The icons are replicating

In the absence of a better explanation, such as this one:

Cleaning up my desktop … will probably take months, because for months I’ve been recklessly downloading .pdfs, .jpegs and .tiffs onto it and leaving them there. It must be putting a terrible strain on my computer. What a jerk! Turns out on this issue of OSX you can riffle through documents very quickly, blow them up with a mouse click, check them out, and trash those you don’t want with another click.

Is this a Mac thing, or are Windows (or, for that matter, U**x) users equally disposed to piling things up on their desktops? I don’t look at other people’s machines if I can help it, but I’ve counted sixty-six icons sitting on my desktop at home, though this total inevitably includes the sort of stuff that Windows expects you to keep at hand. Worse, I have folders under the desktop, mostly for temporary storage of pdfs and jpegs and stuff like that there. (I see tiffs mostly at work.)

And this box doesn’t seem to be running slower as a result of all this accumulated junk, except for those times when Windows decides it needs to refresh the screen and all those icons have to be repainted. (Before you ask: I have a GeForce 6600 video card with 256 MB of RAM, running at 1152 x 864.) I suspect any recent Mac will take this sort of thing in stride.


  1. sya »

    3 August 2009 · 10:22 am

    I’m pretty anal about keeping my desktop clear. The only icons I have up there are the recycle bin, a shortcut to Firefox, and a folder mysteriously labeled “Lab”.

  2. amba »

    3 August 2009 · 11:20 am

    Yeah, it’s handling it amazingly well. I must have hundreds of icons on my desktop (it’s ceased to display them). The only sign of strain the Mac shows is a tendency to overheat, which it would do anyway, and an occasional slowness to respond to a click in Firefox, which probably has more to do with the related bad habit of having too many tabs open.

    When I get it cleaned up this time, I’m starting new habits, more like your previous commenter’s. I used to do that, then got swamped by the pace of work, fact checking. I didn’t know how I could quickly delete a .pdf I’d downloaded and found I didn’t need, or was through with. Now I see how to do that, so I can do it on the spot. It will make a big difference. I’m a dork!

  3. McGehee »

    3 August 2009 · 11:22 am

    I keep a very small number of icons on my desktop — eleven at present. Yet for most of them I normally open that program or window by other means.

    For a long time I wouldn’t have icons on the desktop if I could easily find the same thing from the Start Menu or the quick-launch buttons on the taskbar. But the Start Menu has gotten progressively more complicated so…

  4. McGehee »

    3 August 2009 · 11:24 am

    …and for temporary storage I use a folder under My Documents instead of the desktop. That’s probably a residual habit from when my wife and I normally both used the same computer most of the time.

    Her desktop, BTW, is very crowded.

  5. Closet Atheist »

    3 August 2009 · 12:05 pm

    I keep a clear-ish desktop because I like looking at my Wallpaper pic. If I had a plain desktop, I’d probably have mine cluttered too.

  6. CGHill »

    3 August 2009 · 12:23 pm

    I have a gizmo that swaps out the wallpaper every 19 minutes or so. The icons don’t actually obstruct the view very much. (And two of them are strategically placed to obscure a couple of wonky pixels on the LCD.)

  7. Donna B. »

    3 August 2009 · 9:03 pm

    I have folders in My Documents labeled “DesktopClean” followed by a date. I have similar physical folders in my physical filing cabinet. My “organizational skills” are limited only by the square footage of flat surfaces and the physics of just how high you can pile stuff.

  8. CGHill »

    3 August 2009 · 9:12 pm

    I am duly impressed. (And, casting a glance around my own desk, I am now thoroughly despondent.)

RSS feed for comments on this post