When it comes to a user’s desktop and their computer use habits one thing almost always stands out, a cluttered desktop.
For one reason or another people like saving things onto their desktop and many times, we find a plethora of shortcut icons for a large number of if not all their installed programs and applications as well as many of their files and documents, in some cases users create folders on the desktop and separate files by type in attempts to better organize themselves.
Here are three simple tips for a more efficient desktop that can help you get more organized for better productivity and overall efficiency.
There are a few reasons why keeping documents scattered throughout the desktop is not good, apart from cluttering your desktop and making it difficult to find one document out of the bunch, many backup programs by default are set to backup your Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos folders but don’t bother backing up items located on the desktop, meaning if you are regularly backing up your information which you should be those documents may not be included.
Take all of those files and folders located on the desktop and put them in your Documents folder excluding videos, pictures, or music, make sure those go into their respective folders. Within the documents folder right click and create a new folder, name this one Archives and move any old documents you no longer access but can’t delete into this folder, for the remainder of your documents create between 3-5 categories based on the document types you keep and separate them into folders for each category, stay away from vague options like “Scanned Documents” since this doesn’t really describe the contents within your document.
Clear up unused icons
Now you should only have icons and perhaps folder shortcuts on your desktop, go through these and delete any that you don’t access or need, when I had my Apple laptop (MacBook) I always enjoyed the Doc as this kept my application shortcut easily available and in reality the taskbar functions in the same way only that Microsoft doesn’t add a shortcut there automatically so we will do this manually. Right click on each of your remaining program shortcuts (links) and select “Pin to taskbar”, alternatively you can drag and drop these onto the taskbar, and now delete the shortcuts from your desktop.
By keeping your program shortcuts on your taskbar they become easily accessible at any time and you can open a new program without having to close or minimize the window you are currently working on to look at and find the link on your desktop, your desktop should now look something like this.
If you are using Windows 10 you can click on the start menu then right click on the File Explorer go to more and select pin to taskbar, this puts a folder on the taskbar this folder is normally there by default however in some instances we have found people remove it, when clicking on the shortcut folder a window opens automatically displaying a list of frequently used folders and the most recent files accessed meaning you really shouldn’t need shortcuts to folders.
If on Windows 7 the folder opens up a window displaying your Libraries, you can then select any folder you need quick access to and drag and drop the folder onto the Libraries folder adding it to the list displayed when clicking on the File Explorer folder on the task bar giving you quick and easy access to those files and no longer needing them on the user’s desktop.
In some cases, such as mine you may have more program shortcuts than what may fit onto the taskbar and you end up leaving some on the desktop, I just make sure these are ones I use less frequently and add the most used shortcuts to the taskbar for quick access. So in the end my files are organized in a way that makes them easy to find, can easily be backed up from a few locations and I get a clean and clutter-less desktop.
About the author
Josue Nolasco – VP of Green Shield Technology.
Graduated from ITT Technical Institute with a bachelor’s in network cybersecurity. I attended the Travel Channel Academy which was great fun and has been working with small business owners for years helping them implement new technologies for better and more productive management of their business.
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