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by JB Burke

Q. I'm running Windows 7 and my screen has become so full of icons I have trouble finding what I need. What can I do to clean this up?

A. A screen cluttered with lots of icons is unproductive. There are ways you can clean this up.

First, periodically Windows will come up with a statement to the effect "you have unused icons on your desktop". This refers to icons that you have not clicked for some time. You might want to take this opportunity to remove those. Note – removing a shortcut to a program from your desktop does not uninstall the program. It just removes that shortcut from the screen. You will get a message that says "Are you sure you want to move this shortcut to the recycle bin?" If it doesn't say "shortcut" then it's a file, and you may want to keep it. If you never use the program that shortcut points to, uninstall it as well.

Next you can combine multiple related icons into folders. For instance if you have multiple icons for related applications, or system utilities, files, photos or just programs you don't use that often, but want to keep nearby, you can combine them easily. Right click on an empty area of the desktop and click on New and then Folder. Give it a name, for instance "Photography Apps" (without the quotes). Then drag each related app into that folder. Simply double click the folder name and it will open with all your icons ready to go. When you open the folder, it may show your apps as a list. Go to the upper right of the window and look for a little down arrow. Click it and click on Large Icons.

For general program shortcuts that you just don't want to lose track of, you could just create a folder called "Desktop Apps" or "Other". And move any icons you don't often use into that. With these steps you should be able to clear off your desktop and make your system a bit easier to navigate.

Published: Courier 8/1/15 - Page 11A