HomeTechnologyNewsIt's time to stop using desktop icons

It’s time to stop using desktop icons

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Modern computers carry a lot of baggage from the past, and desktop icons are perhaps one of the most unsightly holdovers from the early days of graphical user interfaces (GUIs). If you still live with them, it’s time to call it quits.

Desk clutter helps no one

Whether on macOS, Windows, or another graphical operating system, the desktop is a large open space that houses files and shortcuts to other resources on your device. Over time, those desktop shortcuts and files can quickly add up to fill your entire screen.

However, even if you only have a desktop with a moderate number of icons, you’re still creating an inefficient space to find anything. Searching for icons on a desktop, especially a high-resolution modern desktop, is a hassle. The desktop is a great space to work with apps, but as a place to access apps and store files, it leaves a lot to be desired.

Docks, taskbars and instant search are superior

Desktops were meant to give users quick access to files and applications without digging through the computer’s file systems, but modern operating systems now have several features that do a better job.

The docks (like in macOS) and the taskbar (like in Windows) allow you to pin apps to them. Sure, they’re both much smaller than a full desktop, but how many apps do you use on a daily basis? The vast majority of us use a handful of apps for work, and when it comes to gaming and entertainment, we use centralized apps like Steam or media management apps like Apple Music.

As for getting quick access to files, it’s better to store them in designated places. Operating systems have default storage locations for downloads, documents, media, files, etc. The same goes for apps that use these default locations or your custom locations. There’s little need to keep files on the desktop if you access them through an application.

To put the final nail in the coffin, modern computers have fast SSDs and index the location of all files on the system. Whether you’re using the macOS Spotlight search or the Windows Start menu search feature, you won’t even have enough time to type your entire search before the results are ready. Considering that the desktop has a finite physical space to put icons, using these instant search features is objectively better and faster.

Brighten up your day with a pretty wallpaper instead

It’s important to have a pleasant work (or play) environment, and your desktop offers the perfect space to customize your computer’s interface by changing the background. Get a nice piece of art that you enjoy, a photograph that makes you happy, or anything that you would like to see. Use the slideshow feature to rotate your wallpapers, turning your desktop into a digital photo frame.

Tidying up your desktop on Windows is easy and on macOS too, so there’s nothing stopping you from bringing a squeegee to that desk. With no icons in the way, your desktop will look sleek and minimalist, and you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of high-resolution images and equally high-resolution displays that are now commonplace.

If you absolutely want to use your desktop space for something functional rather than pure decoration, then widgets are a much more useful use of that space. In fact, both Windows and macOS support widgets.

Whether you use the built-in widget functionality or one of many third-party widget solutions, this is a much more useful way to use your desktop than a cluttered grid of icons.

Its usefulness depends on your choice of widgets, but you can add anything from current stock prices to the weather. Things you might want to know at a glance instead of shortcuts to Solitaire and your word processor!

RELATED: How screen savers literally save your screen

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