How to Find the Refresh Button on Windows 11

Performing manual screen refreshes ensures your display is updated

by Vladimir Popescu
Vladimir Popescu
Vladimir Popescu
Managing Editor
Being an artist his entire life while also playing handball at a professional level, Vladimir has also developed a passion for all things computer-related. With an innate fascination... read more
Reviewed by Vlad Turiceanu
Vlad Turiceanu
Vlad Turiceanu
Passionate about technology, Windows, and everything that has a power button, he spent most of his time developing new skills and learning more about the tech world. Coming... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • As you've noticed, Microsoft initially changed the location of the Refresh button in Windows 11.
  • If you haven't upgraded to a newer Windows version, follow our method and you'll do it right away, from the context menu.
  • The Windows desktop can also be refreshed by pressing a key, as described below.
  • Since this is not the final build, keep in mind that all these changes are subject to change.
how to refresh the desktop on windows 11

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Windows 11 brought new additions, overhauls, and improvements to the previous operating system that we all love. However, some UI changes require some sacrifices.

Besides adding lots of new content, Microsoft decided to actually get rid of certain things, or simply change the way we used to access certain settings.

One of these changes was made to the desktop Refresh button that everyone used to update their desktop from time to time.

Why do we need a Refresh option in Windows?

The Refresh button in Windows is used to update the look of the desktop after changes have been made to it, or when the display was switched with another.

The process should be automatic, however, sometimes it glitches out and requires a manual refresh to get the updated view of the icons and shortcuts.

For example, let’s say you create a shortcut on the desktop, or perhaps you decided to move an icon somewhere else, but the changes do not display right away.

In this case, a manual refresh is required in order for the display to update properly. The function can also be used to group newly added shortcuts to the others.

The same refresh works for Windows Explorer as well, functioning the same way, and is used to properly group directories after new ones have been added.

How can I refresh the screen on Windows 11?

1. Refresh Windows 11 via the context menu

A quick and handy method to refresh your Windows 11 device’s screen is to use the built-in context menu. This menu can be accessed whenever you right-click on your desktop.

From the context menu, depending on your Windows build, you will find the refresh option in two different places, as we will show you.

1. Navigate to your Desktop.

2. Right-click on any empty space on the Desktop to open the context menu.

3. If you are using the Windows build 22000.65 o or a newer one, you can find the Refresh button right here in the options. All you need to do is select it.

how to refresh windows 11 via context menu

4. In case you’re using an older build, you need to click on Show more options (or press Shift + F10).

show more options windows 11 refresh

5. You should now see the Refresh option and can click on it.

refresh button windows 11 context menu

As you can see, for previous builds, the Refresh option wasn’t removed, it was just hidden under another set of options which you can toggle by following the steps above.

What’s interesting is that some users stated that the feature was still in the right spot for them, so perhaps it depended on the Windows 11 version you were using.

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Did you know that you can make Windows 11 look like Windows 10 again? Check out our quick guide that will show you how to do it.

Note icon
Not all the changes are final! We aren’t at the final release of the operating system, so everything is subject to change. Voice your opinion on the MS forums as Microsoft needs all the feedback it can get to make Windows 11 the perfect system.

2. Use your keyboard

Many users might not know this, but you can refresh the desktop by using a keyboard key! You don’t even need to click on anything.

Simply press the F5 key on your keyboard and that’s it. You can also use this to refresh your browser tabs as well. This trick is pretty old and it is still present in Windows 11.

Additionally, users might come up with scripts or methods to change this through the registry edit, so stay tuned as there might be other methods coming along.

As we stated before, this is not the final build of Windows 11. Microsoft will keep implementing and changing things for the better (or worst, in some unfortunate cases).

If you are having issues with the Windows 11 installation, fix them thanks to this quick guide dedicated to Windows 11 compatibility errors.

How could you refresh the screen on previous OSs?

Normally, all you needed to do was right-click on your desktop and choose refresh, and that would be it. Apparently, Windows 11 did not have that option anymore for some time.

More and more users who were trying the new operating system were complaining about this change since it was synonymous with Windows for the past decade.

So, was the Refresh option really gone? The short answer is no. It was just moved somewhere else. You just had to find it again, using the context menu method from above.

The refresh button has returned to its regular place

Even though it wasn’t quite that hard to find, the pesky Refresh button was kind of hidden on the first preview build for Microsoft’s upcoming OS.

However, now, with build 22000.65. users can rest assured that this function has returned to its initial place.

Many were thrown off at the site of the context menu, which for the first time ever, did not include this built-in function.

how to refresh windows 11 option

What Microsoft apparently failed to realize is that moving the smallest, and seemingly unimportant feature to a different place, creates mass confusion among users.

Another aspect that the tech company clearly overlooked, is the fact that the average Windows user will use Refresh at least 10 times a day, even for no apparent reason.

Changing the location of such a function would obviously represent too big of a shift for many.

If you encounter any problems with the newly released operating system, we encourage you to do a factory reset. Here’s a great guide dedicated to resetting Windows 11 to factory settings.

That’s about it for this article. We’ve got plenty of ways for you to refresh the desktop like you used to do in the previous windows versions.

If you have any other information that we didn’t manage to include, feel free to share it with us in the comment section below.

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