How to Clean Up Your Windows Desktop Once and For All

Emma Roth Updated 09-04-2020

As you probably know, the Windows desktop can be a tough beast to tame. Maybe you want an organized and clean desktop, but no matter how many times you purge it, and no matter how hard you try to keep it in order, it somehow becomes messy again.


A clean desktop not only makes things easier to find, thus reducing inefficiency, but is more pleasing to look at and doesn’t cause as much cognitive stress.

Keep reading to find out how to clean up your Windows 10 desktop once and for all.

How to Clean Up Your Desktop

The actual act of cleaning a desktop is easy—all you have to do is select all icons and press Delete. The hard part is keeping it clean. To understand how to prevent desktop clutter, we need to understand why our desktops tend to collect clutter in the first place.

We simply want fast access to our most-used apps, files, and folders. And what’s the best way to do that? Shortcuts! Unfortunately, it’s way too easy to create a shortcut, plop it onto the desktop, and call it a day—do that a few times and boom, clutter. After all, is there a location that’s more conveniently accessible than the desktop? I can’t think of one.

A cluttered Windows desktop


So the trick is to find alternative methods for accessing our most-used apps, files, and folders.

A cluttered desktop is just a symptom of a deeper issue: relying on shortcuts. If you can cut that out, then you won’t need shortcuts anymore, and suddenly your desktop won’t ever be cluttered again.

This is what you’ll learn by the end of this article.

Take heart in knowing that success is possible. My own desktop has been completely empty for more than four years thanks to the following tips and tricks.


And despite how you might feel about Windows 10, this is one area where it excels. Keeping a clean desktop has never been easier.

Move App Shortcuts to the Start Menu

The redesigned Start Menu is perfect as a dumping ground for app shortcuts. First introduced in Windows 8 and greatly refined in Windows 10, the Start Menu should be your method of choice for launching apps.

It’s accessible from anywhere—all you need to do is hit the Windows key—and it’s large enough to comfortably pin dozens of apps.

To pin an app to the Start Menu:

  1. Right-click on the app shortcut on your desktop.
  2. Select Pin to Start.

Once pinned, apps can be resized (more important apps could be larger, for example) and you can mark them if they should be launched with Administrator permissions.

Organize the Start Menu Using Groups

Be mindful that you don’t just shift the problem of clutter from your desktop to your Start Menu.

For maximum productivity and sanity, you should further organize your Start Menu tiles into groups. Not only does this keep everything tidy, but it makes it easier for you to find apps when you need them.

Clean Up Windows Start Menu Pins


As you drag app tiles around, you’ll notice that they “chunk” into separate groups. If you hover your mouse over each group, you’ll see a field called Name Group that you can click on to rename that group however you want.

You’ll also see a marker with two horizontal lines—drag this to rearrange your app groups according to your needs.

Move App Shortcuts to the Taskbar

If you feel like the Start Menu requires one too many clicks, you can choose to pin apps directly to the Taskbar instead. I only recommend this for apps you use on a daily basis—the kinds of apps that are always open, such as web browsers, music players, text editors, etc.

To pin an app to the Taskbar:

  1. Right-click on the app shortcut on your desktop.
  2. Select Pin to Taskbar.

Once pinned, apps can be dragged around so you can rearrange them according to your needs. Be wary of pinning too many apps here—Taskbar clutter can be worse than desktop clutter.

If you add too many apps, the Taskbar will split into multiple rows that you’ll have to scroll between by clicking on Up and Down arrows. I find that this kills productivity, so avoid it.

Customize the Taskbar for More Space

If you want to maximize how many apps you can add without spilling over into multiple rows, you can customize your Taskbar settings Windows 10 Taskbar Customization: The Complete Guide Here's how to customize the Windows 10 taskbar with built-in settings, handy tricks, and third-party software. Read More . To access the settings, right-click the Taskbar and select Taskbar Settings.

  1. Use small Taskbar buttons: This does exactly what it sounds like, and it works well. The only two downsides are that the Taskbar clock will no longer show the date and the Taskbar icons can be harder to see on higher resolution screens (i.e. 1920 x 1080 or greater).
  2. Taskbar location on screen: Most users keep the Taskbar along the bottom edge of the screen because that’s the default setting on Windows, but a vertical taskbar can allow you to locate apps faster.
  3. Combine Taskbar buttons: If you prefer a horizontal Taskbar, then make sure you set this to Always, hide labels. Or at the very least, set it to When Taskbar is full. Both of these will maximize how much you can fit before spilling into another row.

