The seasons officially changed on Sunday, and with warmer weather and more daylight comes a desire to get spring cleaning underway. One of the easiest ways to get that started is also one of the most overlooked: keeping the desktops of our computers clean and organized.
Beyond the aesthetic value of actually being able to see your home screen wallpaper—and being able to find that file you’re looking for—a clean desktop can also improve computing performance, too. Older versions of Windows included a Desktop Cleanup Wizard. This ran as an automatically scheduled task, moving files or program shortcuts that had not been opened for 60 days to a separate directory. Predictably, this rankled many users, who were often left confused when desktop files or shortcuts suddenly disappeared.
Windows 7, 8.1, and 10 integrated this desktop cleanup function into the System Maintenance Wizard, but a number of easy-to-follow tricks and free apps can also do the trick. See below for our favorite suggestions:
Five Ways to Get a Nice and Clean Computer Desktop
1) Looking to rearrange things but keep files and shortcuts easily accessible? This is the easiest fix, either by manually deleting all shortcuts and consolidating documents into a folder or choosing between various Sort By options. Right-click your desktop, choose Sort by, and choose from options like Name, Size, Type, and Date Modified. Choosing the View option allows you to change icon size, Auto arrange icons moves icons into vertical rows, or Align to grid so that everything’s neat and tidy.
2) Look into free applications like RocketDock or Fences. RocketDock, one of the most popular dock programs, comes with most icons that are the default components of every Windows desktop. And Fences by Stardock allows users to group desktop icons by category. Both Windows-specific apps offer countless customization options, too.
3) Change the destination of downloaded files. This one can be a double-edged sword—if files downloaded through your mail client or Internet browser don’t automatically land on your desktop, you might not be able to easily locate them. But if you do send them straight to your desktop and don’t keep up with the deluge, your desktop will quickly get swamped. The best compromise? Create a Downloads folder on your desktop and drag files there for quick organization.
4) Go minimal and hide nearly everything on your desktop. Using a program launcher like Launchy can give your desktop that fresh and clean look while still providing quick access to any program or document on your computer. You can even search Google with Launchy.
5) If you use Apple products, look into an app like Clean. Organization is paramount on Macs, which feature handy, easily customizable docks. An app like Clean by Vojto Rinik, which runs in the background, can organize your desktop at regular intervals by automatically moving files from your desktop into another designated, time-stamped folder.
With a few simple tools and tricks like these under your belt, your spring cleaning can get underway, starting with that disorderly desktop. Want to know more about how to boost the efficiency and productivity of your business? Intrigued by the tips outlined here but have further questions? Contact CMIT Solutions today—we worry about IT so you don’t have to.