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WinXPTutor's XP Resources

Windows XP Tips, Illustrations and registry edits

"Show Desktop icons" and other options missing in the Desktop right-click menu ?

When you right-click the Desktop and choose Arrange Icons By sub-menu, these three options may be missing:

Show Desktop icons / Lock web items on the Desktop / Run Desktop Cleanup Wizard

This happens if the policy NoActiveDesktopChanges or NoActiveDesktop is enabled via the Group Policy Editor or via the Registry. Follow the steps given below to get back the missing options:

  • Click Start, Run and type REGEDIT. Navigate to the following key

HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Policies \ Explorer

  • Double-click NoActiveDesktopChanges and set it to 0
  • Double-click NoActiveDesktop and set it to 0 (if exists)
  • Close Registry Editor and restart Windows.

To change the setting via Group Policy Editor for Windows XP Professional:

  • Click Start/Run and type GPEDIT.MSC
  • Navigate to this path:

User Configuration
=> Administrative Templates
==> Desktop
===> Active Desktop

  • Double-click Prohibit Changes and set it to Not Configured
  • Double-click Disable Active Desktop and set it to Not Configured