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I'm one of today's best-selling computer book writers, with more than 15 million books in print.

This website keeps you up-to-date on my books, and your computers. Each week, I answer a reader's question on-line.

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Shrinking Vista’s Desktop icons to fit small laptop screens

Q: I recently purchased a Dell XPS420 with Vista. How do I get the desktop icons to a small size? Dell told me the current size is the smallest I can have with my graphics card. But my old laptop that runs with Windows XP is four years old and has a much cheaper graphics card, yet I can shrink its icons to a nice small size. What gives?

A: Vista’s desktop icons are larger than those in Windows XP, and sometimes they hog too much real estate. Vista offers several ways to shrink them to a manageable size, however.

  • While displaying the desktop, click one desktop icon. Then, while holding down the Ctrl key, move the wheel on your mouse. The icons will shrink as you turn the wheel one way; they’ll enlarge as you spin it the other.
  • No wheel on your mouse? Then try changing back to XP’s “Classic icons” by right-clicking the Desktop, choosing View, and choosing Classic icons.
  • If neither of those options satisfy you, switch to a higher screen resolution, by right-clicking the Desktop, choosing Personalize, choosing Display Settings, and sliding the Resolution bar to the right. Click Apply to try see if the resolution works for you.

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