Windows Legacy OS forum


Desktop icons won't stay put - Shell key broken?

I recently had a virus and eventually got it removed, but now my desktop icons won't stay put.

Every time my desktop refreshes or after every reboot, all of my desktop icons move back to the left
side of the screen. The "Auto Arrange" option is not checked. That is the option I want, but the setting doesn't get saved.
I also tried restoring my computer to an earlier point, but that failed too.

I have read the following article:
"Changes to the size, view, icon or position of a folder are lost"

And deleted and re-created these two keys:

However, it's still not working. I have noticed that the "ShellNoRoam" key has been filled in since I re-created it, but the "Shell" key hasn't been touched. This is the key that supposedly contains the desktop settings I'm trying to save.

My question is, how do I fix my "Shell" key, if it's broken? It's not getting filled in my Windows.
I have the proper key, "BagMRU Size" set to 5000.

Filling the "Shell" key in myself with this line doesn't work:

I've been working on this for a couple days now, so I've rebooted my computer dozens of times.
Re-installing the OS is not a solution. I'm running Windows XP SP3, 32-bit.

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All Answers

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I've never found it to stick (natively)

In reply to: Desktop icons won't stay put - Shell key broken?

I use Fences (google Fences last free version) and it will keep the order on the desktop at least.

As the order in explorer was deprecated (yes it was) you can't count on that working any more. I bring this up in case you haven't heard about it.

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Re: Fences

In reply to: I've never found it to stick (natively)

Thanks for the reply.

Assuming I can't fix my problem, I did search for some 3rd party programs to save and restore my desktop icons.

I found some simple ones, like Desktop Icon Restore:

But, as soon as the desktop refreshes, everything gets pushed back to the left side.

I did look at Fences, but it may be a bit too much for me. I would really prefer my desktop icons work as before, as simple as possible.

The virus infected a desktop.ini file on my computer. I don't know if this was the root cause of my problem,
but I deleted all desktop.ini files after I cleaned my system. Windows should re-create them.

Collapse -
Nod to Fences.

In reply to: Re: Fences

The folk at the office liked it so much that I rarely see a desktop without it at the office.

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Re: Desktop Icons

In reply to: Nod to Fences.

So, before I give up, has anyone experienced this before?

Desktop icon arrangement not getting saved anymore due to a virus or some other corruption?

What Windows DLLs or programs control the Shell key?

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I had it from other than virus corruption.

In reply to: Re: Desktop Icons

To replicate it is easy. Arrange the icons. Boot Safe Mode, reboot and it's all messed up. Same thing if I change the desktop resolution.

In my opinion this is broken since the year 2000.

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Re: Safe Mode

In reply to: I had it from other than virus corruption.

I have noticed that too when cleaning my system. My desktop icons are always arranged on the left side in Safe Mode.
But it has always been like that, so I never gave it a second thought. But now, my main desktop is broken too.

BTW, I'm using a tool called Registry Monitor by Sysinternals to see what keys are being read/written when I refresh my desktop.

I don't see the "Shell" key being accessed anywhere.

Should this key exist?
explorer.exe:232 OpenKey HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.lnk NOTFOUND

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I'll check that tomorrow.

In reply to: Re: Safe Mode

At the office I have a few last XP machines.

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