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Whatever platform you’re on, your desktop can reveal a lot about how you’re using your computer. 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.
Do you recognize a system? James claims there is one. In his defense, he has a good point:
“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.
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. 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.
“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.”
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.”
Like most of you who know how to use a decent file management tool like Finder — 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, 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.
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.
Gavin likes seeing a different background every few hours 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.
The U.K.’s most prolific technology journalist mainly uses shortcuts from his vertical Taskbar. 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.
“Tidy Desk[top], Tidy Mind.”
James appreciates a clean and organized Windows desktop. 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.
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.
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:
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.
Joe uses the Taskbar to store shortcuts for programs 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.
“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.
To still have access to whatever make its way onto the desktop, she keeps a Taskbar toolbar 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.
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!