Recreate the Show Desktop shortcut

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 2, 2007
Updated • Apr 28, 2014

The Show Desktop shortcut in the quick launch bar minimizes all open windows when you click on the button which can be pretty useful if you want to access a file on the desktop.

If you accidentally deleted that shortcut from the quick launch bar you might face a hard time getting it back there because there is no obvious way to create a Show Desktop shortcut.

Pressing Windows-M may be an alternative although it does not minimize all open windows. It was for instance not able to minimize XMPlay, my music player. Fortunately it is not complicated to recreate the Show Desktop shortcut.

Note that the following tip works on all versions of Windows including the latest versions such as Windows 7 or Windows 8. The quick launch bar is not displayed by default anymore, but you can place the file on the taskbar instead if you like for the same effect.

Create a new text document and add the following lines of code to it:


Save it as "Show Desktop.scf". Double-click the file to check if it is indeed minimizing all windows. You should at least have one window open to see the effect.

Right-click your task bar and uncheck the Lock The Taskbar entry. Now drag and drop the Show Desktop.scf file to your quick launch bar. Once that is done right-click the task bar again and lock the taskbar again.

If you are running a new version of Windows -- newer than XP -- then you get a Show Desktop button on the rightmost side of the taskbar automatically.

The button won't go away as it is not linked to any toolbar displayed on the taskbar, so that you can make use of it at all times as well.

The show desktop shortcut may still be useful at times, especially since you can add your own keyboard shortcut to it to invoke the functionality via the keyboard directly.


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. MaryHS said on June 11, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    Thank you!
    Anyone who has ever had their keyboard act up will understand wanting the mouse-click option as well.

  2. manish said on May 15, 2013 at 12:10 am


  3. jessie said on November 29, 2011 at 6:50 am

    U ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!this is best answer .i followed steps and i was able to get my desktop shortcut

  4. Anna said on August 6, 2011 at 1:39 am

    Especially if you have a tablet PC.

    Doesn’t this leave a shortcut floating around that you can’t now get rid of?

  5. Funfrok said on February 17, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Sometimes clicking an icon is easier than a keyboard shortcut. Thanks.

  6. marc said on June 11, 2008 at 2:49 am

    worked great thanks

  7. victor said on December 6, 2007 at 9:47 pm

    Thanks buddy i ve been searching this since i have deleted it from my System..but the icon is not matching as before..i am using vista..

  8. Tobey said on November 3, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    Hehe, I’ve been using Win+D too, never actually needed Desktop Shrotcut thanks to this hotkey.

  9. Martin said on November 2, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    Roman that was the shortcut that I was looking for. Great, I always used Windows + M to minimize Windows.

  10. Roman ShaRP said on November 2, 2007 at 9:46 am

    Since I learned “Win + D” keyboard shortcut {defauld Windows shortcut}, I never need any click for showing desktop anymore.

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