Make desktop icons background colour as transparent in windows xp and vista

June 2, 200842 Comments
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I have been juggling around for so many days in order to find the correct settings in Windows XP , so as to make the icons appear smooth with each and every desktop wallpaper. ( as shown in the image below ).

Icons With Background Colour

icons-with-background-color

Icons Without Background Colour

icons-without-background-colour

Out of the above two which one do you like, your choice is up to you but most people like the second one ( icons without background colour ).

The only problem with the icons with background colour is whenever you set a  new desktop wallpaper you may need to select different background colour for your icons too so that they look better with your new wallpaper.

But there is setting both in windows XP and vista to make the background colour of icons as transparent.

Let’s see how to do it.

For windows XP and Vista

1. Right click on the My Computer, select properties.

2. Click on the Advanced Tab ( as shown in the image below ).

computer-advanced-tab

3. Click the on the Settings button, you will see a new window showing numerous number of options related to the GUI of windows. ( as shown in the image below).

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use-drop-shadows-for-icons

4. As highlighted in the image above make sure to check the box which says “Use drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop“. and click Ok 2 times.

5. That’s it ! Done.

Update:

We have just found that some of the users did not get this issue resolved even after applying the above mentioned tweak, In that case you may have some web page set as your desktop background, so these comments from some readers can help you.

Solution By Lisa [ Thanks Lisa ]

“ You can’t be displaying a web page as your background. To check this, right-click on the desktop and choose Properties. Select Customize desktop on the Desktop tab, then select the Web tab on the desktop items window and deselect any web pages that are shown.”

I had a jpeg as my desktop background and somehow a web page was still clicked in this menu. gotta love the logic of windows!

Filed in: xp tricks

About the Author ()

Author + Admin: Abhishek Bhatnagar - Professional blogger by passion, Software Enggineer. I love to write about useful computer tips & tricks. Connect with me at twitter or on google+ profile or mail me at abhishek@technixmedia.com or know me more on www.abhishekbhatnagar.com

Comments (42)

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  1. Siddharth says:

    Very nice trick :D I love the shadow effect beneath text :P

  2. Nirmal says:

    I too like the second layout.

  3. abhishek says:

    glad to know, our choices are similar :)

  4. ken-G says:

    Neat :) , do mention about the resourcehacker also :) its also one of the neat tricks

  5. Milan Chheda says:

    Undoubtedly, Second one is better. As in first one you always need to change the background color. Also the icons without background color looks nice on any wallpaper. It gives good looks.

  6. Bashir says:

    Hey just select “Let windows choose best settings for me” u”ll find it in…. Right Ckick My Computers –>Properties–>Advanced–>Settings–>Let windows choose best settings for me….Hope it woked….!!!

  7. roxy says:

    i have a vista.i try eveything and it still not working.

  8. murali says:

    i tried second option but it not works in windows xp itself what to do?

  9. Lisa says:

    i tried this as well…still showing a background color! grrrr!

  10. Lisa says:

    Try this: “You can’t be displaying a web page as your background. To check this, right-click on the desktop and choose Properties. Select Customize desktop on the Desktop tab, then select the Web tab on the desktop items window and deselect any web pages that are shown.” I had a jpeg as my desktop background and somehow a web page was still clicked in this menu. gotta love the logic of windows!

  11. suhail says:

    dear thanks for solution as i was trying from long time and was not able to get rid of shadows behind icons……….it worked.

  12. Tammy says:

    I have tried all of the above suggestions and still cannot get the shadows off my desktop. Any other suggestions besides a reburn!

  13. nikhil says:

    THANX A LOT LISA IT WORKED

  14. sugandha says:

    i m not able to open gmail account, i tried so many proxies but..yahoo & rediff can open pls suggest some more proxy

  15. avis says:

    LISA thanks alot for the info .. tried everything to get rid of that background , went to “performance” and everything to no avail … but your info solve it!

  16. manaf says:

    thanks a lot

  17. s says:

    thanks it worked

  18. Armin says:

    I’ve deselect “Use drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop” and also web pages in desktop properties. I don’t know what to do. I already restart my computer, but without any change. Does anybody else know what can I do, except formatting my notebook? This problem also makes my programs go slowly. I’m sick of it! Help me, please!

