Unclutter your Desktop!
The desktop has become a catch-all for many computer users. It’s the place they save all their documents, download all their files and link to their most frequently accessed programs. This can often cause the desktop to become quite messy. This tutorial will help you organize your desktop and take advantage of tools in Windows XP to more efficiently access your information.
1. First we will start by removing things that you don’t need on your desktop.
A. Open up your “My Documents” folder by double clicking on its Desktop icon or by accessing it from your start menu. If you have removed this from your start menu while following the instructions in our “Organize and unclutter your Start Menu” tutorial then you can access it by double clicking on your “My Computer” icon and double clicking on the folder labeled with your UserName’s documents.
B. Now organize your My Documents folder by creating and accurately naming various folders to contain your documents. New folders are created by right clicking on the white space inside the window (but not on a file) and selecting New then Folder from the menus that are displayed. After your “My Documents” folder is organized, proceed to drag any documents that you may have saved to your desktop into their appropriate folders or create folders for them. You should now have few, if any, documents saved on your desktop.
C. Now let’s start deleting programs that you have downloaded and saved to your desktop that you don’t need or want anymore. These may be programs that you haven’t used since you have downloaded them, which might be pretty much anything that you downloaded for free. Remember, we are talking about programs you have downloaded, not links to software you have installed. For programs that you would like to keep, created a folder on your desktop called Downloads or whatever works best for you, and drag each of these into your newly created folder. You can now move this folder to a location that will be easily accessible but out of the way. I suggest saving it to your C: drive by right clicking on your new folder, choosing “cut,” then opening “My Computer,” double clicking on your C: drive, and right clicking in the white space (not on any file,) and selecting “paste.”
D. We will now remove the shortcuts to programs you don’t use often or at all. I would suggest that if you find that you have links to programs on your desktop that you never use, that you actually remove the program completely by clicking on Start, choosing Control Panel, then clicking on “Add or Remove Programs,” then find the program in the list, click on “Change/Remove” from the right hand side and follow the directions to remove the program completely from your computer. This may clean off many of the shortcuts off your desktop for you. Now if you only have a few shortcuts left on your desktop you may choose to call it good, but if you would like to reduce the number of shortcuts even more but want to retain easy access to these shortcuts, you may want to add the shortcuts to your “Quick Launch” toolbar.
E. If you see small icons directly to the right of your start button, your “Quick Launch” toolbar has already been enabled. If this is the case you may want to add shortcuts to this toolbar, by simply dragging the icon from your desktop to this area of the task bar, or delete icons from the “Quick Launch” toolbar by right clicking on them and choosing “Delete.”
F. If you do not have a “My Documents,” “My Computer,” or “Internet Explorer” icon on your desktop but you want to, you can add them to your desktop by right clicking on your desktop background, choosing Properties, then selecting the tab marked Desktop then clicking on the button Customize Desktop… In this window you can choose the desktop icons you want displayed, and change which icon is used for what.