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Windows 7 - Cleaning Up Your Desktop

Many people keep their Windows desktops in a state of disarray, packed full of shortcuts, files and folders which are no longer used. To increase productivity or even just to make your desktop look better, cleaning up any unused icons on it is a fairly straightforward task.

The first step is to delete anything that you don't need, such as downloaded files and programs which you've already installed. You can also safely remove shortcuts to programs which you no longer use. You can tell an icon is a shortcut by the small arrow overlay in the bottom-right corner of it. Be aware that deleting a program shortcut on the desktop does not in any way alter the program itself. If you no longer use a particular program, you should remove it from your computer properly by going to the "Uninstall a Program" section of the control panel. Uninstalling unused programs will free up disk space and, in some cases, improve the overall performance of your computer.

You can also improve the way that your desktop icons are arranged by right-clicking on the desktop, going to "View" and selecting the settings "Auto arrange icons" and "Align icons to grid." If you only want to be able to see your desktop background picture and not have any icons displayed at all, remove the check beside "Show desktop icons."

You'll also find one or more icons on your desktop which cannot be removed in the same way that you removed any other content. Windows 7 shows only the Recycle Bin by default, although you can also have other shortcuts displayed on the desktop including ones for the computer, control panel, network and your user account folder.

To change which icons appear on your desktop, right-click on the desktop and go to "Personalize." In the left-hand side of the personalization window, you'll see the link "Change desktop icons." Click this to bring up the Desktop Icon Settings window. Check the boxes beside any icons that you want to display. Additionally, you can change the icons for each of the five available Windows 7 desktop shortcuts. If you do go to the trouble of changing each of these icons, you may want to uncheck the box beside "Allow themes to change desktop icons." Once you're done customizing your desktop icons, click "OK" to continue. Hopefully, you'll now have a far tidier desktop!


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