Iconoid Readme

Version 3.8.6
(c) Copyright SillySot Software, 2001, 2010

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Hide desktop icons when you don't need them; see them when you do.

Iconoid is a small program that helps reduce the clutter and confusion of the Windows® desktop. With Iconoid you can: Automatically hide and display desktop icons Remove the colored box behind icon text Automatically set the colored box behind the text to an optimal color for your desktop picture Quickly and easily minimize all of the windows on your screen Save and restore the positions of icons Insure that icons do not move when you change screen resolutions Save icon locations for each screen resolution individually


Iconoid and its source code are provided free of charge. You may redistribute Iconoid as long as this license agreement is included and attribution is made to SillySot Software. You may also use the code for any purpose as long as your documentation and comments within the code provide attribution to SillySot Software for the parts you use. You are not licensed to redistribute the Iconoid program, or minor modifications of the program as a whole if a fee will be charged and that fee is over and above the combined costs of the physical distribution medium and shipping without written permission of the author. Permission to redistribute Iconoid without the written consent of SillySot Software is granted three (3) years after the date of release of the latest available release of Iconoid as determined in the About tab of the program.

Yeah, it's free

Really, it is! But if you really want to give me your money, I guess I'll take it.


Unpack the supplied zip file to a temporary directory and run setup.exe. As of this writing, the source code can be downloaded separately from the Iconoid Web site.


Use the Add/Remove programs option of the Windows Control panel.

Iconoid does not make any changes to your system that will have an effect after Iconoid is removed.
Iconoid does not change any system wide registry settings.

Warranty: No warranty

No warranty is provided for Iconoid.


Change History:

3.8.6 Remove help from program and point to web so people get FAQs answered quickly
Changed compiler to Visual Studio Express 2010.
Remove Windows 98 compatibility because of compiler restriction.
3.8.5 No functional changes
FAQ updates related to Vista and some drop shadows
Changed compiler to Visual Studio Express (from VC++ 6)
Remove Win95 compatibility. No code change, but apparently it broke with 3.8.3 and no one complained so I assume no one cares.
3.8.4 Fixed crash when using -save and -restore flags
Added a few more changes in -test mode
3.8.3 Fixed foreground color turning black on startup
Fixed missing mouse pointer over links in Win95
Added generation of diagnostic file when clicking the email support link to help with problem reporting
Changed indicator for showing icons in 'Always hide' mode to 1/10 second resolution from 1 sec.
A few changes in -test mode
3.8.2 Removed bitmap reading routines and replaced with Windows builtin routines
Consolidated activities that read bitmap to only read it once per change
Reduced flashing (which was reintroduced by recent changes)
Changed memory usage for bitmap storage away from heap. Better for Win9X(?)
Minor fixes like foreground color not being saved, not deleting intermediate temp bitmap file and stuff like that.
Changed source so test environment is runtime option rather than a compile time option (now: open Iconoid and type 'test')
Major changes in how Iconoid deals with not finding the desktop. No more "couldn't hook desktop" message and if desktop can not be found, Iconoid will just keep waiting until it finds it. For example, if "Show Desktop" is active when Iconoid starts, Iconoid will not appear until Show Desktop is deactivated. Previously you would get a hooking error message.
3.8.1 Improved help system
Simple registry based Import/Export of all settings including icon positions. Includes checks to avoid importing registry files not created by Iconoid.
About panel shows mini screen preview when you click the Iconoid icon
Fixed about panel drawing issues
Added button to temporarily enable XP drop shadows
Fixed some timing issues to reduce screen flashing
Reordered Options panel to make room for import/export buttons
More internal changes to make adding UI easier
Added guage on Always Hide panel to show remaining time unti icons disappear
Click on active desktop message brings up Display settings window
Display settings window docks with Iconoid window and Iconoid will not allow it to be moved off the display.
Key list window comes up to not obscure main window.
Allow icons to hide when in a 'special placement' arrangement
Minor performance stuff (moved some things out of timers and back to message based)
Added error checking when importing registry from newer or older versions that have different structure sizes
3.8.0 Many internal changes and restructuring. Now more event driven using even fewer system resources (as if it was noticeable before).
Several User Interface changes
  • Modified Color tab
    • Added a slightly hidden link to start the desktop control panel applet when in Active Desktop mode. Cursor changes to a hand when hovered over the text that explains that active desktop is active. I may externalize this better later.
    • Fixed message overlay on the Colors tab when both active desktop and cursor drop shadows are enabled.
  • Cleaned up Tray tab
    • Removed Scramble Icons option
    • Reordered items to match tray popup
    • Regrouped items in tray (save/restore, icon text options, icon hiding options)
  • Cleaned up Desktop tab
    • Added radio button to not have Iconoid change the desktop color
    • Added radio button to use user selected color
    • Removed checkbox for using color at startup since the new radio button does that
    • Added a slightly hidden link to start the desktop control panel applet. Cursor changes to a hand when hovered over the groubbox title.
  • Changed system tray context menu to have 3 distinct settings for hiding options
  • Reordered Tray and Desktop context menus to match each other and to put most used options first.
Now more responsive to turning on or off Active Desktop and Cursor Drop Shadows
Fixed Several problems with hiding the taskbar.
  • Taskbar hiding works independently of cursor hiding. It used to seem unpredictable. Now The taskbar is hidden with the icons.
  • Taskbar hiding now works in Always Hide mode.
  • Maybe fixed the fix of the fix of ... of the tray getting stuck below other windows. Maybe.
Miscellaneous bug fixes:
  • Switching transparency from tray failed
  • Sometimes wallpaper switching was not recognized
  • When desktop crashed, Iconoid stopped functioning. Now it waits 3 seconds and hooks the new desktop
