Vista desktop Icons – how to make them smaller

OK I like the look of vista more than the teenagers abominable idea of a desktop that was XP and bliss…… ahh look at the purty colours.

However I’ve been head scratching about the mickey mouse size of the icons they’re huge and I hate them – went all the way through personalize (sic) (come on guys I know it’s  the same language but can’t we have regionalised spelling appropriate to the region please?) to no avail and then I looked again – right click on desktop > view

> classic icons…. sanity returns

sometimes you can’t see the trees for the wood

there’s even a large icons option for people with enormous displays or really really bad eyesight

UPDATE:  you can also change the size of the icons by clicking on the desktop and moving the mouse wheel back and forth whilst holding down the left ctrl key ( check out the size they can get to )


79 Responses to Vista desktop Icons – how to make them smaller

  1. John says:

    Thanks for the quick and easy to follow explanation of how to make the icons smaller, much appreciated

  2. fanatical says:

    cheers John – glad to be of service, bizarrely this is one of the most popular landing pages on my blog and you’re the first to say thanks – much appreciated, shows good manners aren’t dead

  3. Leslee says:

    Thanks! been searching forever!

  4. fanatical says:

    no probs leslee enjoy your rediscovered desktop real estate

  5. Matthew Versaggi says:


    It worked like a charm …. thanks for the help!

  6. Siobhan says:

    Brilliant! I couldn’t stand the HUGE icons. : þ

    Thanks for making it quick and easy!

  7. alasdairford says:

    no problem siobhan – glad to be of service

  8. Spick says:

    Shot mate. Now I can see my screen again. I did something and all my icons went king size on me.

  9. alasdairford says:

    I’m guessing mouse wheel and control I do it all the time – works across the office suite as well :)

  10. stef says:

    thanks m8 i have been searching forever.cheers

  11. Rebecca says:

    Thankyou so much! I got Vista today, and have been loving it except for the icons!! Half of them were so pixelated it was ridiculous!

  12. Emster says:

    Thanks Dude! I searched throgh Vista as in XP to make the icons smaller to a dead end. I searched and found this page. Thanks Dude, you do rock! Great fix!

  13. Solaris17 says:

    thnx for the info iv been looking for this for weeks after i put vista back on those huge icons killll me but now their perfect thnak you

  14. PeeJay says:

    Thank you, everything should be so easy?

    The Best!

  15. Fire Sale says:

    Well done, thanks. Very well written and most probably the most informative.

  16. Daniel Collis says:

    LOL, tnx the size of the icons was really shitting me (yes i went thru all the personalise crap to lol) much tnx verry helpfull =D

  17. Erwin says:

    Man … this helped a LOT!! Thanx!! Keep up the good work!!

  18. RC says:

    Thank you for that quick tip. The larger icons in Vista are nasty. :)

  19. Dennis says:

    Brilliant. For once a straightfoward solution to an annoying little (big) thing!
    I wonder how people find out about things like holding left ctrl key while rotating mouse wheel.

  20. ken says:

    thank you!

  21. Adrian says:

    great, tyty!

  22. alasdairford says:

    well I’ve been very lax recently but all the positive comments are really gratifying long live politeness ty to you peeps

  23. alicia says:

    very helpful, the answer was right under the nose the whole time :P

  24. mike says:

    so obvious! *smacks head* now i can enjoy my beautiful video wallpaper the way i have always dreamed of!

    thank you!

  25. Thomas says:

    Easy when you know how, LOL I’ve been putting up with those oversize and not very clever looking icons for months now. Thank you, thank you, thank you Mashup. What a relief!

  26. Ralf says:

    Amazing that almost a year later it still comes up in google and is VERY useful. Thanks!!!

  27. alasdairford says:

    no probs ralf – good to see I’ve pushed channel 9 off te top spot again :)

  28. Daniel says:

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!! The size has been bothering me for SOOO long and now i fixed it!

    THANK YOU!!!!!!

  29. feather says:

    THANK you!! Those things were driving me crazy — every time I looked at my desktop I did doubletakes at their hugeness. So much better now.

  30. michael in paris says:

    Thank you very much for helping me to humanize (hey, I’m from Brooklyn!) my Vista desktop. Incredible that Microsoft doesn’t make this easy to find!

  31. Jay says:

    Hi.. thanks for your help !!! desktop looks much better now !! superb !!

  32. eugene says:

    thank you, now I am not overwhelmed by the icons all the time

  33. Oliver says:

    Thanks for this, really simple and helpful. thanx again


  34. S.M. says:

    Thanks–just what I was looking for!

  35. thank you immensely…

  36. Dave says:

    Good manners may not be dead, but the english language is dying.
    I hate how americanised not [ized] everything is now a days, i was walking back from uni few days ago and saw some road workers removing a perfectly good road sign say authorised so i stayed for a while curious and over the top they actually got rid of the s so it was kinda visable and replaced it with a Z is this country going mad???
    oh Thank you for the guide up top :)

  37. Jeff says:

    Thank You! I wasn’t sure if I was the only one who felt that Windows thinks we’re all blind.