Move Folder Shortcuts to Quick Access

The Quick Access feature is one of the better refinements in Windows 10’s File Explorer (formerly called Windows Explorer). Whereas the Start Menu and Taskbar are great for consolidating app shortcuts, Quick Access is where you should put all folder shortcuts.

If you’ve never heard of it before, don’t worry. Open up File Explorer (using keyboard shortcut Windows + E) and look in the left sidebar to see a section called Quick Access.

Think of it like folder bookmarks: you can pin folders here and instantly access them from anywhere in File Explorer.

To pin a folder to Quick Access:

  1. Navigate to the folder you want to pin.
  2. Right-click on the folder.
  3. Select Pin to Quick Access.

Pin File Explorer to the Taskbar

We aren’t done yet. Although some people opt for File Explorer alternatives The 7 Best Windows File Explorer Alternatives and Replacements Windows File Explorer isn't a great file manager for Windows. This article lists the best Windows File Explorer alternatives. Read More , File Explorer actually has a number of useful lesser-known features that can be useful.

For example, you can access your Quick Access folders right from the Taskbar by pinning File Explorer just like you would any other app. Launch any folder, right-click on File Explorer in the Taskbar, and select Pin to Taskbar.

Clean Up Windows Quick Access

Once pinned, just right-click on the File Explorer icon and you’ll see a list of all Quick Access folders. This is the preferred way to “quick jump” to folders you use over and over again, and it’s actually faster than keeping folder shortcuts on the desktop.

Bypass the Need for Shortcuts With a Launcher

If you really want to clean up clutter all across your system, then you may want to forego the above alternatives and use an on-demand launcher instead. You have two options for this.

The first option is to use Talk to Cortana on the Taskbar. The improved search in Windows 10 means you can open the Start Menu (with the Windows key), start typing for an app or file and immediately open it with the Enter key.

While you don’t need Cortana for any of this, some people find the voice control aspect to be much more convenient.

To start talking to Cortana, click the white circle (the Talk to Cortana button) in the Taskbar. Cortana in Windows 10 Cortana in Windows 10: Everything You Need to Know The digital assistant Microsoft Cortana is an integral part of Windows 10. Do you wonder what Cortana can do or how to turn Cortana off? We've got answers. Read More has a lot to offer, so don’t count it out.

Clean Up Windows Cortana

The second option is to install Wox. Wox is a third-party app that replicates the Spotlight feature from macOS. At any time, you can hit Alt + Space to open Wox, then type any app, file, or folder to launch it instantly. It can also act as a web search tool.

With either of these options, you won’t have to pin apps anywhere again. And with Wox, you won’t even have to pin folders anymore. Everything is just one query away.

Last Resort: Desktop Shortcuts the Smart Way

Let’s say you don’t like any of the above suggestions. You really like using desktop shortcuts and you want to keep using them—you just want to keep them organized. In that case, you can always resort to using Fences.

With Fences, you can create sections on your desktop for organizing your shortcuts, with each section called a fence.

Fences can be minimized, which means you open them on demand, launch the shortcut you need, then close them back up. Shortcuts can automatically sort into fences according to rules, or you can set them up manually.

The downside? It isn’t free. There’s a 30-day free trial, but it’ll cost $10 after that ends.

Achieving a Clean Desktop

Now that your desktop is tidy, you probably feel like a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders. You can finally access your apps and files without digging through a messy desktop.

We also recommend going one step further and making sure all your computer files are organized. To make your life even easier, use these Windows apps that automatically organize files for you 6 Windows Apps That Automatically Organize Files for You Organizing files on Windows is a tiring job. Take a look at these automatic file organization apps that do it for you. Read More .

