Windows Icons Appear Too Big


Question received: My icons appear too big on my desktop. I’m not sure what happened to make them look too big. Can you help make them smaller?

Icons that are too big could either be fixed inside your Display Properties Appearance or within Settings Screen Resolution. First, make sure you aren’t running in safe mode. Sometimes icons will appear larger in safe mode. I recommend restarting your computer if this is the case and using the F8 key.


Part I – Steps for Windows Display Properties Appearance for icons that appear too big

1. Right click on an empty area on your desktop and choose Properties

2. In the Display Properties window choose the Appearance tab and click on Advanced – See figure 1.

3. In the Advanced Appearance window, choose Icon from the Item: drop-down list – See figure 2.

4. Then using the up / down arrows next to Size:, select the new icon size you want by decreasing the numbers. Note: you can also set the size manually. The numbers represent pixels. For example, the default shown here is set for having icons display at 32 x 32 pixels. If 32 x 32 is already selected then you likely have a Screen Resolution that’s set too low. 32 x 32 is pretty normal for most people. It’s recommended that you don’t change this to a smaller size until you check your resolution first. You can always come back to the Display Properties to make adjustments later.

figure 1.
Windows Display Properties showing advanced appearance under the appearance tab for changing icon size

figure 2.
advanced appearance to change icon size when they appear too big

5. Once you have chosen your new size click on OK.

6. Click Apply in the Display Properties window.

Part II – Steps for Windows Display Properties Screen Resolution for icons that appear too big

1. Right click on an empty area on your desktop and choose Properties

2. In the Display Properties window choose the Settings tab – See figure 3.

figure 3.
Screen resolution to make big icons appear smaller

3. Move the Screen Resolution slider to the right in order to increase screen resolution. This will make your icons appear smaller.

4. Click on Apply.

If screen resolution doesn’t help make an icon appear smaller, then try changing the actual icon sizes shown in Part I.