Desktop tips and tricks

The short time it takes you to organize your desktop can save you time and help make your computing experience simpler and more pleasant.

Move program shortcuts to the Quick Launch toolbar

Many people keep program‌ shortcuts on their desktop, but open windows can block your view of the desktop. The Quick Launch toolbar solves this problem because it is on the taskbar, which is visible even when you have windows open. For example, if you’ve added a web browser shortcut to the Quick Launch toolbar and you are working in a document, you don't have to minimize the document window to open the web browser. Instead, you can click the web browser icon on the Quick Launch toolbar.

Picture of the Quick Launch toolbar on the taskbar
Quick Launch toolbar

For more information, see Add or remove the Quick Launch toolbar or Taskbar: recommended links.

Organize files and programs on the Start menu

On the Start menu, you can find shortcuts for programs you've used recently. And, if you want to keep a program shortcut in one place so you can always find it, you can pin it to the Start menu.

Picture of the Start menu
Start menu

To pin a program icon to the Start menu

If you use a program regularly, you can pin its program icon to the Start menu. Pinned program icons appear on the left side of the Start menu, above the horizontal line.

  • Right-click the program icon you want to pin to the Start menu, and then click Pin to Start Menu.

You can find files, documents, folders, and other items you've been working with recently in Recent Items on the Start menu.

To find recent items on the Start menu

  1. Click the Start button Picture of the Start button.
  2. Point to Recent Items. Files you've worked with recently should appear in the list.

For more information, see Add or remove Recent Items on the Start menu and Customize the Start menu.

Don't store files on the desktop

To improve your computer's performance and find files more easily, it's best to store files in the Documents folder rather than on the desktop.

To access files from your desktop, create a desktop shortcut instead. For more information, see Create or delete a shortcut.

Picture of the Windows desktop, without any files or shortcuts on it
A clean Windows desktop can help improve your computer's performance