Where is the 'Show Desktop' Icon in Windows 7 and Up?

The Show Desktop Icon Isn't Gone: It's Just Hiding

Woman working on laptop

 Kaboompics / Pixabay

"Show Desktop" is a shortcut that minimizes all open windows to make the desktop background visible. That way you can quickly grab a file or launch yet another program from the always useful desktop space in Windows.

Learn where to find the Windows Show Desktop shortcut.

Instructions in this article apply to Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7.

Where Is the Windows Show Desktop Shortcut?

The Show Desktop button is a small rectangle in the far-right bottom corner of the Windows desktop. It is much smaller than it was in Windows 7, but clicking on the sliver at the end of the taskbar will minimize all of the open Windows and provide immediate access to the Windows desktop.

Screenshot of Windows desktop including Show Desktop button

Get a Peek of the Desktop

In Windows 7, you could just hover over the icon, a small rectangle all the way on the right side of the ​Taskbar, without clicking it to get an "Aero Peek" quick view of the desktop. Beginning with Windows 8 and continuing with Windows 10, the Show Desktop "Peek" option is disabled by default.

The option to enable Peek to preview the desktop is in the Taskbar Settings menu.

  1. Right-click any unused area of the taskbar. Choose Taskbar Settings at the bottom of the menu that appears. The Taskbar Settings window will open.

    Screenshot of Taskbar Settings in taskbar right-click menu
  2. Toggle the switch labeled "Use Peek to preview the desktop when you move your mouse to the Show desktop button at the end of the taskbar" to On.

    Screenshot of Peek toggle in Taskbar settings
  3. Close the Settings window. When you point to the Show Desktop button, any open windows will become transparent, enabling you to view the desktop without minimizing the windows.

Windows Show Desktop Keyboard Shortcut

Another alternative is to use a keyboard shortcut. Instead of tapping your mouse, just tap a special key combination on your keyboard.

  • In Windows 10 and Windows 7, press Windows Key + D to minimize all open windows and view the desktop.
  • In Windows 8 or 8.1, press Windows Key + M to minimize all open windows and view the desktop.

Right-click Windows Show Desktop Shortcut

If that wasn't enough, Windows 10 users also have a third option for showing the desktop.

  1. Right-click any unused area of the taskbar.

  2. In the context menu that appears, select Show the Desktop. All open windows will minimize and the desktop will appear.

    Screenshot showing Show the Desktop in taskbar right-click menu
  3. To reopen the windows you were using, right-click the taskbar again and select Show Open Windows.

    Screenshot of Show Open Windows in taskbar right-click menu

You can use Show Desktop shortcuts in combination, such as right-clicking the taskbar to show the desktop and then clicking the Show Desktop icon on the far right to bring the windows back.