Image Credit: scanrail/Depositphotos

Related topics: Computer Maintenance, Declutter, File Explorer, Start Menu, Windows App Launcher, Windows Taskbar, Windows Tips.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Merlin
    April 10, 2020 at 10:58 am

    There is a simple and FREE alternative to 'fences'.
    Use folders on your desktop.
    Create a folder for every group of shortcuts. e.g. Office, Tools, Design,... whatever.
    Now select the icons (shortcuts) and drag them onto the folder you want them in.
    Put all the shortcuts for office apps into the folder Office, all the design apps in the folder Design, etc...
    Now the desktop is pretty clean and you never have to search long for an app. Just open the group folder and, voila! There are your apps nicely gathered the way they should be.
    When you no longer need a certain group to be expanded, just close the folder window. It's just a few clicks away of being reopened.
    There's even free software availlable for changing the folder icons to whatever icon you want them to have.

  2. Roman Cernjak
    March 29, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    Ive been doing this on windows 7 (with classic start/explorer) for more than a decade.
    quick launch for most important shortcuts (double size taskbar ofc), start menu for all other important shortcuts (not the stupid Programs menu but the first start page), control panel as menu with Programs And Features pinned to top.
    recently installed Fences and still getting the hang of it.
    for mont important folders, installed Direct Folders but haven't properly tried it yet.
    i use Never Combine with text on taskbar, as i like keeping my tasks separate.

    oh and, the start menu already has a spotlight feature. or just use launchy :)

  3. Marco Sarli
    March 22, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Just make a folder on the desktop and rename it shortcuts. Place all your shortcuts in it and they will be automatically placed in alphabetical order. You can also make folders inside the shortcuts folder to divide documents to shortcuts to software and so on. You can also change the folder icons to something relevant to the content.

    • Bazoonga
      March 18, 2018 at 12:57 am

      A computer novice here.Please tell me how to collect all desktop shortcuts in one Folder on the desktop screen.


  4. GrooveBaby
    May 27, 2016 at 6:12 am

    Hey, good lookin out. Useful solutions to the problems that come from being human. Need more of those, so if ya think of some, keep em comin! Puzzler: I'm no tech. I consider it one of my biggest props for having kept my rig functioning (no little "wish it didn't do that, but don't know how to fix it") for 4 years. But, if my pc doesn't know what a particular suffix belongs to, instinct dictates caution. When these .png and .cng items appear on the D.T, I'm betting I didn't put them there, and know I didn't mean to if I did, as I figure also that deleting them will cause a limp in my little sprinter's gait.
    Putting them where they belong: y/n?
    Create a folder and throw them in there (Labeled: Think Again, sport.)?
    They ain't going anywhere, and I figure there is a "Bestest" way of handlin it. Upon your alter, be it thrown! And keep on keepin on. Dummies like me account for the bulk of us, assuring help will always be needed.

  5. P51L0
    April 29, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    Dont forget Tago-Fences, totally free, and as good and goodlooking as the commercial Fences. ;)

  6. tharindu
    February 7, 2015 at 4:40 am

    how to change wallpaper of networked computer please e mail me thank you

  7. scott
    February 6, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    Thank you for a much-needed article for me! I will take the steps to clean it up.

  8. Anonymous
    December 4, 2012 at 1:52 am

    Thanks Aaron. That's what I need.
    But I have CX Sync folder that sits on my desktop. I can't figure out how to move it.

    • Aaron Couch
      December 13, 2012 at 1:00 am

      Is the folder just a shortcut? Meaning, is there another location the folder is in as well? These typically get put in the My Documents folder too. If this is the case, deleting it would be your best bet, from the Desktop that is.

      If not, I'm not sure what to tell you. You might consider doing a search online or contancting CX and seeing if they can help you.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if it does.

  9. Ibrahim Nadir
    September 16, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    Dude you really put a lot of stamina in your article. I wonder where u get it from...

    • Aaron Couch
      December 13, 2012 at 1:02 am

      I appreciate your compliment! I think it's a compliment. It is, isn't it? Well... to be honest, it's just determination. And somehow I remain creative in all of it.

      Hope this article helped you in some way!

  10. Silviu Despa
    August 25, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Lol Aaron my desktop looks just like that with a whole bunch if useless shortcuts and folders !

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 1:23 am

      Oh no Silviu! Haha. Are you planning to change anything since reading my article?

      I recommend reading what Carie recommended earlier in the comments about only using the desktop for work that you need to access now, and nothing else. Just like how you (hopefully) use your physical desktop.

