Make icons background transparent in Windows XP (if its not)

6 07 2007

If you’ve been wondering why your XP desktop icons have a background color, you’ll be glad to know you can flip a checkbox and have them go back to a normal transparent background.

See the two below:

icons with backgroundicons without background

To set the transparent background on the icons, we’ll need to open System Properties in Control Panel (or right-click on My Computer and select Properties).

system properties 343

In this dialog, click the Advanced tab, and then the Settings button under the Performance section.

232

Now scroll down to the button where you’ll find a checkbox for “Use drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop”. Make sure you check this box if you want transparent backgrounds on the icons.

Why this option isn’t just labeled “Enable Transparent Icons On the Desktop”, I just can’t say.

if checking it doesn’t fix your problem there is another step you must do. Follow this procedure:

Control Panel > Display > Desktop > Customize Desktop > Web > Uncheck everything here > OK > Apply

Thanks Matt

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177 responses

7 07 2007
mike

Thanks man! I was just finding this option.

Yes, you’re right! Why don’t they label it “Enable Transparent Icons On the Desktop”? :)

15 10 2009
vadivelan

ya, thanks i realy got the solution from this site

16 07 2007
Meder

it does’nt work for me i already tried that one and i dont have save as a web item. i already lock and unlock the web items. i tried setting a picture in the internet to set as webitem i clicked mouse 2 or rightcliick but i cannot find it. can you plss help me email me at meder_go@yahoo.com

21 07 2007
Meg

It didn’t work for me – the box was already checked when I went into that folder!

15 08 2007
Matt

The answer above is correct but not complete. That box must be checked but if checking it doesn’t fix your problem there is another step you must do. Follow this procedure:

Control Panel > Display > Desktop > Customize Desktop > Web > Uncheck everything here > OK > Apply > Curse out Bill Gates for making such a simple thing so difficult

10 04 2012
Daisy

Thank you, Matt. Been to few websites and read forums all morning, but finally this worked for me. All the rest was not really useful. Thanks so much!

26 05 2012
Awesomeboy

thank you so much! this helped a lot!

27 07 2012
Rick

Worked for me too! Just another reason to hate Bill. WSeems that I curse him on a regular basis.

23 11 2012
Naveen

Thank you :)

9 12 2012
Havana

Thank you thank you very much

8 07 2013
daniel

Thank you very very much!

20 12 2013
dgsr

Thank You! it worked for me!!

25 02 2014
Nasir

Thanks Dear, I faced a lot of trouble and finally i got rid of this problem by reading your answer.
Thanks a lotttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt!

21 07 2014
Speigel Mark

thanks

7 09 2007
Ron

Thanks man, It worked for me. After your first method didn’t work I tried your second method and at the WEB Tab, all I did was UNcheck the lock desktop items found at the bottom. But I made sure that the first method is also done right. Otherwise it will not change anything. Hope this helps others too.

22 09 2007
heaton

Thanks Man..

9 10 2007
Olga

Thanks for helping get rid of an annoyance! I rejoiced out loud when the second method worked (box was already checked from step 1).

30 12 2007
scott

Did everything twice,and still will not work for my own desktop background pictures…
any ideas ?

15 01 2008
AIMAN SAAD EGYPT

Make the background transparent for icons

Generally the background of icons is transparent by some way it turns into some colour this will not be nice to look at isnt it ??
So try these,

1)right click on the desktop>arrange icons by>lock web items on desktop (uncheck it)

If this does not solve ur problem then try

2)Go to Control Panel>System>Advanced>Performance area>Settings button>Visual Effects tab “Use drop shadows for icon labels on the Desktop”.(check it or tick on it)

this will solve the problem

11 04 2010
Michael

Thank you soooooo much that was bugging the living daylights out of me. Your solution worked pefectly and instantly ( the original solution by the website didn’t work)

8 07 2010
manohar

thank u so much yar. its great and perfectly working

6 01 2014
AMY

SUPER THANKS!

