I like my desktop to be clutter-free when it opens so all I have is 4”x4” image of the coat of arms of the East Riding of Yorkshire on a plain light grey background, no icons at all just the taskbar at the bottom, all very nice and soothing with no distractions.
What I have done is as follows (I’m afraid I cannot take credit for this – when my friendly computer expert set up my first computer, this is what he did so I just replicate the process each time I need to reformat)
I create two new folders on the (C) drive numbered 1 and 2. I drag or create short-cuts to the hard drive, My Computer, Control Panel, My Documents, Recycle Bin, Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, Word, Connect to Broadband MailWasher , PaintShopPro, AutoRoute, CCleaner, My Mah Jongg game etc. onto the desktop. I then right-click the taskbar and select/toolbars/new toolbar. Navigate to new folder number 1 click ok, unlock the taskbar and drag the new toolbar to the left side of the screen, make it like a one inch vertical strip and release it. Right-click the new toolbar and make sure ‘always on top’ and ‘auto-hide’ are ticked. Repeat the process for new folder number 2 only this time drag it to right-hand side of the screen. I then drag all my short-cuts onto the new toolbars from the desktop (temporarily uncheck the auto-hide whilst you do this) Right-click the desktop, untick the ‘show desktop icons’ options and lo and behold all you should now have is a clear desktop with or without a ’tasteful’ image of your choice and no clutter. When you need to access any of the aforementioned programs just flick the cursor to either the left or the right, the toolbar – like a curtain should appear with your icons, come away from the side and they will be hidden again.