      Let me know if there's any way I can help. Thanks for reading!

  11. Edward
    August 25, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    I started using Fences a few months ago and don't know how I survived in the past without it. Great program!

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 1:20 am

      Yes it is! Thanks for sharing your thoughts Edward, and for reading as well!

  12. xbalesx
    August 24, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Must read for my entire challenged...great info I am emailed them today.

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 1:20 am

      Awesome! Hopefully it'll be easy to understand. Honestly, anyone who uses a computer (so everyone) should organize their desktop, otherwise it is utterly counterproductive to its intended purpose — providing quick access to the files you need NOW.

      I'm not opposed to files on the desktop, they're necessary at times, but only have the ones you need now. And use all the other things I mentioned to organize the rest.

      Thanks for reading and sharing this with your family. Truly an honor.

  13. Ellen Odza
    August 23, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    I just installed Fences and used it to group together the shortcuts on my desktop (which already were organized in groups, but now they HAVE to stay together!) Awesome - thanks so much!

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 1:18 am

      That's awesome Ellen! Sounds like even before you had a much more organized desktop than the averaged user.

      So glad Fences is working well for you.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts and experiences.

  14. Adjei Kofi
    August 22, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    fences looks cool

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 1:17 am

      It IS cool Adjei! Thanks for reading. Let me know if you end up using Fences and how it works out for you.

  15. Rahul Patil
    August 22, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Thanks for RocketDock

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 1:16 am

      Don't thank me Rahul, thank its creators! :P

      Thanks for reading!

  16. Regalia
    August 22, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Ugh, what are you all doing. Use a TWM like

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 1:14 am

      Thanks for sharing this. However, for those who may be less computer literate (which this article is aimed at, but certainly not only for) a TWM doesn't really seem like the best way to manage desktop icons.

      I do appreciate you sharing this though and also for reading! If you want to elaborate more as to how it benefits you, I'd love to hear. Perhaps, I'm just not very educated with them.

  17. Benjamin Glass
    August 21, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    I hate desktop icons, so everything is on my start menu!

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 1:11 am

      Good plan Benjamin. I do too, which is why if I want something done right away, I add the folder or file to my desktop. That way I see it every time and it is constantly on my mind to accomplish so I can remove it.

      Thanks for reading man!

  18. VS Vishnu
    August 21, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    but i use XP

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 1:10 am

      Oh, well I highly recommend you upgrade to 7. However, if you don't want to, RocketDock and Fences should still work as well as pinning apps to the Start Menu. The only function that you can't really take advantage of is the superior taskbar in Windows 7. Still, XP does have Quick Launch, which isn't the greatest, but can help free up the desktop by adding your most commonly used apps there instead and saving the desktop for your most current work.

      Hope that helps! Thanks for reading.

    • carie
      August 27, 2012 at 10:20 am

      Actually xp allows you to create floating menu bars on the desktop. In the quick start, create a folder, then place shortcuts. Once done, drag off blue bar and it will float independently on the desktop. A feature that I initially missed on windows vista then 7! Rocketdock also works on xp.

      • Aaron Couch
        August 28, 2012 at 1:31 am

        That's really interesting Carie. Thanks for sharing! You're lighting up the comments with awesome ideas! I love it.

  19. Yash Kataria
    August 21, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Great article Aaron. Something which every Windows user should read.
    I am using fences for the last 6 months, and it's awesome. You can make, delete, resize fences on your will. The only one more feature that I will love in fences is search option.

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 1:08 am


      Thanks so much for your support! Although I don't really need Fences, I do find it quite useful... especially to those who like having icons on their desktop, but don't want the hassle of a chaotic mess.

      Yes! A search function would be fantastic! Have you heard of Everything by Voidtools? Or Launchy? Both are great search tools and have strengths in different areas.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts Yash!

  20. Kylee Kanavas
    August 21, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    You just improved the quality of my desktop!!! :)

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 1:05 am

      That's quite an honor actually, and frankly what I was hoping someone would say! So thank YOU for your support. I am really glad that I've helped you.

      If you care to share any specifics as to how it's helped, I'd love to hear them.

      Thanks for reading Kylee!

