Renaming and Deleting Icons

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 28, 2020)

Desktop icons can be renamed just like any other object in Windows: Right-click the icon and choose Rename from the Context menu. If you prefer, you can select the icon and press F2. Either way, the name of the icon is "activated," and you can make any changes you desire.

To delete an icon, just select it and hit the Delete key. If you prefer to use the mouse, you can right-click on the icon and choose Delete from the Context menu.

You should be careful of one thing, however: That you only delete shortcuts from the desktop. You can tell if an icon is a shortcut by looking closely at it. If a small upward-pointing arrow is in the lower-left corner of the icon, then it's a shortcut. You can delete these left and right without any real consequences—the program, folder, or file pointed to by the shortcut still remains on the computer. (You're only deleting a reference to the program, folder, or file, not the actual item.)

If no small upward-pointing arrow appears in the lower-left corner of the icon, then the icon represents the real thing. Deleting the real thing may be something you want to do, but it may not—you need to think through your action to make sure you really want to delete the item. If you do, then delete away! If you don't, then consider moving the icon to a different folder on your system so it's still accessible but doesn't clutter your desktop.

 This tip (10959) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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