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Whatever platform you’re on, your desktop can reveal a lot about how you’re using your computer 5 Better Ways to Use Your Windows Desktop Than for Shortcuts 5 Better Ways to Use Your Windows Desktop Than for Shortcuts Your desktop space is too valuable to be cluttered with shortcuts. We show you how to make better use of it. Your desktop makeover will increase your inspiration, creativity, or productivity. Read More . It could even give us a peek into your personality — and completely mislead us.

Maybe you keep your Windows desktop meticulously clean, but your physical desk is a mess. If you’re curious to see how members of the MakeUseOf team use their desktops, get a rare peek now.

The Genius Desktop

Several members of our team fall into this category. You could call their desktops messy, but we all know that true genius lies in navigating chaos. Besides, who’s got time for cleaning up when they’ve got work to do?

Definitely not our resident developer and DIY editor James Bruce. Here’s what his Mac desktop looks like after tidying.

desktop james bruce

Do you recognize a system? James claims there is one. In his defense, he has a good point:

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“I feel like I can’t trust anyone who has literally nothing on their desktop. Is all your time spent organizing things?”

Fortunately, James has a few colleagues he can trust. First and foremost, our Smart Home editor Briallyn Smith.

desktop briallyn smith

Briallyn describes her desktop as a tragedy.

“I want so badly to be an organized human, and yet everything regularly falls apart within 48 hours.”

While she admits that her desktop is non-functional, Briallyn also notes that she heavily relies on the search tool 9 Tips For a Minimalist & More Efficient Mac Experience 9 Tips For a Minimalist & More Efficient Mac Experience Your Mac's interface is clean and beautiful as it is, but with a few tweaks here and there, you can polish it up some more for a more pleasant desktop experience. Read More . We think she has a few tricks up her sleeve.

Ian Buckley‘s desktop looks deceptively clean, but he admits that the chaos lies just below the surface.

desktop ian buckley

“My desktop gets cluttered, so I create a folder called stuff, and everything goes into it. Sometime later, the process is repeated but I have forgotten I made a stuff directory. I make a new stuff directory where everything on my desktop including the old stuff directory goes in. Repeat until nested stuff folders break space time.”

The Workstation Desktop

While our geniuses seem to just dump everything onto their desktops, these folks use their desktop for specific projects.

Khamosh Pathak describes his desktop as “some special kind of hell.”

desktop khamosh pathak

Khamosh’s desktop is a pinboard for current projects and articles. He exports edited images for his articles and wireframes for UX projects to the desktop, so he can drag them into a chat, email, or browser window. Every once in a while, when it gets too crowded or he needs article screenshots, Khamosh cleans his desktop up.

“I should probably look for an app that will do this in a more sophisticated way but till then, this is it.”

If you have any ideas for Khamosh, please drop a comment below!

Rohan Naravane‘s desktop has two main purposes. First, to hold screenshots, “since on a Mac that is the default destination when you use the Cmd + Shift + 3 or Cmd + Shift + 4 shortcut.” Moreover, he uses his desktop “as a temporary area to keep files and folders I need to attach and send over email.”

15 Desktops That Reveal How We Work at MakeUseOf Desktop Rohan 670x419

Like most of you who know how to use a decent file management tool like Finder 8 Finder Tips for Mac Newbies 8 Finder Tips for Mac Newbies Navigating files and folders using the native Mac file browser Finder is easy enough, but there are many more features hidden behind menus and keyboard shortcuts. Read More — which sorts files by “Date Modified” — Rohan rarely interacts with his desktop; to the point that he temporarily denies its existence. On those rare occasions when he’s confronted with the many files on his desktop, he selects them all and puts them in a folder called “Desktop”. Obviously, that folder resides on his desktop.

Before you head to the comments, Rohan does realize that it’s possible to auto-save screenshots to a specific folder 8 Smart Folders You Need on Your Mac & How to Set Them Up 8 Smart Folders You Need on Your Mac & How to Set Them Up Smart folders take a preset search query of your choosing and filters for relevant files accordingly, making them one of the most underused and genuinely useful features of Mac OS X. Read More , even on a Mac. But why bother?

“Yup, basically I couldn’t care less if there was no desktop at all.”

Bohed, our art director, has a dual screen setup, hence two desktops.

desktop bohed

Like Rohan, he lets his Mac auto-save all screenshots to the desktop.

Our Technology Explained editor Gavin Phillips has downsized from a dual 24″ screen and 17″ laptop to a single monitor. Apparently, writing and editing requires less screen space than market research.

desktop gavin phillips

Gavin likes seeing a different background every few hours Outsource Your Wallpaper to Create a Stunning Dynamic Desktop Outsource Your Wallpaper to Create a Stunning Dynamic Desktop Imagine you'd boot Windows to a new stunning wallpaper every day. We show you how to use Reddit and John's Background Switcher to set up a dynamic desktop that updates automatically. Read More and uses John’s Background Switcher, which he wrote about a while back.

