March 18, 2009

Desktop Philosophy

Filed under: Main — admin @ 12:01 am

There is a strategy, nay philosophy, about putting icons on the desktop.

The computer desktop is the background you see when you work in a graphical operating system, like Windows or OS X. Left untended, the desktop can sprout icons like a garden can sprout weeds, and with the same visual effect.

There are two extremes for desktop icons. At one end is the desktop purist, who has nothing on the desktop, not even the Recycle Bin. I also count those who keep the Computer, personal account, Network, and Recycle Bin icons among the purists. Perhaps minimalist would be a better word for that type of person?

At the other extreme are people who just seem not to care. They litter the desktop with icons. Well, maybe it’s not on purpose; every program somehow desires to plop its special icon on the desktop. Who’s to say no? But the end result is clutter and often duplicate icons and icons that hide behind each other. A mess.

I find myself in the middle. I like having desktop icons, and I often use the desktop a repository for temporary stuff I’m working on. When Windows Vista came out, Microsoft suggested a new desktop policy which is not to save anything directly to the desktop. For that I say, “Bah,” I’ll do with it as a please. But overall, having shortcuts on the desktop can be useful.

Below you see my PC desktop. You can see how I organize or corral my icons in areas that hold special meaning for me. The areas contain oft-used shortcuts that give me quick access to programs, files, folders, and places I frequent.


My Mac desktop is also organized similar to my PC desktop, and is shown below.


Temporary files often cluster on my desktop, as shown in the Mac image above. They aren’t intended to dwell there. It’s not that I’m out to agree wholly with Microsoft, but more that I know it’s better to organize my files elsewhere. Still, having them on the desktop does prove handy.

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