  21. sigits Sigit
    August 20, 2012 at 8:58 am

    thx Aaron, i'll try it to my PC's :)

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 1:04 am

      You're welcome! Let me know how it goes and thanks for reading!

  22. David
    August 20, 2012 at 1:25 am

    Maybe I'm missing something basic here. One can simply right click on the desktop, then use the option "View" to choose whether to have any icons displayed. It can be changed easily in a couple of clicks of the right button.

    I've always used the option to hide icons not just for minimalism, but also because I change my desktop wallpaper a lot. Between the "Pin to the start menu" option and Quick Launch, there is quick access to the half-dozen programs I use 90% of the time.

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 1:04 am


      You're right. You can quickly hide icons, but that's not the point about the article. The desktop is a great place to store files and folders which require your attention, but shouldn't be a place to store everything. When it's used as this, it becomes counter productive.

      Think of it in the sense of your physical desktop at home (if you have one). The most effective use is if you only have the work that you need to get done right now on it. Once you start building up other clutter it becomes counterproductive.

      Like you mentioned, Windows 7 has some great features to manage shortcuts and clean up your desktop as well... which I mentioned too.

      Does that answer your question?

      Thanks for reading! If you disagree, feel free to further explain your argument!

  23. Darryl Price
    August 19, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    I have three files on my desktop called Scratchpad.doc, scratchpad.xls, and scratchpad.pdf. I also have a folder called Scratchpad. When I download a document to my desktop, I save it as one of these names - overwriting the previous scratchpad file. If I read the item and want to keep it, I "save as" and rename it to the relevant directory. Otherwise it is left as scratchpad, and is saved over next time. Simple.

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 1:00 am


      I'm trying to understand how this affects your file management though. I suppose it depends on your workflow and what files you're downloading, but wouldn't renaming those files as that not be conducive to accessing them later on if you need to?

      Perhaps I missed something...

      Let me know though, I'm interested in hearing more about your system. Thanks for reading.

  24. Divit Dsouza
    August 19, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Nice article...
    I used to use Fences and will use it again when my desktop gets messy.
    Trying out Rocket Dock for now :) Would you mind telling me the icon pack that your are using?

  25. NaraNarusha
    August 18, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Helpful :) Im gonna reccommend it to my friends

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 12:57 am

      Thanks for reading and sharing it! You're awesome.

  26. Fayz
    August 17, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    Sometimes I want to ask people who have desktops that look like the first desktop preview, how in God's name do you make your desktop so crowded?! I have tried to do it several times and it drove me nuts! Oh by the way, thanks for the article. Hopefully after reading this, my friends can clean up their desktops. c:

    • GrrGrrr
      August 18, 2012 at 1:00 pm

      caz desktop is the first place accessible after entering windows. hence, crowded..

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 12:57 am

      Me too, Fayz. Me too. Sigh.

      Thanks for reading and your support and for sharing this article with your friends! (Sounded like you did anyways)

  27. umbrarchist
    August 17, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Switch to AROS, the Amiga clone in public domain. Get off this operating system treadmill.

  28. jrasulev
    August 17, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    Just try to keep everything important in D drive in right catalogue and keep only shortcuts on desktop

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 12:55 am

      That CAN work, although even with just shortcuts on the desktop, it can still get quite cluttered though.

      Thanks for reading!

  29. Ryszard Grodzicki
    August 17, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Fences is really a great program. Groups created by it are also scrollable so you may put loads of icons on a tiny space.
    I just still need to do the most irritating thing - go through all the files on a desktop.

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 12:54 am

      Ah yes... that is the most time consuming part of it. But it's well worth it in the end!

      Good luck and thanks for reading!

  30. General Melchett
    August 16, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    Well, I downloaded Fences, and after an argument with the computer over .NET 2.0 (I still don't understand what .NET actually is/does), I eventually got it up and running - and it's brilliant!

    I can find things again!

    I made a few "fences" for different types of file, and there they are - right where I left them, instead of having Windows mysteriously re-arrange them every time I look away.

    And it looks pretty too! I'm well and truly chuffed. Thanks Aaron!

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 12:53 am

      That is great "General!" :P I love hearing about how articles have helped people. I also like that you shared your experience.

      Thanks for reading and for your support. It's readers like you who make writing so enjoyable! (Although, in honesty, all readers make writing enjoyable.)

