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Windows 7 - Optimizing Your Desktop Icons

The desktop of the average computer is kept in a rather confusing and untidy state to say the least. As you download and install new programs, more and more shortcuts start to appear on the desktop, eventually making it so cluttered that it becomes very inefficient. Others prefer not to have any desktop icons displayed at all and instead just use the start menu and taskbar. This is more viable in Windows 7 than ever before, thanks to the new feature which allows you to easily pin any program to the taskbar or start menu simply by dragging it into the location you want it. Hiding all desktop icons can be done by right-clicking on an unoccupied area of the desktop, going to "View" and removing the check mark beside "Show desktop icons."

However, many people are used to using the desktop for accessing frequently used files, folders and programs. Follow the tips below to clean up your desktop and optimize it for your use.

1 – Removing Unwanted Shortcuts
If you've been using your computer for quite some time and not paid any attention to clearing your desktop, then it is likely filled with shortcuts to programs and files that you never use. Many programs have an irritating habit of adding a selection of desktop shortcuts by default when you install them.

If you've got large numbers of shortcuts that you want to delete quickly, use keyboard shortcuts. Press and hold the "CTRL" button on your keyboard and, with the mouse, click once on each shortcut that you want to delete. With all of these shortcuts highlighted, press "DELETE" on your keyboard and click "Yes" to confirm.

You may notice some shortcuts to programs that you no longer use. It's a good idea to uninstall these properly via the Control Panel. Deleting a shortcut on the desktop or in the start menu does not affect the actual program or associated files in any way.

2 – Displaying Desktop Shortcuts for My Computer etc.
Windows 7 did away with the "My Computer" icon which has been around since Windows 95. If you're missing this, there's a very easy way to get it back. You can also add various other commonly used shortcuts which were there by default in earlier versions of Windows.

Right-click on the desktop and click "Personalize." Click on the link "Change desktop icons" in the left-hand side of the Personalization control panel. Here you can select the desktop icons that you want to be displayed, including one for "Computer." You can choose your own icons to represent each shortcut by clicking on the relevant icon to highlight it and then clicking "Change icon." Choose your favourite icon and click "OK." Remember to deselect "Allow themes to change desktop icons" if you don't want the icons to change automatically when you change your visual theme. Click "OK" when done and close the Personalization window.


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