Super Tidy Desktop

  HarryTheDudd 12:58 05 Jul 2006

I think I've finally managed to get the desktop settings the way that works best - after much trial and error. 1st of all, the only permanent icon on my desktop is the recycle bin. I would like it not to be there and on the quick launch bar instead, but even if it is put there, I've not managed to work out how to get rid of the desktop icon.
All of my folders shortcuts are on the quick launch bar. I've unlocked and moved the taskbar to the left side of the screen and expanded it to 3x the normal width (19" screen so still plenty of space). This then shows the full day, date and time in the system tray without having to glide the mouse over it. In the system tray settings I've selected to hide inactive icons that I never use eg Quicktime, then hide when inactive ones I hardly use eg Volume and always show the ones I use frequently eg Virus scanning.
I've downloaded loads of free icons and made it really obvious to me what each folder might be. This makes it easier to quickly find a Quick Launch button without having to glide the mouse over them to find the folder I want to open. Then I've restricted the size of the Quick Launch bar shown on the taskbar to 2 rows of 4 buttons. After this I lock the taskbar so it looks neat, and any other folders in the Quick Launch only display on a menu when I click the double chevrons bar below the Quick Launch. These folders are all my less commonly used ones.
Because the Taskbar is now vertical, when a program or file is open, the tabs on the taskbar are closer together, so making it easier to flick from window to window.
To setup shortcuts for all my programs I just right click on the program from the programs part of the start menu and select 'pin to start menu'. It's easy to move them into groups by dragging and dropping. I just counted all programs pinned to my start menu and there are 34! To keep the programs side of the start menu when new programs are installed, right click on any program link and select 'sort by name'. Also I've set the start menu to only open up links when I select by left clicking the link, rather than opening up when the mouse glides over it. This makes navigating the start menu easier by stopping unnecessary opening of links when moving the cursor. I've selected the bronze windows cursor, it's easier to see and it's outline is better defined that the default.
Continuing with the start menu, I've put all the route folders there as a link but the control panel as a menu. This makes it easier to find the application to use and doesn't leave a control panel window after I've finished with the settings.
After all this is in place the taskbar and start menu become the main hub to access programs and folders. The desktop is completely empty, so it can be used like an in tray. All downloaded files go there until I've decided where to put it. This makes it easy for me to pickup and put down different types of work I'm doing so I don't feel I'll lose my place if I get bored of one task and start something more fun. Windows is now doing all my organising for me - it's what it's good at. I'm left to forget about organising stuff and concentrate on thinking - it's what I'm good at!
Also it's a good idea to print off a copy of keyboard shortcuts from the help menu. Keep trying new ones until they are second nature - you're mouse will get very fat and lazy!

  VoG II 15:22 05 Jul 2006
  Brumas 22:30 05 Jul 2006

Depends how many icons you have or need to have on display
I also like my desktop to be clutter-free when it opens so all I have is a 4”x4” image of the heraldic coat of arms of the East Riding of Yorkshire on a plain light grey background, no icons showing 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 for the hard drive, My Computer, Control Panel, My Documents, Recycle Bin, Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, Word, MailWasher , PaintShopPro, AutoRoute, CCleaner, My Mah Jongg game etc. 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, move the cursor away from the side and they will be hidden again.


  ade.h 23:23 05 Jul 2006

The tidiest desktop that I have ever seen was the last time that explorer.exe crashed! (Nothing but wallpaper).

  SG Atlantis® 08:15 06 Jul 2006

thanks, I just did that for my D drive. It's neat.

  €dstowe 08:37 06 Jul 2006

The desktop on my machines doesn't get much of a look-in so I'm not much bothered what it looks like.

If I see the desktops or screensavers visible on the screens of my employees for more than a few minutes when they're sitting at them, it shows that they aren't doing what I'm paying them to do.

  VoG II 09:03 06 Jul 2006

What if they are thinking?

  SG Atlantis® 09:17 06 Jul 2006

"screens of my employees for more than a few minutes......."

you don't employ teletubbies, do you?

  €dstowe 11:11 06 Jul 2006

"What if they are thinking?"

We have a quite nice area away from computers specifically to allow a relaxed atmosphere for thinking and ideas development.

"you don't employ teletubbies, do you?"

Occasionally, I wish I did.

  Belatucadrus 13:32 06 Jul 2006

Or you could untick "Arange icons by / Show Desktop icons" Then add a "Desktop" Toolbar to the Taskbar. That way all icons are hidden until you want them.

  HarryTheDudd 23:01 06 Jul 2006

"you don't employ teletubbies, do you?"

"Occasionally, I wish I did."

You don't seem to respect, value or even like your staff. If people aren't up to your standards then that's partly down to your lack of skill and imagination as a Boss.

A simple but effective management philosophy that's served me well over the years:

"The carrot works better than the stick"

Why are you so intent on controlling every aspect of the work environment? Giving people restrictions on where they should think is pointless. It'd be OK if they had a choice, but not all people are the same and different people find different surroundings more helpful to think than others. Sometimes one needs isolation to concentrate fully on a problem that requires deep thought.

If you wish to try a different approach, a series of books called the Minute Manager are very useful. Their insights are profound, simple and funny. There's no teletubbies, but they do mention monkeys quite a lot.

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