Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Icons Cluttering Windows Desktop – A Problem?

There is a compromise solution which “Power Users” know..”

Q: “Paul-
May I ask you a question? I have a few small programs on my desktop and lots of shortcuts.  Will this slow my computer any or cause any other difficulties? Thanks for your help & have a great day,”

A: On a reasonably modern computer, with reasonable graphics ability (say.. anything from 2004 to present) the number of icons on the Desktop becomes mostly a matter of personal preference, and not one of performance degradation.

True, each shortcut is usually associated with an icon (typically, a 16 x 16 pixel graphic), and Windows will have to look each one up (from its “icon cache”), and draw each one in, and this can take a moment or two (or three).. which technically you could be using for working… The more icons to draw, the longer it will take – but, we are talking moments, not minutes.

* Some people are in search of an “instant on” speed to get to their online Casino games, while other people turn on their PC on their way to brush their teeth. The first category might value those few moments.. and they may want to delete “shortcuts” (and associated icons). Deleting a shortcut does not delete the program itself.

* Some people find icons distracting, and want as few as possible; while others view them as friends, and want as many around as the screen will hold. (me.. I set my Desktop “wallpaper” to a nice, calming, nature photo, so to me, shortcut icons are a distraction.. why is there a white “W” [Word] up in that palm tree?)

There is a compromise solution which “Power Users” know: you can right-click on your Desktop, then:
Windows XP: choose “Arrange icons by” (I know.. not intuitive!)
Then uncheck Show Desktop Icons.
Windows Vista/7: point to “View“, and then click Show Desktop Icons to clear the check mark.

That will clear every icon off your Desktop, yet leave you the Taskbar.
Then, when you want access to your icons, you repeat the steps and check it again – getting them back. It’s too much hassle for me, but some folks swear by it as it gives the best of both worlds, and makes them seem tidier and more organized than they really are.

Note: Hiding all of the icons on your desktop doesn’t delete them, it just hides them until you choose to show them again.

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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July 1, 2010 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, PC, performance, tech, tweaks, Vista, Windows 7, XP | , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments