There have been multiple instances when users of the Windows OS face issues with desktop or taskbar icons. We have previously covered issues where desktop icon spacing gets messed up or the icons rearrange and move after a reboot. In this post, we will talk about a similar icon overlapping issue in which the desktop or taskbar icons overlap each other. This causes trouble, as sometimes, the overlapping increases to such an extent that the icons appear stacked on top of each other, and it becomes difficult for the user to locate and click on a particular icon.

Desktop or Taskbar Icons Overlapping on Windows 11

Desktop or Taskbar Icons overlapping on Windows 11

If you see desktop or taskbar icons overlapping on Windows 11, the issue may happen accidentally, there may be a buggy Windows update, an altered screen resolution, or a third-party app conflict that may be causing the icons to overlap. Switch to a different user profile to see if the issue is profile-specific. If so, your profile may have got corrupted. In such a scenario, the issue may be resolved by fixing the corrupt profile.

If the issue is not profile-specific, follow these solutions to fix overlapping icons on a Windows 11 PC:

  1. Turn on Align Icons to Grid.
  2. Change the Icon Size.
  3. Restore the default Icon Spacing in Windows Registry.
  4. Change the Display Resolution.
  5. Reinstall built-in Windows Apps.
  6. Troubleshoot in Clean Boot State.

Let us see these in detail.

1] Turn on Align Icons to Grid

Enabling the Align Icons to Grid setting

One of the prime reasons for the overlapping icon issue is that the Align icons to grid setting is disabled.

When you enable the ‘Align icons to grid’ setting, your icons will be snapped into place by an invisible grid on your desktop screen. This grid keeps the icons aligned and prevents them from overlapping.

To enable the setting, right-click anywhere on the empty space of your desktop screen and select View > Align icons to grid.

2] Change the Icon Size

Desktop icon sizes in Windows

Windows allow you to change the size of the desktop and the taskbar icons and you may use this fix to see if it works for you. A few users have resolved the icon overlapping issue by changing the icon size on their Windows 11 PC.

Next, try to adjust the size of your taskbar and see if the icon size adjusts accordingly. Also, set the DPI scaling level to its recommended value.

3] Restore the default Icon Spacing in Windows Registry

IconSpacing key in Windows Registry

2 out of 3 users could fix the icon overlapping issue by restoring the default icon spacing in Windows. Follow the steps and see if it helps:

  1. Press Win+R.
  2. Type ‘regedit’ in the Run dialogue box.
  3. Click on Yes in the User Account Control (UAC) prompt.
  4. In the Registry Editor window, navigate to the following path: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics
  5. In the right panel, double-click on the IconSpacing key. Set its value to -1125.
  6. Now double-click on the IconVerticalSpacing key and set its value to -1125.
  7. Close the Registry Editor.
  8. Reboot Windows and see if the issue is gone.

4] Change the Display Resolution

Change the Display Resolution and see if that helps in any way.

Read: Fix Display problems & Screen Resolution issues.

5] Reinstall built-in Windows Apps

A few users have also been able to fix the icon overlapping issue by reinstalling built-in apps on their Windows 11 PC. Use this fix and see if it works for you:

  1.  Click on Windows Search and type ‘powershell’.
  2. Click on the ‘Run as Administrator’ option below the Windows PowerShell app.
  3. Click on Yes in the UAC prompt window.
  4. Enter the following command in the PowerShell window:
    Get-AppxPackage -allusers | foreach Add-AppxPackage -register “$($_.InstallLocation)\appxmanifest.xml” -DisableDevelopmentMode
  5. Press the Enter key.
  6. Wait for a while till Windows reinstalls and re-registers all its default built-in apps.
  7. Exit PowerShell and reboot your PC.

6] Troubleshoot in Clean Boot State

It may be possible that the overlapping is caused due to a third-party app conflict. To fix this, enter the clean boot state and troubleshoot using the trial and error method.

I hope this helps.

Also read: Can’t move desktop icons in Windows.

How do I fix overlapping icons on my desktop?

To fix overlapping icons, turn on the ‘Align icons to grid’ settings. Right-click on your desktop and select View > Align icons to grid. If the issue persists, change the default icon spacing using Windows Registry. Also, update your Windows 11 PC to the latest and see if it helps.

Why are my desktop icons stacked on top of each other in Windows 11?

Your desktop icons appear stacked or glued on top of each other due to extreme overlapping. This happens when you change your screen resolution or have a buggy update installed. This may also happen when you accidentally change the DPI settings or modify the default icon spacing in Windows.

Read Next: How to Unhide or Hide Desktop icons in Windows.

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