OS X Tip: Keep Desktop items on your desktop

  • January 27th, 2007

Desktop Screenshot - Items to keep

Contrary to what so many others would believe is proper ‘desktop’ organization which implies the the use of Quicksilver and lack of icon “clutter”, I often find it essential to maintain a small collection of frequently accessed folders (aliases) on my desktop. Unfortunately, due to hastiness when selecting temporary items for mass deletion (CMD+Delete followed with a CMD+Shift+Delete), I would often select folders which I did not want to delete. It was only later when I would look to access the aliases that I would realize my mistake(s).

The following are a few simple tips to ensure that desktop files and folders stay exactly where you want them to be [withstanding those accidental moments when trashing multiple files without inspecting filenames].

  • Differentiate between items with noticeable icons – To ensure that pertinent items are prominently displayed when compared to other files / folders, swap icons. Icon changes are as simple as getting info on an item (CMD+I) and copying and pasting the new icon on to the current (top left corner of the info pane).
  • "Get Info" and lock files / folders – Select files or folders that you want to keep your desktop and press CMD+I (Get Info). About halfway down the Info pane is an option under General titled Locked. Tick the Locked box. Doing so will restrict any changes from being made to the file or folder (including accidental deletion).
  • Reduce clutter with temporary folders – Much of the desktop clutter that I find myself dealing with pertain to miscellaneous internet downloads. These very files are often temporary and soon find their way into the trash. Assign a specific "Download" folder for Safari or Firefox to dump files differentiating disposable files from the rest. Check out Hazel if you’re interested in automating the process of maintaining a clutter free Desktop.

Are you a minimalist Desktop clutter-less user who relies solely on quick launch applications and utilities like Quicksilver or Spotlight? Or, do you prefer a little Desktop clutter to get you through the day?