Clean up your computer desktop

By David Dagley | October 10, 2012 | Last updated on September 21, 2023
2 min read

When I’m hard at work, you can’t see the top of my desk.

The same thing probably happens to your computer desktop.

As your workday progresses, more programs and files are opened: your Customer Relationship Management system, your back office system, Outlook, your web browser, and a couple of spreadsheets.

Before long, you can’t see your desktop, and you need to open another program.

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So the desktop-clearing ritual begins: you minimize open windows to the taskbar (that strip across the bottom of your screen).

Notice the space on the taskbar between the start button and the open programs. This space contains icons for other programs you can launch with one click, and without having to minimize any windows.

Some icons have been there since the first time you turned on your computer. Others strategically inserted themselves during the installation process of their respective programs. The good news? You can customize your taskbar to quickly launch your favourite programs.

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They don’t have to be programs either. I have a folder I access frequently. I can’t change its location, and following the path from My Computer takes 16 clicks. Since I placed a shortcut on my taskbar I can open it with one click.

To customize your taskbar, use the drag and drop method:

  • To use an existing desktop shortcut – drag the shortcut icon to the taskbar.
  • To use a program from the start menu – drag the program icon to the taskbar.
  • To use a file or folder – drag the file or folder to the taskbar.
  • To change the order of the taskbar shortcuts – drag the shortcuts to a different position.
  • To remove a taskbar shortcut – right-click the shortcut and select delete.
  • To rename a taskbar shortcut – right-click the shortcut and select rename. The names display when you rest the cursor on the shortcuts.
  • To give a folder a unique look before dragging it to the taskbar – right-click the folder, select properties, and under the customize tab, select change icon.

Your important destinations are now one click away, no matter how many windows are blocking your desktop.

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David Dagley

David Dagley , CFP®, is a software developer and Adobe javascript expert, with 15 years of financial planning experience. He is the owner and president of Forms Doctor Inc., a company specializing in workflow automation solutions and financial planning calculators for investment dealers, financial advisors, and investment firms.