Save Time by Organizing Your Computer Desktop

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This post might seem very elementary, but really, there are many, many out there who don’t have a good organizational system on their computers and they spend time just trying to find what they want.

I have done many private workshops and often when I see their desktop, I realize right away where some of their frustration is coming from: the bazillion shortcuts on the desktop for various action files, pictures, documents, etc. So, I want to spend a little time showing you what works for me, in hopes that it will help others.

Note: This tutorial shows Windows 7, but Vista is very similar. Windows XP users, it’s been so long since I used that operating system, I really can’t give suggestions.

Mac users – a post on organizing your desktop will come next week. I didn’t want to mix the two here.

What is a “shortcut?” A desktop shortcut is simply a direct route to a specific program, folder or file that you put on your desktop and when you click it, it shoots you straight to what you want.

When installing actions in PSE, I advice making a shortcut on your desktop for the Photo Effects folder. How to do that is in the screen print below (right click on the folder you wish to create a shortcut for).

Once you have the shortcuts on your desktop, you can move them wherever you like on the screen. As you can see below, I group mine by subject/topic.

  • All editing programs are together
  • Important folders are together
  • Tools or programs not used everyday, but handy to have
  • Online programs
  • Internet browsers (I explain why I have all of them in the video)
  • Program/file safety programs
  • My kids math programs
  • Game my kids play online

What if you have 200 shortcuts on your desktop and you want to get rid of them? Highlight them (click near one, then drag your mouse to highlight all you want selected) and then right click and choose delete. This will only delete the shortcuts, not the actual program/folders – as long as they are shortcuts. If the folder really does only exist on your desktop then you don’t want to delete it, you want to move it.

For example, my PSE and PS Catch folder lives on the desktop, so I would MOVE it rather than delete it.

If you have lots of folder residing on the desktop, highlight them as I said above, then right click and choose SEND TO and select Documents (for documents) or Pictures (for pictures).

See that strip along the bottom? That is your task bar. “Pin” programs that you use on a very frequent basis down there so you can easily get to them, especially while running/working in a different program (because your task bar always shows).  How to pin to the task bar is shown below.


About Amanda

I am passionate about helping others learn how to use their DSLR cameras and editing programs. More information about me can be found at my About page, or by visiting my personal blog.


  1. Thanks Amanda. I always learn something I didn’t know!

  2. great post Amanda!
    My Dell desktop came with something I love, and we have installed it on other computers in the house, it’s and object dock to keep programs organized and handy on your desktop

  3. Nice post, Amanda. I liked your suggestions. I also use a free program called, Fences, to help organize my desktop.

  4. Thanks for the tips & tour! (P.S. I love that your son can be heard in the background – my house is never quiet either – and you’re so smooth about it!)

  5. Doing this as we “speak”. Thanks for this I have been having a hard time finding my stuff on my desktop and thinking I needed to do this – just the push I needed.

  6. My desktop doesnt allow me to move my shortcuts around. They all just pop back to the left side.

  7. Susan Byrd says:


    I love your tutorials. They are very informative. There was a program that you mentioned that was $20 for restoring files if you accidentally delete them. Can you tell me the name of this software? I need to buy it. Thanks.

  8. Thanks, Amanda. Seems obvious now, but I never thought to group like with like and to keep the groups all separated (my short cuts have always been in long rows).
    We did have our shortcuts pseudo organized…meaning the files or folders we most used were in the last column, easy access. But every few months *something* would happen and we’d find all our shortcuts reorganized. Any clue what happens or what we might unknowingly be doing?

  9. Some wonderful advice… as a computer technician I see this all too often!

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