12 02 2008
sammynh

Thank you so much for posting this. I tried a million other things and it didnt work, but this did. You are a genius!

15 02 2008
Kiril

Thank you Matt for your helpful advise! It worked for me!

16 02 2008
Desirae

Thank you so much for the 2nd set of instrutions to go into the custimize desktop and uncheck everything- it worked!!! I was going nuts trying to fix it the other way, but nothing changed until i unchecked the box under web.

22 03 2008
Miku

Thanks a lot AIMAN SAAD EGYPT!!! You are the best! your advice was the single one who really works! Thanks again!

22 03 2008
Miku

Now I have another problem :( My network administrator has blocked the USB for using any USB data storage like mp3 players, flash pen etc. Know somebody what can I do to use again this option?
Thanks!

1 04 2008
Carl

Thanks for the tip – it worked BUT. . .now the wallpaper has shifted down so there is a band of the background colour to the top.
I tried stretching the wallpaper but it doesn’t work – it’s the correct size but somehow its just pushed down.

It disappears when I enable “Lock web items” but then the icon backgrounds become solid again.

Any suggestions?

Thanks

8 04 2008
samuraih

guyz I hav tried everything but nothing is working and I read this article saying it is because of spyware which attacked me a few dayz ago but it didnot give an option of how I can remove the colour.oliz help

18 04 2008
pras

How this in Windows Me (Millenium Editions) . I have the same problem.
Thanks .

21 05 2008
Russell

tnx for this one dude, this really helped me.

25 05 2008
Rob

Thanks Man…. you made my day! Been looking to fix this problem for a couple of days now, and this actually did it!! The key thing i didn’t do: Control Panel > Display > Desktop > Customize Desktop > Web > Uncheck <> here > OK > Apply. TY again and will def come back here for any other PC help!

11 06 2008
Epsilon

Hey Guys,
if all fails, please note:
The type of image you are using in your background impacts the transparency of your icon text.
For example – if you use a .jpg image the icons will get transparent — Using a .png they will not!
Hope this helps.

18 04 2012
McCloud

this needs to be remembered, i was having this problem and couldnt fix it, but realized my background was png. thanks!

26 06 2008
ghani

can any one help me how make folder’s background Transparent. it will be sooooo nice but I don’t know how to do that ?

13 07 2008
Alex

Dont work to my computer

20 07 2008
Antonio Kobashikawa Carrasco

Thank you :D I haved this problem for many days…

26 07 2008
sherwin

Dang thanks this really helped!

7 08 2008
Eugene

Thank you. It is amazing. !!! It work. Thanks again !

10 08 2008
Atom

I just created another administrator profile. Everything I tried here didn’t work. But the new profile worked. I just had to set up all my personalized settings up again. Fortunately, since it was a virtual machine, I had not yet set a whole lot up.

26 08 2008
mr_mojo`

Epsilon was very intuitive, After trying everything…many times! I checked my backgroung image and even though it was a .jpg I changed it to .bmp AND put it in the windows folder ( which may or may not have anything to do with it since it has not been there for years) and voila! IT WORKED!

Thanks

18 09 2008
Anand

It worked beautifully for me. Thanks Mate!

27 09 2008
Freako

None of this stuff worked. And oh, please don’t give the very same instructions as every other dumbass on this planet.
If you don’t know, then just shut up.

27 09 2008
MrGee

Thanks man! the first think didnt work but the second one did.. thanks again ;) god bless u :P

20 10 2008
Jenny

can you tell me how to do this on windows 2000 ?

25 10 2008
Rohit Aneja

Thanks man!
It worked.

1 11 2008
Karl

Wow. I have been fighting this annoyance for a long time. I had to run through the:
Control Panel > Display > Desktop > Customize Desktop > Web > Uncheck everything here > OK > Apply
option, and it worked perfect.

Thanks for bringing back my sanity!

2 11 2008
Mins

ThankQ… It Worked….

