How To Keep Desktop Icons From Rearranging

Logging in to find that your desktop icons have been rearranged can be frustrating. It sometimes happens after a reboot, update, or otherwise log on to your computer to find all your icons have shifted.

1. Disable the Windows auto-arrange setting

How to disable Auto arrange icons and Align icons to grid.

Changing the auto-arrange settings is the first fix you can attempt for rearranging icons. Unfortunately, this setting is often a default setting, so it will likely continue to happen even if you have customized your computer (by arranging the icons or otherwise). 

To disable the auto arrange setting:

  1. Start with a plain desktop screen. This is your screen with nothing else open, where your icons are arranged. 
  2. Right-click (on the wallpaper area) and hover your mouse pointer over View.
  3. In the pop out menu, uncheck the Auto-arrange icons option.
  4. In the same menu, turn off Align Icons To Grid.
  5. Reboot your computer. Turn your computer off and back on to ensure this has changed the setting. You will do this by selecting the menu, Shut Down, and powering back on or Restart.

Using this solution, you change the computer’s default setting to auto-arrange the icons upon startup. You are also disabling the computer’s default setting to snap your icons to a grid, which could cause them to rearrange themselves.

2. Edit your theme setting

Uncheck Allow themes to change desktop icons.

Another possibility is that your theme setting will change your desktop icons. The theme settings are a way of personalizing the appearance of your computer background, the buttons, the menu, and the icons. By default, your computer will use a particular desktop theme to shift around icons. If this is causing Windows to shift your icons, you can disable it. 

Here is the step-by-step process of editing your theme setting:

  1. Find the Start Button. It’s usually on the left side of your computer screen and appears as a Windows icon. 
  2. Open the Settings App by clicking on the gear icon in the Start Menu.
  3. Click on Personalization.
  4. Select Themes.
  5. In the Related Settings section, click on Desktop icon settings somewhere on the page.
  6. Disable Allow themes to change desktop icons. Disable this setting by unchecking the box.

This process will disable your Windows theme from changing your desktop settings and icons. To see if this worked and was causing the problem at hand, you can reboot or restart your computer.