Desktop icons on Windows 10 can be resized. You can make them smaller, or bigger. You can also align them properly in a grid layout. If you don’t like the grid, you can move them anywhere you like by disabling snap to grid. This is all great but when you resize desktop icons, the grid doesn’t change. If your icons are too big, there will be very little space between them. If your icons are really small, they’re will be enough space between them to add another entire row of icons. The grid doesn’t change much with the icon size, you can increase or decrease desktop icon spacing to make it more suitable for the icons.

To change desktop icon spacing, you need to edit the Windows registry. This is my desktop with fairly large icons. You can see there’s very little space between the individual icons.

Desktop Icon Spacing

Open the run box with the Win + R keyboard shortcut. In the run box, type regedit to open the Windows Registry.

Go to the following location in the Windows Registry.

HKEY_CURRENT_USERControl PanelDesktopWindowMetrics

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With the grid, you need to change the difference between the rows of the grid, and the columns. That means there are two values you have to edit. Each value manages a different aspect of the grid. The IconSpacing value will change spacing between columns, and IconVerticalSpacing will change spaces between rows.

By default, the value for both is set to -1128 but it may be different depending on your screen’s resolution.

You can change it to anything between -480 and -2780. -480 is the least amount of space you can have between icon rows and columns, and -2780 is the maximum amount of space you can have between them. You will have to experiment with the numbers to see which looks best. After each change you have to restart your system for the new value to be applied.

The following is what you get when you have large desktop icons, and spacing set to -1500.

You don’t have to set the same value for both registry values. You might want more space between rows than you want between columns so it’s fine if the values don’t match each other. You will need to remember, or write down, the default value of both registry values if you ever want to reset the grid to its default size.

Changing these values will not break anything; you can still align icons to the grid though it’s worth mentioning that with more space between the grid lines, you might end up with more space between the Taskbar and the bottom row of icons than you’re normally used to.