Save Windows Desktop layouts with ReIcon

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 14, 2018

ReIcon, Restore Desktop Icon Layouts, is a free program for Microsoft Windows devices that you may use to save and restore desktop icon layouts.

You may add files, folders and shortcuts to your Windows desktop for fast access. Some programs add icons automatically during installation, others prompt you instead.

Windows has a long-standing problem when it comes to icons on the desktop: if you change the resolution, icons are moved automatically, and if you restore the original resolution, icons may not be restored in the process.

While most Windows users run Windows on a single resolution probably, others don't. Games and applications may change resolutions automatically, or they may only run in specific resolutions. You may notice issues as well when you connect your Windows PC to different displays regularly.

Note: Windows SmartScreen may block execution when you run the program on Windows. Other antivirus programs, for instance Avast, may block execution as well. A scan on VirusTotal, however, returned zero hits.


reicon desktop layouts

ReIcon is a portable program for Windows that comes as a 32-bit and 64-bit version. You run it right after the download and without installation. The program interface lists all saved desktop layouts when you run it.
A click on the save layout button saves the current layout; to restore a layout, select it first and then the restore icon to do so.

ReIcon saves important information. It saves the resolution of the display, type, number and position of all desktop icons, and the time you saved the layout.

The saving and restoring of desktop layouts works without issues. You can rename saved layouts for easier identification, or keep the default names instead for the layouts.

ReIcon does not list icon names of saved layouts in its interface directly. Select a saved layout and then Options > Open Icon Layout File to open a configuration file in the default text editor. This file lists all icons and other information.

The portable program supports a handful of additional options. You can make changes to the configuration in the config file, import and export layouts using the file menu, or enable options to display file extensions and hidden files. You can run the program from the command line as well; ideal for use in scripts.

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Closing Words

ReIcon is a useful lightweight program for Windows that you run only when you need to save or load desktop layouts. There is no need to run it constantly on the system. You may need to add the program to the whitelist of your antivirus program as it may be removed automatically otherwise. Avast did that on a test system even though Avast's engine returned a clean status for the file on Virustotal.

ReIcon is handy if you work on different displays regularly, or if you run programs that require the changing of desktop resolutions. It may also be handy if you use your computer for different tasks and want different desktop layouts for those tasks.

Now You: Do you use desktop management programs?

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  1. Zinc Whiskers said on January 14, 2018 at 10:22 pm

    Another vote for the portable version of DesktopOK.

  2. cryohellinc said on January 14, 2018 at 9:18 pm

    Very handy, thank you Martin

  3. Jojo said on January 14, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    I have been using desksave for years.

    One use scenario you failed to mention in the article is when Explorer crashes (which is still does even in the very latest 64bit Win10!), the icon layout usually gets hosed and will need to be restored.

    Same problem if you switch between single monitor and dual monitor display.

    It’s amazing how lame Microsoft is when it comes to Windows display.

  4. Yuliya said on January 14, 2018 at 6:05 pm

    My layout is very easy to restore (:

    I mostly rely on 7’s, actually functional, start menu. But I can see this program useful for many people. I used to have many desktop icons, and it’s frustrating to see them randomly spread across your desktop when you exit a fullscreen program, update video driver or change resolution.

    Another similar tool which I know for years is DesktopOK from softwareok:

  5. Franck said on January 14, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    Very good app !

    I’ve switched to it after reading privacy issues from DesktopOK a couple of years ago.

  6. Clairvaux said on January 14, 2018 at 5:06 pm

    I use Fences. It creates groups of folders on the desktop.

  7. Valrobex said on January 14, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    I’ve been using Iconoid by SillySot for years. It’s free and does the following:
    Save and restore icon positions and it adjusts to changes in screen resolution.
    Remove or color icon text background
    Select any color for icon text
    Automatically hide icons if desired

  8. makkara said on January 14, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    I have been using “Desktop Restore” from Jamie O’Connell for years now. Its very light and simple and works. Just right click -> save desktop and right click -> restore desktop.

    I can recomend it to anyone, here is link to it.

  9. Robert G. said on January 14, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    I tested ReIcon 1.8 yesterday, and I prefer * DesktopSave v1.2:

    With DesktopSave, you can restore also the resolution unlike ReIcon and DesktopOK.

    * Works fine with Win 10 Pro 64-bit 1709

  10. Sophie said on January 14, 2018 at 11:05 am

    I’d like to say that while I’ve not tried this yet…., isn’t it funny how it seems immediately a useful thing to be able to do, yet once again, it takes a third-party developer to imagine it, and create it.

    In other words, value is added, in one single neat piece of software – where Microsoft just seem to add things that many don’t want or need (I certainly don’t speak for all, and I can only just speak as I personally see it)

    Other imaginative developers come forward with things that I find to be genuinely useful, such as I think this will be.

    Why is it that Microsoft (depending on your perspective of course), hardly ever seem to be doing this?

    1. Q said on January 15, 2018 at 3:02 am


      Microsoft actually had an icon layout saving and restore feature available with with the Windows NT Resource Kit that was intended for for Windows NT 3.x or Windows NT 4.0.

      A third-party utility is still needed for modern Microsoft operating systems.

      1. Sophie said on January 15, 2018 at 9:00 am

        Thank you.

        Yes…..Microsoft have been very innovative in the past. They truly were!
        It’s now, that I’m worried about.

    2. Clairvaux said on January 14, 2018 at 5:04 pm

      You could substitute Mozilla for Microsoft.

      1. Sophie said on January 15, 2018 at 8:58 am

        Yes, maybe you could make that substitution. But Mozilla, creating mainly the browser…Firefox…cannot ever be as important or instrumental as the daily use of a computer or device, and its’ operating system.

        So Mozilla, bloating their software somewhat….Pocket, etc….just doesn’t have the same impact, and therefore I barely notice it. What I do notice, is the lack…..that is Microsoft these days.

        Sure, Quantum was a big change that not everyone welcomes – but its still just a browser at the end of the day.

  11. TL said on January 14, 2018 at 10:57 am


  12. Ivan said on January 14, 2018 at 10:12 am

    Absolutely necessary if you uninstall the GPU driver during driver update.

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