Remove Icon Background Color in Windows XP, Windows 7

Pretty old guide, but if you are still using Windows XP or Windows 7, then you will like this post. If you do not like the icon background color on the Windows XP computer, then read this guide to remove the icon background color. Most of the time after changing the theme, desktop background, icon colors or something else related to the desktop appearance in Windows XP, you may face this strange display color 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 appearance settings, this transparent color setting changes and desktop icons get the background color of the 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

How to Change or Remove Icon Background Color in Windows XP or Windows 7

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

Select Desktop under Items and choose the color in ‘color1’.

If this method fails and you can’t remove icon background color under the appearance settings tab, then go to the next step.

2) To remove icon color in XP and make it transparent, we can use the ‘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. Untick ‘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 link is set as a desktop background you will be facing this issue.  You must remove the web URL from the desktop background option in Windows XP.

By the way, you will not face this icon background color issue in Windows 10, Windows 8, since they detect and change the icon background automatically based on the desktop theme. Basically, the icons on the latest Windows OS are transparent and do not carry background color. Also, end users do not get many options to change the icons background colors in Windows 8 or 7 like on Windows XP. You may need to use some third party programs to customize icon background color in Windows 7 or Windows 8 as discussed in the Microsoft forum.

Dinesh is the founder of Sysprobs and written more than 400 articles. Enthusiast in Microsoft and cloud technologies with more than 15 years of IT experience.

9 thoughts on “Remove Icon Background Color in Windows XP, Windows 7”

    • “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.”

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