Desktop icons seem to have a mind of their own, and when you least expect it they will popup in different positions. This happens all the time when I plug my laptop into a second monitor since the two screens have a different resolutions.
There are some things that you can do to save the position of your icons, and quickly be able to restore them back to their rightful state. The How-To Geek posted a great tip today on how to do this the easy way. I’ve actually been using tweak since back in the early days of XP (for at least 5 years now) and is probably one of the oldest sites that still resides in my bookmarks. I had originally found it on a site called NTHelp, and the "hack" has been a must-have addition all these years for me (on both XP and Vista).
All you have to do is download the two files, either from NTHelp or How-To Geek, and copy the Layout.dll into your C:’Windows’System32’ directory. Then double-click on Layout.reg to have the contents of the file imported into your registry, and now you’re all set. You can now save and restore the position of your desktop icons simply by right-clicking on the Computer option in your Start Menu:
The only problem with this is that it can’t remember multiple "profiles" for your desktop icons. Having multiple profiles that you can switch between would be nice for anyone that hooks their laptop up to several different monitors that all have different resolutions (work, home, standalone, etc…). The program I’ve always recommended to people in that situation is Shock Desktop (XP/2000/2003/Vista). It provides a System Tray icon that lets you create as many different profiles as you would like:
The program is completely free, and there is a version that comes with an installer as well as one without an installer. One of the unique features that it does actually have is the ability to bring your desktop icons in front of all the windows using an assignable hotkey. You’ll no longer have to minimize all your windows to get to your desktop icons! I’ve had problems with this working on Vista, but on XP it is a nice addition.
Tip: You can also get to your desktop icons quickly in Windows by pressing the Windows Key + D. This will minimize all your open windows, and pressing the same key combination will restore all of the windows that were just minimized.