  38. Bhawar says:

    Excellent help. I lost time trying to figure this out until I thought, hell with it let me google it..

    Great post

  39. Joy C says:

    Thank You!!!!


  40. crozy says:

    Thanks man. Those big Icons are now a thing of the past. Cheers!

  41. Bob says:

    Thanx!!! I was looking forever for this!

  42. Wildcat0695 says:

    THANK YOU. This was driving me nuts. You’re #1 on the Google search. :-) I am bookmarking this for future reference also.

  43. Makr says:

    That is sooo awesome. I love you

  44. Sam Broughton says:

    Thanks! I have the icons at the smallest size and now i have hundreds on my desktop! I never realised the ctrl-wheel trick worked on the desktop!

  45. […] In alta ordine de idei, prima “problema” cu Vista a fost … cum sa-mi fac icon-urile mai mici. Am gasit imediat, via Google, o mana de ajutor aici. […]

  46. Will says:

    Thank you so so sooo much!

    I’ve been trying to fix this for ages, and now I can thanks to your advice.


  47. ashley says:

    omg thank you SO SO SO much for that update.
    i needed to find out how to get them smaller than classic and you found the way to do it! whoo!
    thank YOU so much!

  48. Cellux says:

    More then a year later, and it still helps. Haha :D

  49. carol says:

    fantastic thanks for the easy solution to an ugly problem in vista

  50. Idjo says:

    Just go to Desktop, press CTRL ant move mousewheel up or down

  51. Adonus says:

    GENIUS… though, it is nice to know I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t either figure it out…. or remember how to do it. :)

  52. Support says:

    Thanks for the info, been bugging the crap out of me.

  53. Emily says:

    Thank you so much! I’ve been trying to figure this out. The big icons were driving me crazy!

  54. ImNotOkay says:

    Thank you.

  55. Kim says:

    Thank you so much. Just got this laptop… have owned multiple computers and for the life of me, I couldn’t remember how to change the icons on the desktop. I went through the whole appearance/screen resolution madness as well. Thanks so much for the quick and easy reminder… now I have NORMAL icons and not those super large icons.

  56. red says:

    omg thanks man that was so easy
    vista = bang though

  57. ken says:

    many thanks for your tip on how to make the icons smaller on vista

  58. Daniel says:

    Nor could I see the forest through the trees. Thank you for your post. It’s a shame the option isn’t where so many people seem to expect it. Again, thank you for your post!

  59. Dean says:

    Worked Great
    Simple and easy explanation of the subject :)

  60. Alan says:

    Brilliant….thank you very much.

  61. jeko11 says:

    Wow finally. thanks for this. :)

  62. Will says:

    I now love you forever

  63. shockingreality says:

    LOL..there it is…
    thanks so much…hahaha..
    yeah you’re right
    sanity returns…=D

  64. Echo says:

    THANK YOU for this! Sometimes the solution can be so simple that it’s hard to think of, LOL… And I just LOVED the tip about the mouse wheel! :-)

  65. Tim Nantz says:

    Thanks! This tip also works in Windows 7, which is really Vista SP2 *wink*

  66. nnnbreaz says:

    Tanks, its so simple but is geniusilly:), it cannot be foud in a normal search, i bealive ive searched for it at leas 30 min, but at the end ive google it so… i ended up here
    thanks again
    great post

  67. Gina says:

    Thank you! I am so happy to have the icons normal looking now. ☺

  68. jason says:

    yea i did same, spent ages looking threw all control panel etc. thanks

  69. Pete says:

    Thanks for the tip just what I was looking for, I despise clunky big icons

  70. Fran says:

    Couple of years late but thanks for this, I’ve just been through the XP style “right-click – personalize – search & browse for ages – oh hell I’ll just google it” palaver.

    BTW “-ize” spellings are fine in British English – the OED prefers them, it doesn’t even have “realise” as a word in OED online!! It’s just that most other publishers prefer “-ise”, and we got taught in school that “-ise” was right. But your teacher was wrong. ;)

  71. Tim says:

    U r rock!!!! Superb.. so simple n easy.. I never thought of it.. I was trying to reduce the Icon size.. LOL..

  72. Andrew says:

    Thanx! Now I can finally see Sora!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  73. topmark says:

    hey thanks mate,i was gonna get a new desktop because of this lmao thanks again

  74. AK says:

    Awesome. I forgot I could do that since I didn’t have to with all the other windows systems.

    Those huge icons were getting on my nerves.

  75. Chandan says:


    Just adding my thanks here. Thanks for the tip, and rock on!

  76. Elite 6809 says:

    I never knew you could change the size with the scroll wheel.
    Many thanks!!

  77. Leeroy says:

    Thanks for the tip on the icons, I also have gigantic webpages as well that dont fit vertically or horizontally as well, the icons i can fix but not these oversized webpages, HELP anyone

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