You’ve downloaded or created a cool wallpaper image, but all of your desktop icons detract from your masterpiece. Or maybe you just want a nice, clean, minimalist desktop. Or perhaps you need to restrict end users from modifying their desktops.
There are tools like Microsoft’s Tweak UI that allow you to control the visibility of certain desktop icons. Tweak UI lets you hide or show Microsoft Outlook, My Network Places, and the Printers folder. But if you’re just trying to clean up the desktop, you don’t need an add-on—you just need to set a few local or group policy settings.
Using the MMC and group policies
To set local policies, run the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) and add the Group Policy snap-in focused on the local computer. Then expand the User Configuration | Administrative Templates | Desktop branch (see Figure A).
The policy Hide All Icons On Desktop hides all icons, including My Computer and the Recycle Bin; however, it also hides the wallpaper and prevents right-click access to the display properties from the desktop.
Three other policies safely remove the icons without affecting the wallpaper: Remove My Documents Icon From Desktop, Hide My Network Places Icon On Desktop, and Hide Internet Explorer Icon On Desktop.
Learn more about group policies and the MMC
For more information on Windows 2000 group policies and the MMC, check out these other TechRepublic articles:
- "Automate your software rollout with Windows 2000 group policies"—Save time and effort during your next software rollout. Automate your Windows 2000 software distribution process by using group policies to publish or assign your applications.
- "Lock down your desktops with Windows' Group Policy Editor"—Windows' Group Policy Editor can help you keep end users from meddling with their desktop OS settings. Take a look at how the Group Policy Editor works and find out how you can use it to stop users from saving desktop changes on exit.
- "Apply local Windows 2000 restrictions with the Group Policy console"—Maintaining desktop control is by no means a walk in the park, but Windows 2000's Group Policy console makes it a little easier. Here are nine simple steps to help you lock down those desktops.
- "Disable a Windows Context menu to prevent user tampering"—When supporting computers in a computer lab, you need to lock down the ways users can make settings changes. You can configure group policy settings or make registry edits to stop users from accessing the Context menu from the taskbar or desktop.