I remember back when I was using Windows XP there was a shell extension that allowed you to have your Desktop Icons as a list view. I did a quick Google Search and found an application called Deskview.
Deskview not only works in Windows XP but also works in Windows Vista (x86 and x64). To really shrink your icons in Vista, essentially what you would want to do is set them to “classic” icons or hold down your CTRL key and use your mouse wheel to shrink or enlarge them. Then you will want to run deskview.exe to change them to list view.
Now what this small application does is simple and it doesn’t have any options. You double-click it to set your Desktop Icons as a list view then double-click it again to change them back to the default setting.
On the left is what the normal icons look like, and on the right is what the list view looks like.
Note: I didn’t create this program, nor do I know who did. If someone knows of, or you are the author of this software please don’t hesitate to contact me to add your credit!