Recently, I was told that the desktop is great for some things and storing
videos isn’t one of them. “It can mess things up” is the reason I was given.
I’ve stored videos less than 32 MB and then eventually put a folder to collect
those. The folder is now up to 3.8 GB. This isn’t a shortcut, but an actual
file. I can’t say I’ve noticed any real issues – yet, but why wait? Please, I’m
curious: is this true or false?
In this excerpt from
Answercast #79, I look at some of the ramifications of storing large files (or any files) on your desktop.
Putting files on your desktop
Ultimately, the bottom line is false. But before we go running down that path… it’s a slightly slippery one.
What we have to differentiate between are technical issues, which are actually very few, and personal issues which are probably more prevalent.
A clean computer desktop
My preference is to keep an incredibly clean desktop. My thinking is that the desktop is usually hidden and what I want to access is typically more quickly accessed if I put it on a menu or a sub-menu in the Start menu. So, I actually am an advocate for very clean desktop.
I typically have only two icons on the desktop and I rarely even use those.
The alternate, of course, is that lots of people have these incredibly cluttered desktops with all sorts of things on them. And you know what? Ultimately, that’s OK. It doesn’t really cause a technical problem per se. What it does do of course is it makes things difficult to find, at least in my experience – and it does actually cause things to get backed up or affected in ways that you’re not really expecting. But again it’s usually very, very benign.
Desktop is a folder
Ultimately, the thing that most people don’t realize is that the desktop is really nothing more than a folder itself.
It’s a folder that has this unique property that whatever you put in the folder displays on the screen.
So, if you drop a shortcut on your desktop, then that shortcut is going to show up on your screen. By “dropping it on your desktop,” I mean you drop it in the desktop folder if you find it with Windows Explorer.
Having lots of files on the desktop? Like I said… it’s personal preference. I find it very cluttered; I find it difficult to use. But the number of files, the types of files, the sizes of files doesn’t really matter.
Organizing your computer
The way that things were more or less intended to work is the you would put things (like your documents) in a folder called My Documents.
You’d put your videos in a folder called My Videos perhaps within My Documents (and that’s obviously not being displayed on your screen, on your desktop.)
You could put shortcuts on your desktop – which are very small files that act as references to the files located elsewhere on your machine. That also keeps the desktop itself fairly lightweight and displaying more quickly.
But ultimately it’s really a matter of personal preference.
Cluttered desktops may be slow
The only technical thing that I think of, for people who have a lot of things on their desktop, is literally the amount of time it takes to display the desktop and display all those icons.
In the worst-case scenario, the operating system has to go through and read every single file that has an icon on the desktop to determine what the icon should be. If you’ve got lots and lots of icons, lots and lots of things on your desktop, that can take some time.
But ultimately, the short answer is no, it shouldn’t be an issue. It’s a matter of personal preference. It’s not the way that I would do it – but it’s up to you.
(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)
Next from Answercast 79- Why are pictures I email arriving blurrier than what I sent?