  31. Truefire_
    August 16, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    I just right-click and hide icons. No icons here.

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 12:51 am

      I see, so you're all about the quick fix method ;) It might work for a while I suppose. Haha

      Thanks for reading!

  32. GrrGrrr
    August 16, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    agree, my desktop is way too cluttered.

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 12:50 am

      Sooo, what are you going to do about it?! :P

  33. Kevin Liske
    August 16, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    I never got the whole save everything to your desktop concept. I've got the two dozen program shortcuts that I use every day or at least weekly, a handful of web page links that I want to explore further, and that's it. If I want a file, I either start the program or start it from the directory it's in. Apparently I'm the resident oddball here and no one I work with understands how or why I keep my desktop uncluttered.

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 12:49 am

      That's great Kevin!

      Seems similar to what Carie mentioned in the comments above. She only uses her desktop to display what she's currently working on. Then once it's accomplished, it's moved to an appropriate folder. I really like that method of workflow.

      Thanks for reading, Kevin, as well as sharing your own techniques!

  34. Timothy Liem
    August 16, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    never get those kind of problem since I switched to Ubuntu. btw, that Fence thingy looks alot like Gnome Shell.

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 12:47 am

      Interesting to know Timothy! I'm honestly not very educated in Linux... although I need/want to be.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts on this. Perhaps some users will find it helpful.

  35. Tug Ricks
    August 16, 2012 at 10:58 am

    RocketDock is definitely the way to go. Where'd you get the icons? They look snazzy.

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 12:46 am

      They do don't they :P I love them. I used to change from theme to theme for the longest time until I found these. They're my favorite hands down and I've used them for years.

      What I love is that there's also a community who contributes icons in the same style, which the creator has now included in the pack.

      They're called Lucid icons and are available for download on DeviantArt:

      Thanks for reading man!

  36. lance burn
    August 16, 2012 at 9:25 am

    Im going to try this

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 12:43 am

      Great! Let me know what you think!

  37. Ahmed Khalil
    August 16, 2012 at 8:09 am

    it is very useful for me thanks for that

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 12:43 am

      Not a problem! Thanks for reading and for your support.

  38. Luis Tovar
    August 16, 2012 at 6:27 am

    Thanks. Other interesting application is xlaunchpad (free)

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 12:42 am

      Thanks for sharing Luis. That is a cool app! The one thing that leads me away from it (as far as had I known of it and included it in the article or not) is that it's not the primary way to clean up a desktop, but rather change how it looks.

      Some people like this, and others don't, but I wouldn't say this would be for everyone.

      Nonetheless, a great recommendation and an interesting app that I will be checking out.

      Thanks for reading and sharing this!

  39. Alan Wade
    August 16, 2012 at 6:08 am

    I dont have a single icon on my desktop. I dont see the point of having a really good background and then covering it with Icons. My Start Menu is just nine pinned apps and programs with all the icons customized with the help of IconPackager. The desktop is skinned with WindowsBlinds and I like to change it all about once a week. Some of the often used shortcuts to apps and folders are added to my right click context menu so nothing pinned in the taskbar either.

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 12:40 am


      I'm the exact same way! I like a clean workspace. It looks nice and makes me actually want to get things done.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

  40. vineedcool
    August 16, 2012 at 5:14 am

    this is one nyc informative article,,,,whenever u leave plenty of icons on desktop it slows down ur pc,,,all this will help u speed up ur pc a bit :)

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 12:39 am

      It does some, but honestly, I don't think it has as much to do with your computer's speed as it does YOUR OWN speed in finding what you need and getting things done.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

  41. carie
    August 16, 2012 at 4:27 am

    I use nexus, rather than rocketdock, simply because it has some cool extras like a command for ejecting the dvd tray.
    When I buy a new laptop, the first thing I do is uninstall more or less everything, except required windows apps and drivers, then defrag, then install only what I need and use.
    Once that is done, I sort out my start menus, moving all the windows stuff into a folder and grouping apps into folders so at the end I have about 6 folders, for example all graphic editing apps are placed in a folder called "image manipulation".
    Then I use my desktop for work in progress. Once something is done, I move it to a designated folder in documents. This way I keep everything neat and tidy and am able to find things at a later date.
    Another powerful tool, if used properly is the library links in windows vista and 7. Although not a desktop thing, they work superbly for managing and sorting all those files that used to be stored on your desktop!

