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If your Windows XP system has icons on the desktop which absolutely refuse to show drop shadows, despite having changed the effects setting in the System control panel to use them, here’s what you need to do to fix it.

  • Go to the Display control panel (right-click on the desktop and go to Properties)
  • Go to the Desktop tab
  • Click on the Customize Desktop button at the bottom
  • Click on the Web tab
  • Uncheck the box “Lock desktop items”
  • Hit every OK button you just pulled up until all the control panel stuff is closed.

That’s all there is to it!



  1. This post helped me! Thanks 🙂

  2. Thanks for leading me in the right direction!
    I have a futher tip for others with stubborn text backgrounds…

    I’d already checked OTHER parts of the Display Properties, and also found the usual advice about selecting the Drop Shadows in System Properties (which, of course, was already checked…)

    I’ve never wanted to use that Web tab within Customize Desktop, and had completely forgotten about it. Lock Desktop Items was not checked, but there WAS a new, unintended entry in the Web Pages list – and this also coincided with the loss of all my open Tabs in Firefox… I deleted the new, mystery entry from the Web list and my Desktop Icon text boxes went transparent again!

    I hope this helps someone else for whom that damned System Restore refuses to restore…

  3. Marko, you are my hero. None of these other solutions worked, but after reading your post I checked my Web tab and saw a strange entry also. Deleted it and it’s back to normal. Thanks a million

  4. I followed your advice, but it didn’t work, until I unchecked the box that says “Lock desktop items” under the Web tab that you mentioned. Thanks!

  5. thanks a lot bro…

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