Weirdly Spaced Desktop Icons Fix

I faced a weird issue recently after trying to change the resolution for one of my monitor on a dual monitor setup. The icons were widely spaced, 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.

Note: We will be editing the registry file. 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.

What I Tried

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 some of the things I mention below.

Change the display settings

  • 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 resolved
  • Try signing out of the profile and sign back in to double confirm

Changing the icons size

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

Editing the registry file to fix the desktop icon spacing issue

If none of these fixed the widely spaced icons issue, you can try editing the regedit file directly. Like 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 “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
entering-correct-spacing-value

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

That’s how I fixed my widely spaced desktop icons and got them back to normal.

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

4 thoughts on “Weirdly Spaced Desktop Icons Fix”

  1. 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…

    Reply

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