18 11 2008
subhash

Hello everybody

I have follow both way for make icons transplant.
1. Control Panel>System>Advanced>Performance area>Settings button>Visual Effects tab “Use drop shadows for icon labels on the Desktop”.(check it or tick on it)
2. Control Panel > Display > Desktop > Customize Desktop > Web > Uncheck everything here > OK > Apply

but both are not working, please help me !!!!!!!!!

Thanks

27 11 2008
HIF

Thanks a lot ;) I knew only about first way of making background of icons transparent but that time (some stupid program change it value) it does not help so I have started to search the answer on the net.

I have used “Control Panel > Display > Desktop > Customize Desktop > Web > Uncheck everything here > OK > Apply” and it works.

Thank you very much once again ;)

2 01 2009
Dvae

@ samuraih,
Control Panel > Display > Desktop > Customize Desktop > Web > Uncheck everything here > OK > Apply

19 01 2009
Gerhard

All credit to How to Geek for this article (I might have missed the credit given somewhere).

http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows/why-do-my-icons-have-a-background-color-in-windows-xp

20 01 2009
Argulas

If this all doesn’t work, change the theme to the original windows xp theme in display properties, then, look for a background you want in firefox, rightclick on it, and choose it as background, without changing the color, and voila, you have fixed it in some way :D

12 02 2009
carnen

Holy shit Matt. Thanks so much. It took me forever to mind this solution. >_<

13 02 2009
Vishal

Thanks for your help. Worked perfectly =D

13 02 2009
anurag

thanks man.

8 03 2009
Fack.

Hey guys, I read through the entire comments section and quite conveniently, nothing worked. I was using a .PNG file which didn’t have any background image on the icons. I tried BMP and JPEG, neither are working. What do I do? TIA

8 03 2009
Apple Pie Yum Yum Smiles

TEST

25 03 2009
Riana

I don’t know
it isn’t work on my computer
T___T
help me

2 04 2009
Ankush

I have tried both of these solutions many a times but they didn’t work out for me.
if you have some other solution please send me feedback at my id

8 04 2009
Doug C.

I recently found a nice photo on Flickr I wanted to use as the background image on my desktop. I copied the image and then pasted it in Photoshop and resized it to fit my desktop (1680×1050). After doing this I noticed there was still a background color behind my icon text. After spending all morning browsing Google and all the solutions offered (including the one here) I finally figured out what was wrong.

When saving the image in Photoshop I had used the “Save for Web” dialogue. Instead I saved the same image again only this time using “File>Save As” and picked “JPG” as the file type. Then I went to my desktop, right-clicked, chose Properties, Desktop tab, browsed to the saved image, and applied.

Viola! Transparent icons.

10 04 2009
XXY

OMG OMG THANKS AIMAN SAAD EGYPT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT HELPED SO MUCH!!!

27 04 2009
Danthrax

I’ve tried everything on this page and none of it works!!!!

I’ve accidently done this on my friends computer and now I can’t undo it!! and I don’t know how I did it in the first place. Can anyone help??

5 05 2009
eddie

thanks for the info on making desktop clear on xp
unchecking the WEB sttings worked when nothing else would….

appreciate it…
eddie

12 05 2009
Ly

Thank you!

25 05 2009
Ursula

Thanks a lot, man!
i was wondering what happened to my icon backgrounds.. the second solution solved it!!
I really appreciate it!

25 05 2009
Balaji @GuideToTech

Thanks mate it’s worked…

31 05 2009
mayowa

“if checking it doesn’t fix your problem there is another step you must do. Follow this procedure:

Control Panel > Display > Desktop > Customize Desktop > Web > Uncheck everything here > OK > Apply”

this option worked fine.
Thanks.

3 06 2009
john

nice.. it worked ^_^v tnx

6 07 2009
Dewey

I have no web tab in my “customise desktop”. Help!!!!

26 07 2009
venkat

thank you friend.its working.thanks a lot.

31 07 2009
ullas

Thank you …………………………..

