How to keep desktop icons from moving by running Icon Shepherd from command line

If you've been wondering Why do my desktop icons keep moving?, you have probably already installed Icon Shepherd and know how to use it: when you install it on your computer, it adds its icon to the taskbar notification area, and you click on that icon with the mouse and use the commands on the menu to remember the positions of the icons on the desktop, and restore them when Windows messes them up.

That's how most people would use Icon Shepherd, but you might be wondering is there a way not to have IconShepherd running in the background all the time and only run it on demand, when you actually need to save the icon positions or restore them? Even though Icon Shepherd uses a minuscule amount of RAM and a very small number of CPU cycles to do its work, still wouldn't it be nice not to keep it running all the time?

If you've been thinking about it (and who wouldn't?), you may be pleased to know that starting with version 21.8 of Icon Shepherd it's possible to run it on demand, by providing appropriate command line arguments to direct it what to do. You could run such commands by entering them into the Windows command prompt, or into the Windows Run box (that you can open by pressing the Win+R keys). Or, you may want to create two shortcuts on your desktop, one to store the current positions of the desktop icons, and another one to restore them. This way, you would launch such shortcuts, when needed, without having to run Icon Shepherd in the background.

Specifically, let's create a shortcut to store the icons positions. Right-click on an empty spot of your desktop and choose New - Shortcut from the menu. When the Windows asks you about the location of the item, press Browse, navigate to folder where Icon Shepherd files are installed (which is usually C:\Program Files\IconShepherd) and select the executable file there, such as ISEXE32, ISEXE64, or ISEXEA64, depending on your edition of Windows.) Before you press Next, first verify that the path to the executable is enclosed in double quotes, and second, append a space and the command line argument /Store:"My Icons" to it:

Icon Shepherd shortcut to store desktop icons

Now press Next and enter a name for the shortcut, for example Store My Icons: (this name will be displayed on your desktop)

Icon Shepherd shortcut to store desktop icons

That takes care of the shortcut to store the icons. Now create another desktop shortcut, in the same way, but this time enter the command line argument as /Restore:"My Icons", and enter the name for the shortcut as Restore My Icons.

Note that you can choose a different name in place of "My Icons", but it must be the same for the /Store and /Restore command line arguments.

Now you should have two shortcuts on your desktop, one named Store My Icons and the other one named Restore My Icons. Use the first shortcut whenever you need to store the current icon positions. Use the second one when you need to restore the icon positions at a later time.

Finally, since you no longer need Icon Shepherd to run in the background, open its Options screen (by clicking on its taskbar icon and choosing Options from the menu) and deselect the option Auto-start IconShepherd when Windows starts. This way, next time you log in to Windows, Icon Shepherd will not start automatically:

Changing the option to auto-start IconShepherd when Windows starts

Happy computing!

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