Four ways to sweep away desktop clutter in Windows 7

It seems like only yesterday we explored ways to get things done more quickly despite desktop clutter. But there are those (are you reading this, Mom?) who say it's easier to avoid clutter in the first place.

Windows 7 gives me the tools I always wanted to fight clutter—as in:

  • Summoning courage. Because Search is so fast and easy to use, I'm less tempted to place something on my desktop "so I can find it fast later." Honestly, have you tried Search? Key a few characters and it more-or-less reads your mind. I no longer hesitate to save something in a folder (even if it's just My Documents). With Search, I'll be able to retrieve it in seconds, without needing to remember where I put it.

    Search results 
    After typing "invoice" in the search box, the term is highlighted in the search results.

  • Remembering that less is more. With lots of documents and applications open, I used to try to deftly position them around the desktop so I could find each one. Now I simply minimize windows, since Aero Peek makes it so easy for me to find them again.

    I simply point to a program icon on the Taskbar, then click on the thumbnail for the document I want—and there it is, right in front of me.

    Peek lets you peer past all your open windows to reveal a buried window

  • Snappy de-cluttering. A graphic designer pal once told me that perfectly aligned edges boost both visual and mental clarity. So I make a habit of using Snap to position a pair of windows side-by-side on the desktop whenever it makes sense. Clutter (on the desktop and in my brain) disappears.
    Snap is a quick (and fun) new way to resize open windows, simply by dragging them to the edges of your screen.
  • Instantaneous clean sweeps. A quick point at the Show Desktop button (opposite the Start Button on the Taskbar) hides all open windows—very handy when I need to get my bearings or find a desktop icon. And Aero Shake is useful for minimizing everything but my current passion.

Wow, if I'd had tools like these for keeping my bedroom neat, I might have been grounded less often. But don't worry Mom, I still love you best. I'm pretty sure Windows will never come close to your cheesecake recipe.

By the way, this is my first contribution to the Productivity Hub, and... hey, this was fun! I look forward to dropping in regularly in the coming weeks with more tips on using Windows 7 and Internet Explorer.

Jeff Gordon
Product Manager, U.S. Windows Client

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