Decluttering your digital desk is a constant problem for many PC users these days. Our desktop often ends up being a junkyard with a bewildering mess of icons littered across the screen. The worse case I saw was a friend who had pictures, notes, shortcuts, leftover installers and so, many, icons that made it impossible to use.
There is no way, that the sheer mess of icons and other flotsam lurking around can be a conducive or efficient environment. Surely you’d like to see your beautiful wallpaper rather than have it marred by an icon, folder or shortcut.
Here are a few simple things you can do to deep cleanse your desktop to make it professional, clean and pleasing to the eye.
Use Your Taskbar
Attaching icons to the taskbar is a good first step to getting your desktop ship shape. The simple process of deciding which icons you use often to throw on the taskbar will already help you to eliminate unnecessary icons or programs. This will let you realize quickly what you need, what you want and what can be tossed out with yesterday’s bath water.
When you are done assigning your most used and important icons to your taskbar, separate and organize the rest of your icons into folders and subfolders. Organize in a way that makes sense to you so that you can systematically and automatically locate what you need.
It is also worth noting that if you have a PC with multiple hard drives, storing these icons and documents on another drive with a shortcut on your desktop leading there can help to save some space on your desktop.
Hard drives both internal and external have become considerably more affordable these days. You can easily get them at a steal on the 11street promotion page listed on their website.
Creating a new folder is simplicity at its finest. Simply right click your desktop, select “create new folder” and you are done.
Organizing the icons within the folders is equally as easy. Simply right click a blank area, select “sort by” and choose how you want the icons to be managed. Choosing the option to automatically arrange icons will have Windows automatically arrange the icons for you. I recommend however taking the time to do it manually.
Keep a dedicated “Temporary” folder on your desktop for downloads, .exes and other random stuff that accumulates with daily usage. Toss everything in there and purge the folder once every few days to ensure that clutter doesn’t start creeping into your desktop again.
Customize your downloads
If you’ve done all this but not change how icons show up in the first place, then you will find your screen as crowded as before. Depending on the browser you are using, go to the download settings and change the default folder for downloads to your temporary folder.
Do this and you will find your desktop blissfully clean. Whenever you install new programs, do not simply skip over every option without reading them. There is usually an option prompting you whether or not you want an icon to be placed on the desktop.
Take your desktop to the next level
So you’ve got a clean desktop. But can you make it even cleaner? Maybe have zero icons and a beautiful animated wallpaper? Can it be done?
You will need to download a program called Rainmeter from the Microsoft Store. A free desktop customization tool, Rainmeter allows you to personalize your desktop and even make it seem like there are no icons at all BUT still allowing you to easily access your favourite programs.
This great video tutorial shows how you can have a gorgeous desktop that is not only clutter free, but a work of art in less than 10 minutes.
If this is too much work but you want a beautiful wallpaper, wallpaper engine offers beautiful animated wallpapers that is super easy to install and if you’ve cleaned out your icons, will make for a beautiful desktop.
This is only if you’ve run into issues, find your pc really slow or want a complete reset. The nuclear option is simply to reformat your PC. This is easily done and instructions on how to do so can be easily found on the Microsoft website. Remember to backup all your important files to the cloud or an external hard drive to avoid losing them during the formatting process. I usually conduct my regular backups with a 1TB WD My Passport External Hard Drive that I bought off AliExpress for under US$100.
Be warned however that even if you do reformat your PC, if you don’t change your habits, you will end up with a cluttered mess again.
A less drastic option will be the TronScript. Described as “tech support on a memory drive”, this is a script that automatically cleans, runs a virus and malware scans and helps to get your PC back into shape. Malicious software can leave seemingly harmless icons on your PC and this can be a good way to whip your PC and desktop back into shape without going through a reformat process.
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