Is your computer a little sluggish? Check your desktop…

Here’s a quick tip about just one way you can improve your computer’s performance through working a little smarter when it comes to what you keep on your Microsoft Windows XP or Windows 7 desktops..

If you (like most) have a habit of saving things you frequently use to your desktop rather than to a folder inside My Documents, or even a folder you’ve created yourself on your C: drive, then you’re doing yourself a disservice when it comes to performance or when you need to use System Restore to reverse a problem you might have.

Most computer users love to save things to their desktops because it’s so convenient and makes files and folders readily available with a minimum of mouse clicks required. But most also don’t know the pitfalls such a habit.

Here’s three reasons why it’s not a good idea to keep Folders, Documents, PDF files, Excel Files and the like on your desktop.

1. Windows considers the desktop part of it’s core operating system, but how does that affect you? As an example in layman’s terms, let’s say you’ve saved an important document you’re working on in the morning, then in the afternoon or the next day, a virus or Trojan makes it’s way past your defences. You call for IT support and get told to do a “System Restore” (an excellent utility built into all versions of Windows XP and Windows 7).  You restore your computer to an earlier date and avoid a disaster, but guess what? That important document you were working on is no longer there – unless you had the presence of mind to copy it to a different location before initiating System Restore. Worse if you have created a folder on your desktop and have lots of documents in there.

Sure you can get the document or folder back again because System Restore is totally reversible, but you also get back the problem that it just fixed for you as well!

2. Perhaps even more importantly is the impact that keeping lots of files and folders on your desktop has on your computer’s performance. Why? Because when Windows boots up, it loads a ton of files and things to do with system operation into memory – as the desktop is part of the Windows system, everything you have there gets read and loaded into memory as well – unnecessarily. The result, longer boot up times, more system resources being used than necessary and slower performance.

3. Backups – I’m willing to bet that most computer users who do take the time to backup their important documents, forget to include the items they’ve saved to their desktops in their backup routines. Hard disk crash, no problems.. You backup right? Well you would be wrong if you haven’t included all the items you’ve saved on your desktop in your backup routines and setting yourself up for a major disappointment.

So here’s an extremely simple way you can easily avoid problems and improve your computer’s overall performance for zero cost – and just a little bit of effort on your part.

Rather than create and / or save files / folders to your desktop, put them into a folder created in My Documents instead. After all, that’s what it was designed for. Then if you want quick access to that file or folder from your desktop, create a shortcut to it on your desktop instead. Creating shortcuts on your desktop is an extremely easy process.  Here’s how..

“Right click” on the item you want a shortcut to on your desktop and select “Send To > Desktop (create shortcut)” – That’s it. That is all there is to it.  You can then re-name the shortcut on your desktop to whatever you like.

Now if you have to use System Restore to get out of trouble, then you only need to re-create the shortcut and you’re off and away again. PLUS, shortcuts on your desktop have nowhere near the impact on your computer’s performance that physical files and folders do.

So have a think about re-arranging your desktop and where you keep files and folder you create or save. It could save you time and grief when disaster strikes and more importantly, will contribute to keeping your computer running faster and booting up quicker.

This tip was brought to you as a totally FREE value added service of being an Andrew’s Computer Help Zone client.

Till the next time..

Andrew

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