Remove Icon Background Color in Windows XP, Windows 7

If you are annoyed with icon background color on Windows XP computer, then this post would be helpful in solving it. Most of the time after changing desktop theme, desktop background, icon colors or something else related to desktop appearance in Windows XP, you might face this strange appearance issue. This post explains how to  remove icon background color in Windows XP and Windows 7 and make the icon background color transparent

By default Windows XP theme comes with transparent icon background color as below,


But when you do some changes in Windows theme or appearing settings, this transparent color setting changes and desktop icons get the background color of desktop which configured in ‘Advanced Appearance’ settings. Displaying desktop background color in icons may look ugly on desktop as below,

Remove Icon Background color in XP

To change or remove Icon background color in Windows XP or Windows 7

1) Right click on empty space on desktop, go to Properties -> Appearance tab -> Click on Advanced button,

Select Desktop under Items and choose the color in ‘color1’.  This method may fail and still you can’t remove icon background color under this appearance settings tab. Then go to next step.

2) To remove icon color in XP and make it transparent, we can use ‘Drop shadow’ option in ‘Performance Options’.

Right click on My Computer and go to Properties, or go to ‘System’ in control panel. Then Advances tab and settings button under performance square.

Remove Icon Background color in XP

Under ‘Visual Effects’ options go to the last options. Un tick ‘ Use drop shadows for icon………’ option  as shown below. Press OK to apply the settings.


Now no matter what desktop color is selected currently, but your  Windows XP icon background color will be removed and it will be transparent with desktop as below icon-backgroud-color-none2

There is another possible reason for icon background color is ‘web background’. If any web links are set as desktop background you will be facing this issue. Remove the all web links in appearance settings as shown in this link.

By the way, you will not face this icon background color issue in Windows 7 or Windows 8, since it detects and changes automatically depends on the desktop theme. Also as the users we do not get more customizing options for icons like in Windows XP. You may need to use some third party programs to play around with icon background color in Windows 7 or Windows 8.


    • Muhammad says

      “If the above guide doesn’t work you might want to check if you are displaying a website as your background. To check this, right-click on the desktop then click Properties. Select Customize desktop under Desktop tab, then select the Web tab on the desktop items window and deselect any web pages that are shown.”