some preventative measures.