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 12:38 am

      Hey everyone... do what Carie does! This is great advice! Everything from being proactive with removing preinstalled bloatware in a new computer to using the desktop as your work station and nothing else — that is what I like the best and what I do as well.

      I know that I like my desktop completely clean, so what I'll do is if there is something that needs my attention, I'll move it to the desktop so that it gets taken care of.

      Awesome advice! Thanks for reading and sharing these awesome tips Carie!

  42. barney
    August 16, 2012 at 3:55 am

    I created a folder on my desktop named _desktop.
    I then installed it as a task bar dropdown: right click taskbar, select toolbars, select new toolbars, navigate to desktop, select _desktop (or whatever name was given).
    I now have only three (3) icons on my desktop: Computer, _desktop, Recycle Bin.
    Every other shortcut for installed software gets moved to _desktop.
    _desktop also has subfolders for organizing, but the only thing in it is shortcuts. It's like a mini Start Menu, but quicker to use.

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 12:34 am

      That seems like a great system Barney! Thanks for reading and sharing your tactics in managing your desktop!

  43. Anomaly
    August 16, 2012 at 3:47 am

    You don't need Rocket Dock when you have the Windows 7 Task Bar. It's better than any dock IMO.

    If it's the Stack Docklet you want try Stand Alone Stack. It does the same thing as the Stack Docklet, in fact it's devolved from it, but you don't need Rocket Dock or any other dock to use it. You make a stack with it and pin it to the Task Bar. Works very well.

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 12:33 am

      Hey thanks for pointing this out. I certainly agree that the Windows 7 is excellent. I was in love the minute I started using it (although I'm not sure if it feels the same way :P)

      As far as not needing RocketDock, you're right and I am all about running as few programs as necessary. I will look into StandaloneStack. Perhaps I'll research it and cover it in an article if I feel compelled.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

  44. Vipul Jain
    August 16, 2012 at 3:46 am

    i clicked on the topic to just comment that
    "Make a folder and dump everything in it"
    woah, i'm gonna check some of this out :D

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 12:29 am

      You're welcome Vipul! Glad that it may have changed your mind about some things. I'd love to hear how it's helped you, if you'd like to provide any future feedback.

      Thanks for reading!

      • Vipul Jain
        August 26, 2012 at 6:41 am

        i actually was an avid user of rocketdock till i had Win XP.
        But at that time it didnt have options to make folders within the dock items.
        After i got Win7 i didnt feel the need of it sometime back, but now with more & more MBA documents i really needed a good looking solution.
        So now i am back with it and using it instead of my usual make a folder & dump method :p

        • Aaron Couch
          August 26, 2012 at 8:00 pm

          Sounds like a really good plan! Glad it is working for you.

  45. Ron Morrow
    August 16, 2012 at 3:29 am

    I end up just moving all the icons/files I store on my desktop every 6 months or so. Now I have a dozen "desktop cleanup" folders on my storage drive lol. Definitely not the best solution but great for the lazy.

    Gonna check out RocketDock, thanks!

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 12:27 am

      Oh yeah, that's like stuffing everything in drawer after drawer in your house... which unfortunately I do, as well as others I'm sure.

      RocketDock combined with Stackdocklet is awesome! In fact, it wouldn't be the same without Stackdocklet in my opinion.

      Let me know if it helps. Thanks for reading Ron!

  46. Steve Yancharas Jr.
    August 16, 2012 at 3:23 am

    I have 115 items on my desktop, think I'm gonig to check out Fences. Thanks!

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 12:25 am

      Woo! That is crazy! Feel free to check back and let me know what your thoughts are on it (if it helps or not, any drawbacks that you don't like about it, what you DO like about it, etc.)

      Thanks for reading Steve!

  47. Steve
    August 16, 2012 at 2:28 am

    Thanks, Aaron.
    Precisely the type of info I'd been half-thinking about...
    Much appreciated.

    • Aaron Couch
      August 26, 2012 at 12:24 am

      You're welcome Steve! Glad it helped. Thanks for reading and for your support!