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- This Week's Free Computer Tip -

128 - Organizing Your Desktop For Efficiency

A little time spent in organizing your computer to where you can find things easily, goes a long way towards making your computing experience more rewarding. It's like the principle of, "A clean car always runs better." You can operate a disorganized computer, but you're having to think too hard to do it. Why not take a moment to put things in place. I think you will find that your perception of the difficulty of using the computer will change for the better. This week's tip offers suggestions about a good place to start the organization rolling, your desktop.

What should you know about your desktop?
I see many desktops where icons fill half the screen and seem to just be dropped helter-skelter, all over the place. The only reason you have managed to function that way this long is that you memorized where, in all this mess, the three icons you need are found! Okay, I'm not trying to beat you up about this. I just want you to know how easy it is to bring a little order to your computer.

There are four important things you should know about desktop icons.
  1. You can rename them to whatever you want.
  2. You can delete the ones you don't use.
  3. You can have Windows alphabetize them for you.
  4. You can have Windows line them up in perfect order for you.

Renaming -
Icons can be named and renamed to whatever you want them to say. Let's say you have icons named "Microsoft Word", "Microsoft Excel", etc. You already know that Word and Excel are Microsoft products, so saying "Microsoft" with each icon is only advertising, and it that just takes up space. Plus, maybe you would prefer the icons would sort under "W" and "E", rather then "M". The same goes for PowerPoint, Email, FrontPage, etc. I am suggesting that you rename and alphabetize whatever icons you choose to keep on your desktop, but you get to decide what works best for you.

Here's how you do it -

  1. Point to the icon and RIGHT-click.
  2. Choose Rename.
  3. Change it to say (in this case) "Word".
  4. Repeat steps 1 through 3 until all the icons have been renamed in this way.

Deleting unwanted icons -
Next, let's delete the junk icons and those we don't use frequently. Some useless icons have been on your desktop from day-one and you've been afraid to remove them. Don't be. If you're reading this, you are already on the Internet and you don't need any links that help you sign up for Internet access. Same goes for links that help you choose Microsoft's MSN internet provider, or any similar things you've done fine without all this time. These junk icons just clutter up your desktop. I delete all of them. A good rule of thumb is, if you can't tell me what the icon is for, you probably don't need it.

Then, there are likely to be a few icons which were installed when application programs were installed on your computer. These are valid BUT, if you've never used Picture Smart or, if you only used it once a year ago, why bother having its icon messing up your desktop? You can always run the program from the Programs menu, if you ever need to.

To delete an icon from your desktop, do this -
  1. Point to the icon and RIGHT-click.
  2. Select Delete.
  3. Answer the warning message, "Yes".

Great, you've made a big improvement already!

Now, have Windows arrange the icons for you -
Let's take the final step and sort the remaining icons.

  1. Point to any blank space on the desktop (space where there are no icons) and RIGHT-click.
  2. Point to "Arrange Icons by..." until a menu opens.
  3. Click on "Auto Arrange".
  4. Check your result and see if it sorted by name.
  5. If yours didn't do that, simply open the menu again and select "Name"

That's it. Your desktop is ever so much neater now and you can save all those brain cells for worrying about more important things. I will have further tips coming up about organizing other areas of your computer, so stay tuned.

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