In Windows 10 there is no easy way to adjust the spacing between icons on the desktop, as we did in Windows 7. There you can go to “Personalization”, select “Window color” and then click “Change advanced appearance options.”
Then, the Window Color and Appearance dialog box above will appear and you can customize all kinds of settings. Unfortunately, this is no longer in Windows 10.
Instead, if you want to change some of these settings, such as the spacing between icons (horizontal) or the spacing between icons (vertical), you need to edit the registry!
Change the spacing of icons on the desktop
Before doing this, be sure to back up your registry in case something goes wrong. I tried this on my machine and it works really well. Note that you will need to log out and log back in after changing the values ??in the registry to see the changes.
You must open the Registry Editor in Windows 10 by clicking the Start button and typing regedit.
Then navigate to the following registry key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER Control Panel Desktop WindowMetrics
You will see two values ??here: IconSpacing and IconVerticalSpacing. The default is odd -1125. You can adjust the horizontal spacing by changing the IconSpacing value.
Values ??range from -480 to -2730. Close to -480 there will be less horizontal space, and close to -2750 there will be more horizontal space.
Note that this is not actually the space between the icons on the desktop. This is the bounding box space for the desktop icon. Here’s what I mean:
As you can see above, I changed the IconSpacing value to -2000. This means that the width of the bounding box around each icon increases, but the actual distance between the icon and the rectangle is very small. So if you choose a lower value like -500, the text will actually be truncated:
For some reason, the vertical spacing key works a little differently. It doesn’t actually increase the area of ??the bounding box, but instead increases the actual spacing between the icons. Here’s what I mean:
As you can see, all the bounding boxes are small, but the actual space between the icons increased when I changed the value to -2000 for IconVerticalSpacing. You can also change other values ??in the WindowMetrics section.
For example, I changed BorderWidth to 25 instead of -15. This makes the border of any window 25px! The range of values ??here is from 0 to 50 pixels. Negative numbers are another calculation method called twips that you don’t need to worry about with this setup.
Check out my huge frame in File Explorer on Windows 10! As I said, be sure to back up your system before doing this. You can tweak a lot of desktop settings here, and Microsoft even has a link that tells you what each value does:
Even though Windows 10 doesn’t provide a graphical interface for customizing the look like Windows 7, you can still do it yourself through the registry and play around a bit.
If you were able to customize something using these keys in the registry, please leave a comment and let us know. Enjoy!