Technology Advice by Ryan Taylor Adams

Restore the Internet Explorer Desktop Icon in Windows XP SP3

April 30th, 2008 · 4 Comments · Printer Friendly Version


While I make an effort to update older posts to keep them relevant and technically accurate, the rapidly changing nature of the tech world makes it possible that the content of this post may no longer be relevant, current, or even accurate. Additionally, because of this post's age, adding new comments has been disabled. If you would like to contribute new information to this post, or have questions pertaining to this post, please use the Contact Form.

In addition to the few additions included with SP3 for Windows XP, Microsoft also removed a few features. Apparently in connection with its European anti-trust settlement, Microsoft’s latest service pack tries to “deintegrate” Internet Explorer from the operating system. As such, many users will notice their Internet Explorer icon is missing from the desktop after installing SP3.

Showing/hiding the icon used to be controlled in the Display Properties control panel applet, but Microsoft has even removed the option to re-display the Internet Explorer icon. If you want Internet Explorer to appear on your desktop once again, you can download this REG file. Once you download it, double-click on it to install. If asked, reply in the affirmative (“Yes” or “OK”) to any prompts that appear. The icon should then reappear on your desktop. If you don’t see it, restart your computer.

If you found this post helpful, please consider making a donation to help cover the costs of this site:

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 emegus // May 1, 2008 at 4:09 AM

    Great! Anyone know a way of re-enabling the Address Bar in the Task bar from the Registry as well?

  • 2 Ryan Adams // May 1, 2008 at 6:49 AM

    The Address Bar isn’t just hidden, but rather completely removed. The only One solution is to install a 3rd-party program that replaces it’s functionality.

    Another possible solution is by replacing one file with its previous version from SP2: https://blog.ryantadams.com/2008/05/08/restore-the-address-bar-in-windows-xp-sp3/

  • 3 emegus // May 5, 2008 at 2:33 AM

    Thanks for the reply. “Boo” to MS :-(

  • 4 Brian // Jun 2, 2008 at 11:00 AM

    Didn’t work for me. Any other suggestions?

  • 5 Ryan Adams // Jun 2, 2008 at 11:06 AM

    You might take a look at this page which has multiple other (manual) solutions: http://www.windowsreference.com/windows-xp/fix-for-internet-explorer-7-desktop-icon-missing/

  • 6 Joao Paulo // Aug 4, 2009 at 1:46 PM

    This .reg file worked fine for me.
    Allowed file to modify my registry and after restarting workstation there it was (IE7 desktop icon on my Win XP SP3)!
    I appreciate your help, many thanks.