Pin Me

Ways to Optimize Your Desktop

written by: theinkandpen (Robert Mullon)•edited by: Christian Cawley•updated: 5/6/2009

Do you find it difficult to find needed icons on your desktop? Does it look cluttered and unmanageable? If so, here are some tips on how to organise it and keep it clean of things you won’t need whilst also optimising it for speed.

  • slide 1 of 2

    It has often been the case that upon hopeless desktop-trawling one accidentally clicks on something useless; much to your surprise (and ineluctable annoyance) ‘Scmpoo the sheep’ pops up or a particularly spiced-up version of ‘Virtua girl’ eagerly begins its routine. Anger ensues: calumny, imprecations and waved fists.

    The former is likely on a cluttered desktop, but it can easily be avoided. Your desktop needn’t resemble a network of intricately woven Viet Cong traps, and you can dispose of unwanted icons and organise your documents much more effectively. We will look at how to optimise your desktop for management and speed in the following paragraph, by offering tips to ease your ‘desktop-stress’.

  • slide 2 of 2

    A Desktop Focused on Productivity

    Dump unwanted icons – Firstly, you will need to prune icons for useless applications or programs which you do not need for your purposes. You can do this manually if you like or via the control panel. Go to ‘Control Panel -> Display’ and click on the ‘Desktop’ Tab. At the bottom click ‘Customize Desktop’. At the bottom click on ‘Clean Desktop Now’ and even if you don’t want to get rid of everything it will give you an idea of things you don’t use.

    Disable Wallpaper – Although resources are a-plenty in modern PC’s, it is a good idea to just set a background colour instead of colourful wallpaper. It may look nice but it will take time to load and take-up resources, particularly things like ‘Webshots’ or similar applications. You can disable wallpaper via ‘Control Panel -> Display’, accessing the ‘Desktop’ Tab and setting background to ‘none’.

    Use ‘sticky-notes software’ – Instead of leaving text files everywhere consider installing free ‘sticky-notes’software. It will be much cleaner and will help you organise your reminders within a single application. Examples of such software are: Sticky 6.7a, Free sticky notes, Sticky Notes and many others.

    Organize your folders – Consider creating separate folders to get access to what you need. For instance, create a folder where you store documents which you open daily or organizing shortcut groups into different folders.

    Use ‘Clear-type’ for ease of reading – This is useful as a general tip and also works with desktop icons. Clear-type makes for easier reading and you can change this in ‘Display’ in ‘Control Panel’. In the Display properties go to the ‘Appearance’ Tab and click on ‘effects’. In the second option (Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts), choose ‘ClearType’ from the drop-down menu.

    Save/recover desktop icons – Consider downloading something like Shock Desktop so you can save and recover the location of your desktop icons. Sometimes the icons are misplaced, particularly when you change your resolution or when you use safe-mode.

    Those are the main important points when optimising your work-space. You can also download something like Launchy which will completely remove folders and icons from the desktop and allow you to search for the program you need easily.