Desktop icons not sorted right alphabetically - seems to be in 3 groups

By radiodave ·
When I select Arrange Icons By Name on my Windows XP desktop, it sorts them alphabetically as it should, but it seperates them into 3 groups:

* Recycle Bin (a 4th "group"- it is always the 1st icon)
* Group 1 - Shortcuts created automatically during program installations. Sorted A-Z.
* Group 2 - Folders I created on the desktop (not shortcuts to folders but real folders). Sorted A-Z after Group 1.
* Group 3 - Shortcuts I created to files and folders. Also files I created on the desktop (not shortcuts to files but real files). Sorted A-Z after Group 2.

So when I'm looking for something on my desktop, I have to scan through three different A-Z groups. Since I have lots of icons, it is difficult to find the one I want.

I can't see any difference in the icon's properties between say a shortcut I created and one created automatically during program installation. There may be some hidden property that Windows can see but I can't.

Is there a way I can get Windows to sort *all* my icons in a single A-Z list?

I have Windows XP SP 2 and IE 7.0.

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

Thread display: Collapse - | Expand +

All Answers

Collapse -

I's say you are heading for a major problem . . .

by OldER Mycroft In reply to Desktop icons not sorted ...

Because you are basically filling your Desktop with needless files/folder/icons.

Many of the icons you have on your desktop should be lower down the structure of your directory tree.

If you are set against using the 'Start - All Programs' menu system, one solution would be to create an icon for each group of icons. Place all the icons for one 'GROUP', inside the ICON for that GROUP.

The 'directory tree' is there for a reason:- it prevents confusion for BOTH you and the computer. You would not go out to buy a chest of drawers then pile all your socks and shorts on top of it.

Windows is only doing it's best to keep these icons in the groups to which they belong.

<Edited for clarity>

Collapse -

The joys of Hierarchy

by TheChas In reply to Desktop icons not sorted ...

What you are seeing is Windows file sort hierarchy.

Look in just about any folder on your hard drive, and you will see the same type of grouping.

The Desktop being a "special" folder has additional ordering rules.

The recycle bin is first because it is a system icon like My Computer and My Documents.

Program Icons come next not because of any particular properties of the icon itself. But, because they are linked to executable files.

Desktop folders have a natural priority over desktop files and links to files and folders.

Now, I suspect if we were to dig deep enough into the registry, we could change the order of the hierarchy. But, I don't believe we could eliminate the hierarchal structure and still have Windows function properly.

Personally, I would move all of the folders and files from your Desktop to the My Documents folder and work from there. While the folders will still be placed first, your files and file links will show up in order.


Collapse -

Partial Solution

by Steve_Newcastle In reply to Desktop icons not sorted ...

You can merge particular icons created at installation with those you created by sending to desktop from the start menu the problem entry program and deleting the original shortcut. I should only do this for those you particularly want to group as this will otherwise be an unending task.

Related Discussions

Related Forums