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How to Organize Your Desktop

Updated on December 17, 2007

An electronic desktop on your computer is just like a physical one; if you don't keep it organized, it can get quite cluttered. Here are a few steps to keep your desktop in top form.


  1. Create a folder hierarchy. Group your files into folders. Label these by year and make subfolders for each set of tasks. Make sure that your naming conventions (the names that you use) are clear and concise.

  2. Color code your files. Use colors according to relative importance. Use a bold color for "urgent" items, a less bright color for less urgent tasks.

  3. Move your folders to a hard drive directory. Placing your folders into the hard drive (such as "My Documents") will provide more space on your desktop and help it to appear far less cluttered. If you like, you can then create desktop shortcuts pointing to current assignments, if your computer program has this facility.

  4. Choose attractive wallpaper. If you've got a background worth looking at, you're more likely to keep the desktop free of file and folder clutter. Choose a favorite photo or picture, or choose rotating images.

  5. Clean periodically. Take a look at the files that you have accumulated on the desktop. This could be something to do when you're bored or tired, needing a break from harder work. Or, it could be something that you do regularly, according to a schedule, once per month or week, for instance.

  6. Use the Desktop Cleanup Wizard. In the Windows program, you can use this automatic desktop cleanup tool. Go to "Start", "Control Panel". In the "Desktop" tab, click "Customize Desktop". Then choose "Clean Desktop Now". You can also choose to run this tool periodically. The wizard moves unused items from the desktop to an archive folder. It is the digital equivalent of scooping all that paper into a box.

  7. Put shortcuts somewhere else. Use the menus, launch bars, or an add-on to launch frequently-used programs, rather than cluttering up your desktop with shortcuts.


  • Organize files in the way that makes the most sense to you. If you work by years, organize by years. If you work by projects, organize by projects. If you work by categories, organize by categories.

  • If you frequently misplace files within your computer or you would like to be able to search the text inside files easily, get a desktop search utility. Google, Yahoo, and Copernic all offer good ones. Check the internet using your favorite search engine.


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