  • Fixed phantom square box that shows up occasionally such as when Microsoft's task switcher power toy shows Iconoid's window
Removed some dead code and code that was there to theoretically fix the mysterious settings loss problem (I think Phil found that bug).
Removed the -wait option. That may need to be reinstated... we'll see.
Removed warning message about lost settings. Again, that may be wishful thinking.
3.7.2 x64 bit port, thanks to Phil at Highresolution Enterprises
Hopefully re-fixed the tray always-on-top (or not) problems
Minor performance fixes
  • reduce registry accesses which check for drop shadow settings changes
  • reduce registry accesses which check for background changes
  • reduce system calls for OS version queries
New info on About Dialog
Some code restructuring to centralize taskbar handling
Dynamic updates of Colors tab if drop shadow setting changes
Moved some registry handling to dll
Preliminary multi-monitor support - again thanks to Phil
  • I haven't tested this new function yet but the code changes are the same as what I played with a few months ago and there were some odd behaviours - still, it may suffice for now.
3.7.1 Force taskbar to be on top of all windows. This may override the Windows setting, but it fixes an annoying bug where the tray would not pop up when it is behind other maximized windows.
3.7.0 Add option to invoke screen saver instead of hiding all windows.
Remove explicit "Show Desktop" option on hiding tab. If it is available, it will be used to hide the windows. If not, the old method will be used.
3.6.0 Restore tray icon after Explorer (desktop) crash (Win98 and higher).
Changes for Always Hide mode:
  • Added delay slider to specify how long icons should be displayed after clicking on desktop (always hide mode)
  • Added delay checkbox to disable showing icons when clicking on desktop (always hide mode)
  • Don't allow both left click and right click (context menu) to be disabled in Always Hide mode.
  • Restructured Hiding tab to only show delay timings appropriate to the current selection. Needed to do the two things above.
3.5.0 Fixed situation where taskbar would not be restored when "Always Hide" was checked
Added hot key to cycle icon positions around top, bottom, left, right, edge, restore
3.4.2 Fixed bug where starting Iconoid twice would not detect 1st instance which caused errors in shutting the program down.
3.4.1 Added -quiet command line switch to suppress some error dialogs. This is not recommended though since some warnings are suppressed and things may seem to not work and you won't know why.
When Icons are hidden, a left click on the desktop makes them temporarily visible.
Maybe fixed some occasions when hidden taskbar would not surface correctly... maybe.
Fixed some regressions in setting icon positions
  • Icons not repositioned when Iconoid ends while in top/edge/scrambled/... etc modes
  • Save positions features enabled while in top/edge/scrambled/... etc modes (can lead to position loss)
  • Positioning icons around the edge produced incorrect results
Wrong symbol for icon dance button on Tray tab ( X and ? were reversed)
3.4.0 Added optional desktop context menu to save and restore icon positions
Fixed bug in restoring icon positions for >128 icons.
3.3.4 Icon dance changes. Each icon now controls itself. Lower CPU usage.
3.3.3 New format for help screens and web site
Threaded check for updates.
Minor tweaks and fixes.
3.3.2 Added automatic resizing of stretched wallpaper to retain the aspect ratio (on desktop tab).
3.3.1 Added Wallpaper layout hot key (default is deactivated since this is a pretty esoteric function).
3.3.0 Customizable Hot Keys.
Removed -noF5 switch (what a kludge!)
3.2.2 Improvements and new functions
Major internal changes.  Should be more responsive with less flickering.
Removed restrictions and messages for 'Show Desktop' mode.  Iconoid now works with Show Desktop.
"Use Show Desktop" is now the default for window hiding (Hot Corners and Boss Mouse).
Added positioning buttons to move icons to edges of the screen.
Added option to hide Windows' task bar when automatically hiding icons.
Improved automatic background color detection.
Improved sample icon on 'Colors' tab by making background transparent.
Added keyboard navigation to all links.
Remember window position
Enhanced directions for disabling Active Desktop on different systems.
Disabled options that don't work when Active Desktop is active and added explanations.
Changed message about Auto Restore of icon positions  when the desktop  is in auto-arrange mode.
Disable Auto Restore when Auto-Arrange is active (with notification message, of course).
Prettier About tab (whahoo! :) )
Added a -noF5 switch to stop Iconoid from hooking ctrl-F5 on XP for users who need that.

