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June 28, 2013

Clean Up Your Desktop!

Filed under: Main — Tags: , — admin @ 12:01 am

I’m referring to your computer’s desktop, not that messy thing awash with papers and Post-It Notes™. You should make it a regular task: Checking out all those itty bitty icons to see which can be banished and which should remain.

The topic is really one I call icon bloat.

Unless you’re vigilant, every single program you install on your PC creates a new icon and slaps it down on the desktop. The vigilant part comes from paying attention during installing and unchecking the “Create Desktop Icon” box. Even then, some programs (Acrobat) paste their icon to the desktop without first asking.

After a spell, those icons add up. Eventually your desktop is an icon curtain. You may know where a few of the icons are, but most of them you never touch. A few of them may even be redundant duplicates.

I discussed my desktop icon philosophy in a previous blog post. (From 2009, no less!) So obviously this icon bloat thing is a big issue that continues to vex me.

The solution for icon bloat is to delete unneeded and unnecessary icons: Drag the icons to the Recycle Bin or lasso a hoard of them and punch the Delete key on the keyboard.

Remember: Most desktop icons are shortcuts. Deleting the shortcut doesn’t remove the original file. No harm, no foul.

Those icons you can’t delete are the Windows system icons. Well, actually, you can delete them, but it’s more proper to use the Desktop Icon Settings dialog box, shown in Figure 1, to zap them: Remove a check mark by an icon to banish it from the desktop.

Figure 1. The Desktop Icon Settings dialog box.

Figure 1. The Desktop Icon Settings dialog box.

To view the Desktop Icon Settings dialog box:

1. Right-click the desktop and choose the Personalize command from the shortcut menu.
2. In the Personalization window, click the link Change Desktop Icons.
3. Ta-Da.

Another cool trick: Send all the desktop icons to Hell: Right-click the desktop and choose View>Show Desktop Icons. Poof! They all disappear. No fret, no worry.

Well, if you do worry, repeat the trick and choose Show Desktop Icons again. They all come back.

And they’ll keep coming back and growing like a fungus unless you deal with that desktop icon bloat.

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