Windows Vista does not place Internet Explorer (currently Internet Explorer 7 namely IE7) icon or shortcut on desktop. Even if initially there is IE desktop icon, once you delete or hide the IE icon, it’s pretty hard to get back the full applet IE7 desktop icon even though during the deletion, the warning message prompts you to restore it later from Personalization in Control Panel, as IE is not contained in Desktop Icon settings. Creating shortcut to IE won’t be nice as it’s shortcut icon, not an actual IE7 desktop icon which allows you easy access to Internet Properties and other related Internet functions (see image below).

IE7 Icon and Shortcut
IE7 desktop icon and desktop shortcut side by side.

To re-enable, restore, show and display the Internet Explorer (IE) Vista desktop icon, here the step on how to do it:

  1. Start registry editor by clicking on Start button, then select Run. Type in regedit in the Open text box and hit “OK” or press “Enter”.
  2. Navigate to the following registry key:


    If you’re using classic theme or scheme, browse to the following registry location instead:


    If the above key doesn’t exist, create a new key.

  3. Edit or create a DWORD (32-bit) value named {871C5380-42A0-1069-A2EA-08002B30309D} and set it with value of 0 (dword:00000000).
  4. Refresh Windows Vista desktop by pressing F5 or right click on desktop and click Refresh.

IE7 icon on Windows Desktop
You will see the IE or IE7 icon has been put back on Vista desktop.

For easier way, here is the registration (.reg) file that you can download and then double click to execute the file to merge the required registry key and value into the Vista registry. Refresh desktop after applying the registry hack.

Download with vistaie_icon.reg or vistaie_icon_classic.reg (for classic Vista desktop theme only).

Alternatively, copy and paste the below code to a text file and save it as a file name with .reg extension. Then double click on the file to merge the data to the registry. After refreshing desktop, IE7 desktop icon will be back on view.


Or for classic Windows desktop:


The trick is also used to restore IE desktop icon in Windows XP SP3.