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Windows XP and the Display - Desktop

Remove Boxes Below Icon Labels on the Desktop

SUMMARY: If your Desktop icons in Windows XP appear with boxes below the labels instead of using drop shadows, try this tweak.

Depending on your Windows XP configuration, Desktop icons may appear with a blue or other colored background below icon labels / titles (see the screenshot to the right).

While this can make icon titles readable when placed against "busy" desktop backgrounds, Windows XP instead can add drop shadows to the labels so they still can be read, removing the ugly boxes.

This option may have been preset due to problems with the graphics card driver or computer speed. Changing this may slow down your computer (especially if the Desktop contains many icons), or cause problems with rendering.

1. Click the "Start" button.

2. Right-click "My Computer", selecting "Properties".

Accessing "My Computer" properties from the Windows XP Start Menu

3. When the "System Properties" multi-tabbed dialog box appears, click the "Advanced" tab.

4. Underneath "Performance", click the "Settings" button.

Accessing Windows XP Performance options

5. When the "Performance Options" multi-tabbed dialog box appears, make sure the "Visual Effects" tab is selected.

6. Click the "Custom" radio button.

7. Scroll down and check "Use drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop".

Enabling drop shadows for Windows XP Desktop icon labels

8. Click "OK" on the dialog boxes to close them.

Now your Desktop icons will appear with drop shadows and the boxes should be gone. Note that the currently selected icon will have a rectangle border around the label to show it is selected.

Return to the Windows XP and the Display - Desktop page.

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The MalekTips website was created in 1998 by Andrew Malek of Envision Programming. The page's goal is to freely disperse computer-related tips, hints, and informative articles. Tips are organized to be easy to find, and are presented clearly, in easy-to-understand language. MalekTips also provides information and links to public-domain, open source, freeware, shareware, and commercial software available for download.