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Adding Icons to your Desktop
Deleting Icons from your Desktop
Restoring System Desktop Icons
Changing System Icons
Changing Other Icons
Adding More Icons

Adding Icons to your Desktop
Browse through your My Documents folder and find the file you want to create a shortcut to.
Right-click the file, click Send To, and then click Desktop.

File shortcut menu with Send To – Desktop (create shortcut) selected

You can also do this with the programs listed on your Start button menu. 

Deleting Icons from your Desktop
iconRemember, when you install programs on your computer they create icons on your desktop.  These icons have little arrows on them indicating they are a shortcut to a program (or file) elsewhere on your computer.  You can safely delete these icons if you wish and open your programs (or files) by navigating the Start Button menu, exploring the My Documents or C: drive folder, or using the Quick Launch bar.
To delete an icon, simply click on the icon to highlight it and press the Delete key on your keyboard OR right-click on the icon and choose Delete from the popup menu.

Restoring System Desktop Icons
Right-click the desktop, and then click Properties.
In the Display Properties dialog box, click the Desktop tab, then click Customize Desktop.

Desktop tab in Display Properties dialog box with Customize Desktop selected

Under Desktop icons in the Desktop Items dialog box, select the icons you want on your desktop.

Desktop Items dialog box

Click OK.  Then Click OK again to close the Display Properties dialog box. 
You should now see these icons on your desktop.