Fixed color decoding of 16 bit (65K color) bitmaps for automatic color determinations.
Fix startup problems in transparent mode with automatic foreground color detection.
Fixed reappearing tray icon after reboot.
Hopefully fixed phantom image when using multiple monitors (not tested).
Fixed Help for "restore Icons Positions Now"
3.2.1 Make "Automatic Text Color" work for transparent icon backgrounds.
Made startup wait time configurable. See the FAQ for more information.
3.2.0 Add ability to automatically select desktop background color based on wallpaper.
Try to reduce flashing when wallpaper changes.
Changed hot key Alt-` to Ctrl-F5 because of conflicts with non-US keyboards.
Disable Colors tab when XP drop shadows are in use. Supply temporary override and instructions on how to make it permanent.
Added tool tips. They can be turned off using the Options tab.
Option to hide cursor and task bar 10 seconds after removing icons.
Minor fix: Cursor over Web Page now uses the 'hand' cursor.
Make Iconoid respond to WM_SETTINGCHANGED broadcasts.
Better responsiveness and notification when waiting to start on a freshly booted machine.
Option to hide cursor and task bar 10 seconds after removing icons.
3.1.8 Add Alt-` key for XP users because Microsoft removed F5 function in XP.
3.1.7 Add message when active desktop is enabled and transparent background selected. This also disables the transparent background when active desktop is enabled.
Minor help fixes. Some work remains to be done there.
3.1.6 Wait until system has been booted at least 90 seconds before hooking desktop to avoid startup conflicts.
3.1.5 Testing automatic text color (black & white only)
Maybe fixed the reset of timers to zero when Iconoid is started with Windows
3.1.4 Remove call to SHGetSettings for Win95 users (time to upgrade your op sys, guys!)
3.1.3 Add window fading 1 second after cursor enters upper right corner(2K, XP only)
  Fixed XP shutdown hang (I hope)
3.1.2 Fix error saving settings in Windows Me
3.1.1 Allow solid color to work in XP when no web content is in desktop
3.1.0 Rearranged positions tab
More efficient Icon Dance
3.0.9 Insure that with Always Hide, icons get rehidden 5 seconds after they are shown by another program or by F5.
Possibly fixed random errors of settings being reset.
Removed resets to timing defaults when all were zero.
Added the dancing icons option (WhooHoo!!)
3.0.8 A real domain name; changed references to point to the new domain.
3.0.7 Added email support link on the about page.
3.0.6 Replaced Show Window with Show Help
Fixed minor bugs with Win2K and active desktop
3.0.5 Fixed bug where window hiding didn't work with 'Always hide' checked
3.0.4 Added Reset Tab and Reset All buttons for quickly restoring defaults.
3.0.3 Added 'Boss Mouse' option to very quickly hide windows.
Removed Beta tab (still in the source if you want it).
Changed tray menu to always have Exit option.
3.0.2 Fixed missing 'Show Desktop' option in Windows 2000 & XP
3.0.1 Removed beta references
Changed 2 second wait to one second.
3.0 A complete rewrite from scratch. Now written in C with no run time library requirements.
Icon positioning is now works in NT flavors of Windows (2K, etc).
Enhanced screen sampling also works in NT flavors of Windows.
Help was rewritten into HTML.
Many small enhancements.
See the help and try things.
2.3 New installer
Fixed occasional missing help file problem
Added auto-hide in preferences.
Install now gives the option to not save the source.
Uninstall now cleans up settings and autostart from the registry.
Fixed some problems where active transparency on desktop doesn't change immediately.
Found that active desktop autosampling doesn't work - That is not fixed yet.
Created and fixed problems where screen resolution changes automatically save icon positions. (errors were crashing desktop on winnt and unexpected popups).
2.2 Rewrite of user interface. Help is not fully updated yet.
2.1.2 Prettied up exit prompt with checkbox for not showing in future.
Replaced some local code with API functions for edge drawing.
2.1.1 Cleaned up user interface behaviors.
Replaced exit button with help button.
2.1 New layout, no more homemade tabs. Integrated options in tabs.
Fixed bug where disabled windows could be minimized (and then could not be restored).
Significant code size reduction.
2.0.2 Reworded options and added missing tool tips
2.0.1 Added automated check for new version
2.0.0 1.99 goes live
1.99 Beta version that adds
Save and Restore icon positions for Win9x users. Icon positions are saved separately for each screen size.
Minimize all windows when cursor stays in a selected corner of the screen. Includes delay option.
Automatic Resampling when wallpaper changes.
Scramble Icons - Randomly moves the desktop icons (Win9x only, just for fun)
Run Away Icons - Makes the desktop icons move away from the cursor (Win9x only, Very silly)
Settings panel - To customize tray popup menu (available with right click on window or from popup)
Updated help
1.99.x 1.99.x builds are continuing work on fine tuning and feature creep.
1.07.3 Allow a minimize button in the title bar when the tray icon option is selected.
1.07.2 Added right click on background color window for manual color selection from the desktop.
1.07.1 Smarter AUTO scanning on Win9x systems (scan icon text areas only) to produce better color match. Removed Resample auto from popup when you right click the main window.
1.07 Added an AUTO button to calculate the average background color. This is for when you have busy wallpaper but want to have a background color for the icons that does not stand out too much. I haven't added automatic text color yet because I can't figure out a good algorithm. I'm open to suggestions. [fixed in 3.1.5]
1.06 Added option to delay the showing of icons when the cursor moves back to the desktop. This is to reduce the flashing effect. Also changed URL (again!).
1.05 Changed web page links to new (and probably temporary) web URL because my web space provider is going under.
1.04 Added option to automatically start Iconoid when Windows starts.
1.03 Fixed icons not reappearing when Active Desktop is enabled.
1.02 Added icon text color selection and background selection.
Added tabs (faked because my copy of the VB tab control doesn't seem to work).
Updated some logic for controls interactions.
1.01 Better Help
Better readme file
Minor fixes - nothing major functionally