Reader Michael wrote in with this problem:
"I place the icons where I want them on the desktop but if I have to re-boot and/or shutdown at the end of the day, the next time I start back up, the icons are not the where I placed them before I shutdown."
Yep, that definitely qualifies as a hassle! By the way, I should mention that Michael is a Windows 7 user, which begs the question: Why are we still dealing with dumb little problems like this? Yeah, I'm looking at you, Microsoft.
Although I don't know of a specific OS fix for this problem, I do know of two third-party tools that should do the trick.
First up is DesktopOK, a free utility that lets you save and restore desktop icon layouts. Even better, you can set up multiple layouts, which is great for situations like using a laptop with and without an external monitor. (One layout for with, another for without.)
Second, my editor's going to kill me for plugging this product yet again, but I can't speak highly enough of Stardock's Fences. Also a freebie, it corrals your icons into convenient translucent windows--and makes them disappear entirely when you feel like reclaiming your desktop.
One of those should do the trick, Michael. Good luck!