Your desktop is the first sight you see when you switch your computer on, and there’s nothing worse than flicking that computer on and finding yourself staring at a cluttered mess. A tidy looking desktop is just as satisfying as a tidy house, and a lot easier to maintain.
Image: Alex Cranz/Gizmodo
So getting to a more soothing computer lifestyle by following these series of tips we’ve put together. Create your own super-minimal desktop for your Windows or Mac machine, and making sure it stays that way.
Tweak your OS settings
PersonalisationTaskbarAppearance and PersonalisationPersonalisationChange desktop icons
Windows used to have a super handy desktop clean up tool to rearrange the clutter of lots of files, but it’s no longer with us. Windows 10 does now support virtual desktops though. So you can at least keep your apps and windows well spaced out across multiple desktops — switching to the necessary — and more cluttered ones — with a click of the Task View icon just to the right of the taskbar search box.
Unfortunately shortcuts and the taskbar stretch across all the desktops you create, so it’s got limited use as far as minimising your desktop clutter goes.
Again, the virtual desktop facility in macOS lets you space out applications and windows but not shortcuts and files stored on the desktop. It’s called Mission Control and you can bring it up by tapping F3.
One trick that does work on both Windows and macOS is adding an extra display — you can then clear all the clutter off to a secondary monitor and keep the desktop on your original screen looking nice and fresh.
Find the perfect wallpaper
excellent places to find wallpaperSimple Desktops
Vladstudio is another site that focuses mainly on simple wallpapers rather than complex backdrops, and the high resolutions of the images mean they all look superb even on the newest screens. You can probably find a few more less obvious places to have a browse too — this minimal wallpaper subreddit is worth a browse, for instance.
Image: Twelve Walls
like DeviantArtour friends at Lifehacker
If you want to go as blank as possible, you can, of course, set your OS wallpaper as a single, solid colour. On Windows, right-click on a blank part of the desktop and choose Personalise then pick Solid colour from the Background drop-down; on macOS, just click the Solid Colours option under Desktop & Screen Saver in System Preferences.
Keep the desktop sacred
One solution is to create a subfolder directly off the desktop for all this digital flotsam and jetsam. All those temporary files you might need one day are only an extra double-click away, but the only blemish on your desktop is a single folder, and you can probably clear out this folder on a regular basis and not notice anything important has gone missing.
As for shortcuts, just delete them and see which ones you actually really rely on. There are so many better ways to launch apps and files now — Spotlight, Cortana, the Start menu, the dock — that you don’t really need to have rows and rows of shortcuts taking up room on your desktop and obscuring your beautiful minimalist wallpaper.
Shift all your shortcuts into a temporary folder just in case, and the next time you need a file or application, try searching for it instead. If all goes well, you can delete that temporary folder after a while, and enjoy your new minimalist way of working.