help!! twin icons on desktop



whenever i add something (shortcuts or files) to the desktop, the icon will be duplicated.

i tried deleting one of them, but the remaining one becomes disfunctional. i have to delete both, and restore one from the recycle bin. (incidentally, i can only see one deleted icon in the recycle bin).

this works, until i add something else to the destop, or when the desktop is refreshed. the "phantom" icon(s) will then reappear.

mine is a new machine with XP pre-installed. please help me eliminate this annoying "double vision". thanks in advance!


wow..that's a strange problem..never seen that before..what version of XP are u running?if i were you, i would just format my pc and install windows again..cuz pre-installed os' suck big time..the technicians always screw up..


I have had this happen to me. In my control panel, I show two audio icons. exactly the same. I am assuming it happened when I upgraded my audio card. I cannot delete the non-working one, so I just leave it alone... its the only time I have seen it happen so far. Not worth a fresh format for me tho


thanks to both of you. would prefer not to do a re-install though in case it messes up my other installations. sic, i'm using XP home.


OSNN Senior Addict
Dec 25, 2001
Ya know, my kids PC has the 2 icon thing happening on their machine, except they are running win98SE. I did manage to fix it, until the PC was rebooted.

Anything added to the desktop: folders, shortcuts, files, etc will all create duplicates of themselves. You can delete one, but the other stays there and cannot be deleted. I can't remember what I did to fix it exactly, but it involved regedit (of course). If I remember right, I did a search in regedit for "desktop" to see if there was anything weird, and I found a duplicate desktop entry that was pointing to a shortcut to the real desktop. I deleted the duplicate "wrong" key and it fixed it until I rebooted. Now I can't figure out what I did the first time, or where it was.

Im gonna go look at it again. Maybe the problems/solutions are similar.

Dirk Diggler

Hi sbt,
go into the registry to these two places
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE / Software / Microsoft / Windows / CurrentVersion / Explorer / USER SHELL FOLDERS
HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-21-######### / Software / Microsoft / Windows / CurrentVersion / Explorer / USER SHELL FOLDERS

Make sure the two Desktops in the right side are pointing to different locations.
This worked fine on my machine


I think Dirk Diggler has it.

I had the double icon thing when I was playing with moving my desktop. I pointed "all users" and "current user" to the same spot.
so fix that and u should be ok.


hi pals,

yea, indeed the two desktops are pointing to the same location as Dirk and insaNity mentioned!

so which one should i delete or re-point? LOCAL_MACHINE or USERS?

great to be spotting the light at the end of the tunnel.....

Dirk Diggler

you can point whichever you want to a new location.
The Desktop I boot to is in the USERS section, I am the only user.


finally...the twin is gone!

i repointed the desktop file in LOCAL_MACHINE to guess where? the recycle bin..hahaha...then rebooted.

i don't exactly understand what this means though, since i don't see phantom icons added to the recycle bin as a result.

dirk, some more enlightenment here if not too much trouble? btw, i'm also the only user on my machine.


perhaps I can explain it.

Windows has an "all users" profile so you can have a public/shared desktop, startmenu, douments, etc and also have you own personal ones.

the "all users" desktop is visible to every user, as well as their own desktop. just by looking at it, you dont know which are your own and which are "all users".

If both desktops are pointed to the same location, you see everything twice, as windows lists the all users desktop, then adds your own.

I wouldn't recommend setting it to the recycle bin. Although it should be harmless enough, you might one day need something sent to the "all users" desktop. You should just point it to its default location which is "Documents and Settings\All Users\Desktop"

it might have other weird effects, like deleted files showing up on your desktop!

hope that fills you in.

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