How to Hide Desktop Icons in Windows 11

Introduction

Maybe you have a Windows 11 desktop that’s littered with icons and you don’t want to look at the mess. Or, maybe you’ve gotten rid of everything else on your desktop but aren’t sure how to get rid of the Recycle Bin icon. No matter your reason, Windows 11 does make it possible to hide all of your desktop icons so your home screen is a blank slate with a clear view of your wallpaper.

Some of the images associated with the steps are included inline below. All images associated with these steps can be seen in the embedded YouTube video. Also, please note that you’re not able to leave a comment directly on this article. If you have a question or feedback, please leave it on the YouTube video.

YouTube player

Steps to Hide Desktop Icons in Windows 11

  1. Navigate to your Windows 11 home screen, and then right click to open a menu.
  2. Click “View” in this menu to expand that into another menu.

  1. Click to remove the check mark from “Show Desktop Icons” in this list of options. All of the desktop icons on your Windows 11 computer will automatically be hidden and no longer visible. You can navigate back to this section at any time and re-enable this option to show your desktop icons again.

How to Empty the Recycle Bin if You Can’t See It?

The biggest problem with hiding your desktop icons is that you don’t have easy access to your Recycle Bin icon. Being able to easily empty your computer’s recycle bin is important to quickly free up valuable space on your computer. While there are a few different ways to empty your recycle bin, the quickest way is to use the Command Prompt. You can empty your Windows 11 computer’s recycle bin from the Command Prompt by running the following command:

rd /s %systemdrive%$recycle.bin

As an alternative, you can also search for the recycle bin in the Start menu and access it in Windows Explorer. You’ll see an option to empty the recycle bin from here as well.

Reasons to Hide Desktop Icons in Windows 11

1. Declutter and Simplify the Desktop Appearance

A cluttered Windows 11 desktop can be overwhelming and negatively impact productivity. Hiding icons helps create a cleaner, more streamlined look. This can boost focus and make it easier to locate the files and applications you need.

2. Increase Screen Real Estate

With larger displays becoming more common, maximizing screen real estate is important. Hiding icons frees up space and allows you to see more of the content you’re working on.

3. Customize the Look of the Desktop

Customizing the appearance of your Windows 11 desktop can help personalize your computer and make it feel like your own. Hiding icons allows you to create a look that suits your preferences and style.

4. Improve Organization and Productivity

A cluttered desktop can make it difficult to find the files and applications you need. Hiding icons can improve organization and streamline your workflow, boosting productivity.

5. Keep Sensitive Information Hidden

Keeping sensitive information hidden from view is important for privacy and security. Hiding icons on your Windows 11 desktop helps keep sensitive files and information hidden and protected.

About Max

Max has nearly 20 years of experience working in IT across three different industries in project management and management capacities: publishing, telecommunications and healthcare. He holds the following degrees and certifications: BS Communications, MA Communications, MBA and Project Management Professional (PMP). His tutorial-focused YouTube channel earned more than 100,000 subscribers in its first four years, and currently has more than 160,000 subscribers, 110,000,000 video views and an insane 2.4 million hours of watch time. Max enjoys learning new technology, reading and collecting comic books, listening to audiobooks and playing video games.

This article contains affiliate links, which means that if you click one of the product links I may receive a small commission. This helps support my content, and enables me to continue creating content like this. Thank you for the support!