Friday, November 23, 2007

Internet Explorer Desktop icon option is missing!



Astute users of Windows XP may have noticed that an option to add Internet Explorer to the Desktop has disappeared.

In Windows XP you can choose which icons appear on the Desktop from the Desktop Items dialog. This can be found via:

Control Panel -> Display -> Desktop Tab -> Customize Desktop (button) -> General Tab

Until recently there was an option on this dialog to display an Internet Explorer icon on the Desktop. This is a special icon and not just a shortcut to run Internet Explorer.

It would seem that when a recent Windows XP Hotfix was released that this option was removed from Windows XP. It would seem that this is a bug, or at least not intended to occur on Windows XP.

The hotfix which appear to be causing this issue is
KB943460
which resolves a serious vulnerability in Windows URI Handling which could lead to remote code execution. It is therefore not recommended that you uninstall this hotfix, simply to restore this missing Internet Explorer option.

There are several options to add or restore this icon to your desktop if you require it.

  1. Microsoft TweakUI has an option to place this icon on your desktop;
  2. You could add this icon "manually" by using a Registry tweak which Microsoft has documented. While this is aimed at Windows Vista users, the same instructions also work for Windows XP.
It seems odd that a User Interface element on Windows Vista made it's way over to Windows XP, apparently unintentionally. This is far from popular on Windows Vista either at at least one third party package restores the Internet Explorer icon on Windows Vista.

I suspect this issue will be resolved at some stage, however you have to wonder how this slipped though the testing process.