Meanwhile, our Linux and Security editor Christian Cawley leaves no doubt about his musical taste.

desktop christian cawley

The U.K.’s most prolific technology journalist mainly uses shortcuts from his vertical Taskbar Why You Should Use a Vertical Windows Taskbar Why You Should Use a Vertical Windows Taskbar The Windows Taskbar has always appeared at the bottom of the screen. Depending on your monitor, vertical Taskbar might have several advantages. Let us show you what they are. Read More . Meanwhile, the desktop is home to games and digital download services which are “sensibly grouped,” Christian says.

The Lean Desktop

This is essentially two different mindsets in one. First, we have the folks who appreciate a stylish desktop with no clutter. And then we have the minimalists.

Judging by his Taskbar, James Frew isn’t a hardcore minimalist, but he’s definitely got style.

desktop james frew

“Tidy Desk[top], Tidy Mind.”

James appreciates a clean and organized Windows desktop How to Clean Up Your Windows Desktop Once and for All How to Clean Up Your Windows Desktop Once and for All Clutter is more detrimental than you realize. A tidy Windows desktop makes things easier to find, is more pleasing to look at, and reduces stress. We show you how to get your desktop in order. Read More . Mainly because he likes “being able to minimize all my windows and look at my rotating minimalist backgrounds.” All his downloads, files, and other stuff go into the Downloads folder, from where James eventually sorts them to where they belong. A waste of time, if you ask the other James.

Joe Coburn‘s nickname around MakeUseOf is superjoe. And like his geek level, his Mac desktop is out of this world too.

desktop joe coburn

Now don’t let that desktop fool you! He likes to keep his desktop clean because he often uses multiple USB and network drives (#macproblems). If you could see his real desk, however, you’d recognize Joe’s genius:

“What’s wrong with me — I have a super clean [mac] desktop, but my real-life desk is ultra-messy.”

Bertel King Jr. shared two screenshots. First, he showed off a very stylish and clean desktop.

desktop bertel king jr

Slightly distressed by all the crowded desktops (“I don’t know how you people live.”) and inspired by fellow writer’s beautiful Chrome OS shot, he then went looking for a new wallpaper. Here’s what he came up with:

desktop bertel king jr

Solid gray. Is this art?

To keep his desktop neat, Bertel saves everything directly to the relevant folder. Anything that doesn’t have a destination, stays in Downloads. Simple.

Joe Keeley likes to keep his desktop as tidy as possible. That means absolutely no icons or temporary files, only the Recycle Bin.

desktop joe keeley

Joe uses the Taskbar to store shortcuts for programs 3 Better Ways to Store Your Files Than on the Desktop 3 Better Ways to Store Your Files Than on the Desktop Did you know that storing files directly on your desktop can harm your productivity? Desktop storage is simple, but it comes with hidden drawbacks you may not know about. You can do better! Read More he uses all the time.

“The desktop is all about displaying awesome, high-resolution images.”

Now for the most minimalist desktop, imagine James Bruce’s desktop with absolutely nothing on it. What you get is Akshata‘s Mac desktop.

desktop akshata shanbhag

Akshata says:

“My desktop always stays blank. I use a combination of Spotlight and Finder to organize/find files and stuff. I love the default macOS wallpaper and stick to it. Once in a while I change it to something else. It doesn’t make a difference either way because I hardly ever look at the desktop.”

Those Mac people clearly like the default mountain background.

The Author’s Desktop

Tina Sieber uses a trick to keep her Windows desktop clean: she hides all desktop icons.

desktop tina sieber

To still have access to whatever make its way onto the desktop, she keeps a Taskbar toolbar 7 Useful Toolbars You Can Add To Your Windows Taskbar 7 Useful Toolbars You Can Add To Your Windows Taskbar The Windows desktop can be a super productive work space. Native toolbars can help you make it even more efficient by placing shortcuts and information at your fingertips. Let's have a closer look. Read More that provides access to her hidden desktop icons. Tina’s real challenge are dozens of browser windows and tabs that clutter up her Taskbar.

Between Chaos and Order

Our team covers the entire spectrum. And that’s what a good team should do. You need all kinds of people to produce great work.

Team members who haven’t contributed to this article have previously shown you how to make your Windows desktop unique How to Change the Look and Feel of Your Windows 10 Desktop How to Change the Look and Feel of Your Windows 10 Desktop You just upgraded to Windows 10 and you're wondering how you can customize and personalize it. We help you turn your desktop into a virtual Windows experience, one step at a time. Read More  or how to make Windows darker Prefer Dark Themes? 7 Tips to Make Your Windows Desktop Even Darker Prefer Dark Themes? 7 Tips to Make Your Windows Desktop Even Darker Dark colors can help with eyestrain and they're stylish too. A dark Windows theme is a good start. We show you how to make your Windows desktop as dark as possible. Read More . You can do a lot of cool stuff with your desktop.

Your turn! What does your desktop look like? Share a screenshot in the comments, tell us what’s special about it, and if we’ve motivated you to change anything about it, we’d love to hear about that too!

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