Desktop Icons Spread Out Messed Up -Windows 10/11 [FIXED]

I faced a weird issue recently after trying to change the resolution for one of my monitors on two monitors connected to laptop. The desktop icons spread out in a weird messed-up way. I know it sounds very simple and a simple “Right-click > View > Auto arrange icons” should fix it.

I thought the same but it did not. This article aims at solving this issue for you especially if none of the Windows 10 display options are helping. If windows 10 desktop icons spread out on your system as well recently, below mentioned tips should fix them.

For anyone on Windows 11, these tips will work on your Windows 11 system as well.

Note: We will be editing the registry file to resolve windows 10 desktop icons spaced out or messed up issue. If you are not sure what you are doing or alter other files that might be crucial for some of the components of the operating system, can result in a complete malfunction of your windows computer. Please proceed with caution.

How To Fix Windows Desktop Icons Spread out

The quickest way to fix Windows desktop icons spread out is to use the “Auto arrange icons” options first. If that does not work, editing the Windows registry should easily fix it.

If you are not looking to go down the path of editing the Regedit file and are looking for a solution from the GUI, you can try to Auto arrange icons by following the steps below:

1. Auto Arrange The Desktop Icons

  • Right-click on the desktop.
  • Go to View > and see if the “Auto arrange icons” option is not selected. If this is selected, you will not be able to freely move the icons on the desktop around.
  • Also, check if the “Align icons to the grid” option is ticked.
  • Refresh the page again and check if this has been resolved.
  • Try signing out of the profile and sign back in to double confirm.

READ: How To Use iPad As Second Screen on Windows Free

2. Change Desktop Icon Sizes

You want to make sure that the icons are not widely spaced just because of the size of the icons.

There are two ways you can change this.

  • Right-click on the settings > View > Check if that might be creating the weird spacing around the desktop icons
  • You can also hold down the control button on your keyboard when you are on the desktop and scroll the mouse wheel up and down. This changes the size of the icons on the desktop

2. Editing The Registry To Fix Windows Desktop Icons Spread out

Please make sure you understand the dangers of editing the registry file. As if you do something wrong, your computer might be functional. Learn how to backup and restore your registry.

If none of these fixed the widely spaced icons issue, you can try editing the regedit file directly. As I mentioned earlier this might break your computer, but if you follow the tutorial correctly you should be good.

  • Click on Start or if you are using Windows 10 or Windows 11 “Type here to search”
  • Type “Regedit” and open the “Registry Editor”
  • Click on “Yes” if required
  • Navigate to
Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics

You can also copy the URL from above and paste on the path section in the Registry editor

We are editing two keys here. IconSpacing and IconVerticalSpacing.

Before we do that check for the value next to these keys.

They should be around or exactly -1128 for both the keys.

Edit them only if you see a higher number – the higher the number higher the spacing between the icons.

  • To edit the keys double click on them and enter the value -1128 and click on OK
  • Close the Regedit and restart the system to make sure the changes are picked up by the system

The icons spacing might already be fixed after editing the two keys but if not then only I would suggest you restart the system.

That’s how I fixed my Windows 10 Desktop Icons Spread Out and got them back to normal. As mentioned earlier you can follow this guide to fix Windows 11 Icons spaced out issue as well.

I know this might not work for everyone, but please feel free to leave your suggestion in the comment below or reach out to me on the social media platforms and we can try to solve this issue together.

Prajwal is a senior editor @Windowslovers. A Tech enthusiast who loves to read and write articles that aid users in getting the most out of their gadgets and tech it easy.

6 thoughts on “Desktop Icons Spread Out Messed Up -Windows 10/11 [FIXED]”

  1. On my Windows 10 laptop I have about 55 icons, of which 85% of them have a blue page inside each icon with their actual names under them that I typed. When I click on any of the blue page Icons, it gives me an error message saying “Application Not Found”, how can I fix this?

  2. Editing the registry file did the trick. The values that I found for icon spacing and icon vertical spacing were over -5000 rather than -1128 (!)

    Changing those values to -1128 – as you stated – fixed the problem. I’m only wondering how the situation got created…


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.