  19. Francis says:

    Armin, Four things are required for transparent icon backgrounds: 1.Control Panel-System-Advanced-Performance Settings. Check “Use drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop” on the Visual Effects tab. 2.Right-click on Desktop – “Arrange Icons by” and ensure Lock Web items is cleared. 3.Transparency will not work if you have web content on your desktop, Control Panel – Display Properties – Desktop tab – Customize Desktop - Web tab. Clear all check boxes or just delete all web content. 4. Ensure the Wallpaper is an image file not HTML. Thats it.

  20. uday kiran says:

    thank u very much lisa :)

  21. Anil says:

    Awesome… solutions by Lisa and Fransis Worked… Thanks a Ton guys…

  22. soham says:

    thnk u vry much…

  23. Lal says:

    Thanks all for the info.. It worked perfect !!!

  24. Zaki says:

    thankx a lot.. it works perfectly..

  25. icute says:

    Unfortunately, ive done the 4 things mentioned here but no luck the icon label text is still got the ugly background! What should i do to make this thing transparent?? Actually in the past it was transparent and just yesterday i dont know whats happening on my pc suddenly poof it went with the background after i change my desktop wallpaper. I’ve tried the iconoid too it resolve for a moment but then the drawbacks of that program is that whenever i refresh the desktop the icons label turn back to ugly background again. Plus i hate the program delay time on the point an arrow at desktop and the icons appear… ANy suggestion on how to resolve this messy problem??

  26. jeoma says:

    Just choose: “let windows choose what is best for me”, worked for me. None of the above solutions fixed it.

  27. Y.K. says:

    I had that problem when I was deciding betwen a few desktop pictures At the last one, the background apeared in the back of the icons I tried everything listed above but none worked Then the idea that there may be something diferent about my last picture came to my mind I remembered that it was the only one .gif format Then I was like “Nah, can’t be, that’s just silly” But I tried changing it with a .jpeg and it semed to work I find it quite weird, meybe .gif format pictures influence whenever there’s a background color or not? Is it possible?

  28. w says:

    Thankyou! now my mom is happy. less ugly desktop ;)

  29. mj says:

    this info is fantastic. thank you very much. I have had this prob at work. I asked the IT dept how to fix it, and they didn’t know. when my PC was replaced, of course I had no issues with the new PC, but for some reason, this morning, when I logged in, the background colour reappeared. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get any answers about this from IT helpdesk, so googled it. came across this ‘fix it page’ and voila. I am so happy, because it’s very annoying not having transparent icon background

  30. mj says:

    ps Francis’ update was the part I needed. the prob originally occured with some right click/quick clicking on desktop without actually selecting anything.

  31. Raju says:

    Thanks Lisa. It worked for me.

  32. james says:

    THANX SOOOO MUCH IT WORKED!!!

  33. jessica says:

    im so agitated right now lol…how do i change the icon background color…before vista – it was easy to do – now it’s jus too much…someone please helppppp thankyou!!!

  34. Gopal says:

    Thank you Lisa for the info provided to make the desktop icons transparent… Desktop Properties. Select Customize desktop on the Desktop tab, then select the Web tab on the desktop items window and deselect any web pages that are shown.”

  35. James says:

    To those who find this not to work. You need to have drop shadows unchecked before you check it thus you should follow these steps: open the dialog shown in step 4. Uncheck drop shadows. Click ok twice. Then go through the process again checking drop shadows. This has worked for me.

  36. koma says:

    i do all the things from control panel,system. but i dont get transperant icon and i also check the web item is also off.

  37. Darko says:

    Thks.. ALOT:)

  38. spiTFire says:

    Tnx a LOT …nicely dOne bcoz of this tutorial..piece of cake :D …continue sharing your talent…tnx

  39. Evan says:

    Thanks Francis It working for my computer

  40. Thiru says:

    Hi, Thank u very much. I resolved my problem.

  41. Anonymus says:

    Lisa rocks……………. Thankx.It worked fine…….

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