2 08 2009
anirudha

i check it but this is not work so please please send me another way to transparent & i have another prob that if my desktop have not any icon his background-color is white

send your answer to
anirudhakumar.gupta@gmail.com

14 10 2009
eee

Thank you, thank you! Didn’t work the first way. Had to try the second one with the Display/Desktop menu.

Cheers!

14 10 2009
Dewey

Under the desktop and customize desktop, Web is not an option. There are only 3 avaialble. I looked on a different computer and it was there, how do i get it back?

1 11 2009
Rob

I was really frustrated because nothing was working…this worked:

# You need to make sure that High Contrast is not selected under Accessibility \ Display Options in your Control Panel.

11 09 2012
sebs

THIS HAS DONE IT FOR ME!!!! THANKS ROB! diSabled HIGH CONTRAST in CONTROL PANEL — ACCESSIBILITY OPTIONS — DISPLAY. cheers!

20 11 2009
Ritesh Raghuvanshi

Thanks very Much.

The customize desktop step helped me a lot.

i had tried all in visual effects but was not able to get the same.

3 12 2009
Kazzandra

I knew it was the active desktop, but I couldn’t remember how to get to it in XP! THANKS! More helpful that Microsoft’s laughable database.

4 01 2010
Jayaraj

ya Matt. Thank you……. It’s works me….

2 02 2010
Anjaneya

Great !!!
It worked
Thanks

6 02 2010
Ashes

Both the tricks dint work for me
the reason was that my wallpaper was in PNG format, I changed it to JPG and it worked

reference:

http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows/why-do-my-icons-have-a-background-color-in-windows-xp/

7 05 2010
Dilmurat

Thanks! it worked for me.

14 05 2010
hari

thanks. REALLLLLLYYYYYY WORKS!!!!!!!

14 05 2010
NIKKU

HI ITS ME NIK

25 05 2010
Manish

Hey It worked for me Thank u.. :-D

8 06 2010
Matt Duggan

Thanks very much. Very useful guide and well illustrated. If only there were more people able to put together quick tutorials like this.

14 06 2010
Naveen

Hey this worked.

13 08 2010
Vincent

You r my man!!!!! nice

17 09 2010
oded

what is the color that will turn transparent?

21 09 2010
Emily

I tried that but my background is still gray…I checked it..did I do something wrong?

21 09 2010
Emily

Nevermind, I looked through the comments and found the solution. :)

11 10 2010
Chris

Super!!

Worked for me, now i am happy with the result. :-)

I am glad i stumbled upon this tutorial.

Thank you.

11 11 2010
Thiru

Hi… thanks its working very nice…
really its helpful for me..
thank u

22 11 2010
asbias

thank’s. quickly changed yourself background

10 12 2010
ALTAFS

THNX MAN IT WORKS…………… THNX A LOT

31 01 2011
sfo1ckh

None of this works with a gif file, any other suggestions

10 02 2011
Mike

Thanks this was driving me bugnuts, don’t know how it got turned on but am glad it is off now.

8 03 2011
Chinmay

Thanks a lot Bud…..2nd option worked for me.

15 03 2011
Ann

Thanks, Matt….. the 2nd thing worked. Looked all over for a solution, and you turned out to be the genius. Thanks!!!

31 03 2011
Rb

This didn’t work for me because my background was in PNG format…once i changed it to a jpeg it worked fine!

27 04 2011
P

Thanks – you’re a genius – its so pesky otherwise!!!

5 05 2011
Diane

I tried everything and was ready to pull my hair out. I finally found this option

You need to make sure that High Contrast is *not* selected under Control Panel -> Accessibility -> Display Options.

My wasn’t, however, I selected High Contrast to enable it, then Apply, then unchecked it, then Apply and then went into the Settings and under High Contrast Appearance Theme: I chose Windows Standard from the drop down menu. Then Selected Ok and then Apply.

FINALLY – it’s back to normal.

12 05 2011
badong trueasiatik

Thank you very much!! ITS WORKING!!! btw, this is from Buddy from Philippines

1 06 2011
SDK

Thanks a lot. The second way changed my settings back.

7 06 2011
rhytonic

thanks u so much for helping this …

16 06 2011
anonimus

thank you, that helped alot.

5 07 2011
Jai-ho

Control Panel > Display > Desktop > Customize Desktop > Web > Uncheck everything here > OK > Apply

This has been only worked for my system

Thanks buddy

10 07 2011
PraveenRaj

Thanks buddy…. its worked. thanks a lot.

13 07 2011
Test

Thanks a lot.!!….

1 08 2011
scretzie

thanks. it really help…. :)

2 09 2011
Byrdman

Spectacular. From a computer challenged knob, you’ve made my Friday even brighter

21 09 2011
Highlighted icons? - PCMech Forums

[...] [...]

26 09 2011
Hede

Great solution, thx..

19 10 2011
MARC

thanks … men i like this …
now a fix my desktop to original appearance
thanks a lot

3 12 2011
snits

Thanks…finally found a post that worked…

13 12 2011
Mia

THANK YOU SOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH! =))

23 12 2011
john

The box was initially checked on mine when the background color was appearing, so I unchecked, applied, and rechecked, applied and it removed it. The IT department here at work had no idea how to resolve it. Cheers, thanks.

9 01 2012
annu

thank for help me , it will work if you do full process ok

19 01 2012
JES

Thank you, thank you, thank you! This has been driving me nuts for ages.

28 01 2012
Dany

Thanks man ! So goooood !!!! Very nice !

17 02 2012
MonsterRiveter83

What version of XP is this for, since it doesn’t seem to matter how many times I repeat any of the steps, it doesn’t work for XP Pro SP 3.

17 02 2012
MonsterRiveter83

Please disregard my last post. After going back over the steps listed, I realized that my background was in .png format. Converted it over to .jpg. Transparency applied.

28 02 2012
Ebenezer

Thanks..
Really Worked.
Thanks for the help man.
Keep it up.
Update more solutions.

29 03 2012
Pete

THANK YOU!!

6 04 2012
Rakesh Kumar Sahu

It was a simple trick i never knew. It was checked previously, I unchecked and clicked apply and again I checked that option and the problem got solved.

9 04 2012
Naveen

The second solution worked.

Thanks

24 04 2012
Damon

Thanks, really worked for xp home edition.

25 04 2012
rakesh yadav

my problem is not solve please help me & give a answer quicly.

25 04 2012
rakesh yadav

give a full process in email id

25 04 2012
rakesh yadav

please give me answer in 2 min.

30 04 2012
sid

The second option worked for me.thnx! ;)

30 04 2012
aditt

thankz :) :) it worked :) :P

10 05 2012
nnaji chijioke

thanks it helps me alot

30 06 2012
Maddy

Thanks a lot friend….my problem is solved with your second option…

9 07 2012
keyobo

thanks, i tried the two ways but didn’t work. what did work is when i convert my wallpaper from .BNG to .jpg the icon came back transparent.

13 07 2012
RealityChek1956

Do it the simple way people. Right click on the desktop. Click on properties. Click on the desktop tab at the top. Look over on the right hand side where it says Browse…Position and Color at the bottom. What color is the background of the picture on your desktop..? Click on the color tab. Match the color to your background color. Is it black..? Then click the black color square. There are several different colors to choose from in there. If you dont see the color you need….then click on “other” at the bottom. This will take you to another screen…where you can play with a color mixer. When you find the tint you want ……be sure and save it to your custom colors. Close that screen and that particular custom color will show up on the previous screen. There ya go. This works for XP with SP3 . Not sure of other systems.

28 07 2013
PRO

Mr/Ms anybody… dont put these type of answers,we should find technically
not as like child

6 08 2012
sunil

when our cursor is on icon a shadow comes out its transparent shadow i want in xp

8 08 2012
prakash

thanx buddy it works for me : )

14 08 2012
A VERY HAPPY FELLA CALLED DEMYN

YES
YES

26 08 2012
amit

thanx boss its works.

5 09 2012
itproof

100% Solution:
A) Right click desktop > Properties > Desktop > Cuztomize Desktop > Web > Uncheck ALL Boxes

B) Control Panel > Accessibility Options > Adjust the contrast for text and colors on your screen > Uncheck “Use High Contrast”

You should be all good. Of course, this assumes you already have “Use drop shadow for icon label…” already checked.

Part B is what solved my problem, since I had already done A.

28 09 2012
Jabar Riaz

hahaha solved … simple solution with an interesting discussion…

9 10 2012
vicky

it was helpful..thanks

17 10 2012
niru

i have been to many webs searching and reading on this problem which didn’t resolve…….but i was doing the first procedure …but didn’t uncheck all in the display> desktop customize>web……when i uncheck these after first step it worked ….awesome..it worked ….

8 11 2012
Abdallah

Thank u very much it really worked.
For those whom doesnt work with them, u should make the second step which is:
Desktop —> Righ click –> Properties —> Desktop Tab —> Customize Desktop —> Web Tab —> ” Uncheck everything there even Lock Desktop Items”

28 11 2012
Larissa

FANTASTIC, thanks so much

30 11 2012
ADIL

THANKS MAN I AM WORKING IN COOPERATE IT SECTOR THIS STUPID PROBLEM I CANT FIND THE SOLUTION.
THANKS TO U 2ND SOL. WORKED FOR ME THANKS U V.MUCH

10 12 2012
faizan

Thanks Sir! you have solved my computer problem.

26 12 2012
BOb

Thanks Dude

1 01 2013
Ehtisham

Thanks friend

9 01 2013
Sissy

Thanks. You’re the only one to mention the extra step (on the “web” tab).

25 01 2013
asaadshaikh

THANKS MAN UR THE BEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111111111111

22 02 2013
GoranI

Hmmm it does not work for me. Every solution is not affect the text under to icons, only if I put windows classic theme, when text under icon become transparent again, but if I put a picture as a wallpaper (jpg) …. problem appear again.

17 03 2013
Garythegunnut

Thanks Matt, I have looked on at least a dozen pages of help tips for this.

26 03 2013
robert

i did all of the solutions mentioned above but still it doesn’t work..can anyone teach me how to fix it through registry??

21 04 2013
voyagersun@yahoo.co.uk

After doing other suggestions a million times your extra through finally worked – THANK YOU

25 04 2013
Sudhanshu Bhardwaj

gr8 trick…
Its working – thnx

4 06 2013
Vivek Singh

Thank you

17 06 2013
Sujit Singh

Thanks Buddy You Rocks

22 06 2013
najeeb

done!!!thank you dear

2 07 2013
Ido

Wow, Thanks dude that was so helpful my desktop looked very bad when i had it on… thank you mate you saved me :D

8 07 2013
zub

Thanks you very much the 2nd step made it work.

10 07 2013
M

thank you very much!

8 08 2013
Бранко Илић

thanks

21 09 2013
Gino

thanks a lot worked for me just fine..yeheyyyyyy!

5 10 2013
Ashok kumar gouda

Thanks sir

14 10 2013
nubiekei

Still does’nt work for me… :(

30 12 2013
go fuck yourself

Thank you for the alternative troubleshooting technique. It worked like a charm!

29 01 2014
Ken Guthrie

Yes, finally. Thought this would be a simple fix since I have been in the computer industry since 1979. Microsoft and their unique “wisdom”?

11 02 2014
Peter Williams

Brilliant – you’re the man!

30 03 2014
Ramy85

This solution is great for me…. Thanks alot.
Recommended……………………………………

13 05 2014
Fatima Khatri

Thank you so much…..

5 07 2014
ubaydian

thank you this post very helpfull,,

22 07 2014
social media sites like facebook

social media sites like facebook

Make icons background transparent in Windows XP (if its not) | iHacking

15 08 2014
Paula Trang “Khuấy Động” Bữa Trưa Vui Vẻ

It’s an awesome paragraph in support of all the web users; they will obtain benefit
from it I am sure.

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