If you’re one of those that installs a lot of applications or saves documents to your desktop, it doesn’t take long before you’re staring at a sea full of icons and you can’t find the one you’re looking for.  Often times, most of those icons can go unused for months at a time which means they’re just taking up space and making the important icons harder to find. Here are a few tips on how to keep your desktop clean:

  1. Create folders for the icons you don’t use regularly – You could create one folder for applications, one for documents, and another for pictures that you don’t access regularly. It’ll be much nicer to look at a few folders filled with icons versus a desktop full of icons. To create a new folder, just right click on your desktop and then click new>folder.
  2. Use the Desktop Cleanup Wizard in Windows XP – If you’re using Windows XP, there’s a tool called Desktop Cleanup Wizard that will remove unwanted shortcuts from your desktop. To access the Desktop Cleanup Wizard, just right-click on your desktop, then click "arrange icons by" and then click "Run Desktop Cleanup Wizard." You’ll be taken through the process of selecting which shortcuts will be left on your desktop. The ones you decide not to keep will be placed in an "Unused Desktop Shortcuts" folder. This is only a feature found in XP.desktop cleanup wizard 
  3. Auto Arrange Icons – Maybe it’s not that you have a lot of icons, but they’re just thrown all over the screen. Using the "auto arrange icons" feature will arrange the icons so that they look nicer on your desktop. They’ll be evenly spaced out and placed in columns. To auto arrange your icons in Windows Vista and XP, right-click on your desktop then click "Arrange Icons By">Auto Arrange.
  4. Hide Desktop Icons – In some instances, you may want to hide all of your desktop icons.  I know when I’m taking screenshots, I’d rather that my icons stay out of the shot. You can hide all of your icons very simply by right-clicking on your desktop > Arrange Icons by> Show Desktop Icons. Once you do this, your icons will be hidden.
  5. Save the position of your icons – This won’t necessarily help you keep your desktop clean, but it will help keep your desktop organized. To learn how to save the position of your icons to restore at any time, checkout this article.

Of course, if you have your own suggestiosn for keeping your desktop clean, feel free to share…