15 Desktops That Reveal How We Work at MakeUseOf

Tina Sieber 20-04-2017

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 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:


“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 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 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 (And How to Set Them Up) A Mac Smart Folder lets you group together similar files from all over your machine. Here's how to use them and some great examples to get started with. 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 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 Your Windows Taskbar Should Be Vertical, Here's Why The default position of the Windows Taskbar is at the bottom of your screen. But a vertical Taskbar might be better for you. Let's find out why. 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 Do you look at your Windows desktop and wonder how to clean it up? Here are some decluttering tips that can make you productive. 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 The Windows desktop isn't meant to be a folder for your files. Here are some of the better options to store your files. 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 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 Want to know how to make Windows 10 look better? Use these simple customizations to make Windows 10 your own. Read More  or how to make Windows 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!

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

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  1. Ramraj
    April 22, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    Bertels desktop naturally will not allow desktop icons or shortcuts

    • Bertel King, Jr.
      May 1, 2017 at 2:31 pm

      That's part of why I love it!

      Though if I wanted to enable desktop icons, it isn't hard to do.

  2. ZentixZaneic
    April 21, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    My desktop is pretty much like Joe Keeley's. Four icons on the taskbar (Browser is Vivaldi, Windows Explorer, Discord 'cause I game a lot, and Minecraft). Only Windows things on the right side. Then, on my actual desktop, nothing but Recycle Bin.

  3. spyjoshx
    April 20, 2017 at 8:33 pm

    Really? All but one of you use linux? I find that a bit odd because of all your great articles on linux. Love the wallpaper Bertel, but I prefer blue myself... I used GNOME a while, but I always find myself going back to Xfce.

    • Tina Sieber
      April 20, 2017 at 8:46 pm

      I see two Linux desktops in the article. The rest is Mac or Windows.

      We have more authors using Linux (and Windows, Mac, and ChomeOS), but these are the ones who dared to share their desktop screenshot.

      • Christian Cawley
        April 20, 2017 at 9:03 pm

        For some barmy reason, I only shared my Windows desktop, when really I should have shared my Ubuntu MATE desktop as well (instead!). Simply, I had happened to boot into Windows that day.

        My MATE desktop is similarly modest, however, with games and apps grouped in the same way, and mostly in the same areas.

      • spyjoshx
        April 20, 2017 at 11:28 pm

        The way it was written made it sound like one of them was just inspiration... Nice to know there are more people out there who love linux as much as I do!

    • Bertel King, Jr.
      May 1, 2017 at 2:36 pm

      Thanks! XFCE is great. Every now and then I try it out to create an even more minimalist desktop, but I end up tinkering around so often that I end up back on GNOME.

  4. Paul Parkinson
    April 20, 2017 at 7:24 pm

    My desktop was an utter UTTER disaster until I found this wallpaper. It forces me to keep Apps organised and the crap I download is organised on the fly. Stuff that isn't on a shelf needs to be sorted.

    [Broken Link Removed]

    • Tina Sieber
      April 23, 2017 at 2:24 pm

      Interesting wallpaper concept. Thank you for sharing, Paul!

    • MK
      June 26, 2017 at 2:38 pm

      The link is broken.

      • Paul Parkinson
        June 26, 2017 at 2:48 pm

        Try this..

        [Broken Link Removed]