I’ve been toying with customizing my Windows PC’s desktop and have encountered an issue that Google didn’t really help me with a whole bunch – how to hide the desktop icon text (or label) in Windows 7.
Most websites I came across suggested to rename them using blank characters in the Windows character map or using ALT+255 on my keyboard which types a blank character. This is hacky and wasn’t really what I was looking for. It also posed a problem because it renamed several of the files that reside on my desktop elsewhere on the computer – things like my Recycle Bin and Computer. It was too hard for me to believe that there wasn’t some kind of tweak or customization out there to simply hide the icon text. I started searching a bit harder and found two pieces of software that can do this. The downside? They’re not free unfortunately.
Desktop Icon Toy
The first one I tried was a program called Desktop Icon Toy by iDesksoft. It seemed like one of those CNET downloads that you just stay away from because it comes bundled with 50 toolbars and search assistants. Fortunately it wasn’t as sketchy as it appeared and was a pretty nifty program. It has a trial period for you to try before you buy it – so you can get it go before ponying up any money.
Some of the features include the ability to save icon layouts (as well as arrange yours in some pretty wild configurations), make the icons “dance” when you mouseover them, and hiding the icon text. The dance that the icons do is not really a dance as much as it’s a bounce or two, similar to the docked icons on a Mac OSX computer. The icon text hiding does exactly what it says it does – hides the text. The only downside I had to this program was the fact that at some point during the night it would seemingly quit working… I’d leave my computer on when I went to sleep and when I came back the text was there. Desktop Icon Toy was still running but none of the effects I had turned on worked. I fixed it by simply closing completely out of Desktop Icon Toy and starting it back up. The effects would immediately resume. I emailed the creator of the program to troubleshoot the issue as there doesn’t seem to be any forums on the internet that talk about this program.
I never got a response and moved on in search of another program. Grab it and see if it will work for you: www.idesksoft.com
Update: I received an email from the creators and they were willing to help me figure out what my problem was. There’s even a nifty little “export settings” button so you can send them your configuration and they can help you identify if anything is set up wrong.
Stardock Window FX
I immediately recognized the name Stardock as the company that made a program I’d used a long long time ago called WindowBlinds. It came out in 1998 and allowed people to design their own “skins” for the windows that you opened and used on a Windows XP machine. It’s still being developed and now supports Windows 7 and has a Windows 8 Beta build. I decided to give WindowFX a shot since I’d had a pleasant history with Stardock and I was immediately satisfied. I didn’t have any issues with the program crashing, not working on my machine, or giving me any trouble applying customizations. It has the option to hide your desktop icon text, but the program seems to revolve around animations that you can make your windows perform when opening, closing, minimizing, restoring, etc. They can sort of “poof” with smoke or they can get “sucked” into a corner of the screen. They’re pretty nifty and I might turn a few of them on – but my main use for the program was hiding desktop icon text labels. It does it very well and doesn’t take up much RAM in doing so. I strongly suggest you check it out if you have $10 to spare and need a software solution like I did. WindowFX also has a trial period where you can try it out before forking up the dough. www.stardock.com