In which I admit to being a desktop icon minimalist

Jeanne and I periodically talk about computer desktops and out-of-control icons – she has a family member whose entire desktop is covered with icons, and neither of us can figure out how that person can find anything.

I’ve always been sort of a desktop icon minimalist, as you can tell from this January 2007 post. (I actually don’t have the laptop in that post anymore; it was passed on to Jeanne’s icon junkie family member!)

Here’s my current desktop with its single icon (click picture to embiggen). Yup, still a Rurouni Kenshin wallpaper; this computer is also named Kenshin. Usually the bottom bar is hidden, too, but I found the artist and song title amusing enough to include in the screen shot. 🙂

Is your computer desktop cluttered or sparse? What do you use for wallpaper?

Tangent: I freshened up my blog’s sidebar over the weekend. The sidebar now has a tag cloud… and maybe I’ll actually get tags fixed on posts so that someone other than me can see them!

“Why aren’t you throwing my green mouse for me, Mom? I brought it back.” -Mayhem

51 thoughts on “In which I admit to being a desktop icon minimalist”

  1. mine is sparse and hubbo’s looks like his entire software cloned itself into little me’s. You can’t even see the picture of his wallpaper or maybe that IS his wallpaper.

  2. I have a row of icons on the left side and a row on the right side, but I keep them somewhat organized on my desktop. You’ll be surprised to learn that I use a picture of Clover as my wallpaper 🙂
    .-= Julie´s last blog ..Friday with Clover =-.

  3. Hi Chris!

    I’m loving the Mac because it has it’s task bar across the bottom with all main app’s icons nicely displayed.

    At work on the PC – I am a minimalist.

    Loving your desktop!


  4. The other thing a mac does super well for me is the finder…um “my computer” on a peecee…I think. No matter how much I throw onto the desktop (it’s my TEMP folder, really) I can always list it alphabetically and file it away/toss it later. That being said, my desktop picture of Calvin & Hobbes is currently almost completely obscured.

    But I have 4 or 5 icons (that I can’t make go away as every single computer has them) on my PC at work :).
    .-= Mary´s last blog ..Does It Count as I Actually Cooked, Twice? =-.

  5. I hate to have anything on my desktop. I love my quick click icons though so I downloaded a program called rocket dock which takes all of your icons and puts them at the top of your screen and then hides them until your mouse touches the very tippy top of the screen, then it magically comes down so you can see your icons and when you’re done it goes away again. So in essence I have not a single thing tarnishing my awesome wallpaper that changes every few days!

  6. My desktop is moderately cluttered, but I rarely actually look at it. It’s usually hidden by whatever programs I’m running. I use it like Mary–it’s a temp folder for most things, with a very few folders that just live there, usually viewed through the Finder. It gets cleaned up right before I give talks (kinda like how my apartment gets cleanest right before I have guests).

    And my desktop picture is always a relatively low-contrast photo of mine; right now, it’s some orange handspun. (The work computers I use tend to have National Geographic photos as backgrounds.)
    .-= naomi´s last blog ..things and stuff =-.

  7. Smith has a tone of icons on our computer which means I can never find what I need. Only work icons are on my work computer and my wallpaper is one of my mountain pictures. If only I could get by the number of icons you do!!
    Mayhem, how many times does mom need to throw that mouse? Give her a break once in awhile.
    .-= margene´s last blog ..Saturday Sky =-.

  8. I can never understand people who have a bazillion icons on their desktop. It gives me a headache! I have more than one, but they’re all lined up nice and neat, like pins.

  9. I have a stickie fetish. I use a macbook, and there’s an application called stickies that allows you to put virtual post-it notes on the screen. So I write myself notes, lists, reminders and so on. Right now there are so many stickies that they overlap and almost cover the picture of my son that is the wallpaper. Sometimes I hide the stickies but after a day or two the screen just seems lonely…and I call them back.
    .-= wren boudreau´s last blog ..Choosing your own m/m story… =-.

  10. You have inspired me to clean up my desktop. There are now only seven icons there, in two rows one on each side of the screen, and two of them I cannot get rid of.

    Cannot stand screens covered with icons. Perhaps it is a way to feel important?
    .-= kmkat´s last blog ..Random oddities. =-.

  11. Sorry if people are getting weird errors when they leave comments! I’m submitting a support ticket on it. Your comment will probably go through just fine anyway, even if it doesn’t look like it did.

  12. I have a fairly sparse screen, but not like yours. I have 12 icons for things I use pretty much every day, and a calender in the lower right corner. But I use TurboLaunch, so I have a whole layout of grouped buttons at the bottom of my screen, but it rolls down when I’m not using it.

    For my wallpaper, I use Webshots, which changes my wallpaper every day from a set of images I’ve collected. Mostly landscapes/nature/art/astronomy.
    .-= Cheryl S.´s last blog ..Impulse Buy =-.

  13. I’m not a fan of shortcuts for anything other than those things I use all the time…and for big projects that are taking up all my time. Today’s wallpaper is a picture from a road trip through Indiana I change it every month or so.

  14. @Stephanie: so essentially you’re using an application that mimics the Apple Dock. 😀

    I LIKE to have a minimal desktop, maybe 5-7 icons max. However, when I am afraid of losing a download or a webpage I’ll save it to the desktop so I don’t forget it. So currently… my icon count is closer to 15.

    I love that Candy Cane Guy and his friends have their own tags. Not so much that knitting and socks and yarn don’t even show up AT ALL.
    .-= Nicole´s last blog ..Goals Update & Bloggiesta Recap =-.

  15. I have 2 hard drive icons, 4 folders (one labeled “stuff I don’t know what it is” which consists of things M has put on my desktop) and my dock. My dock is on the right, which upsets everyone but me. My wallpaper are photos I’ve taken of flowers, which change randomly every 15 min.

    I’m sure you’ve only thrown the green mouse 17,000 times in the past day, and she brought it almost back to you–just far enough away that you’d have to get up–so I don’t see why you are being so mean. 😉
    .-= Brenda´s last blog ..FO: Glace Vest =-.

  16. Because I have a mac, things are pretty icon minimalist anyway. I have the desktop (harddrive) icon and that is it. My current wallpaper is a random flower that is really pretty but was part of the options. My wallpaper on my old mac was a wallpaper from Questionable Content.
    .-= Seanna Lea´s last blog ..knit, knit, knit =-.

  17. I am a neat freak in every aspect of my life except my desktop…

    It is filled with all kind of stuff – and I doubt it will ever get better…

    Love your desktop – I have the guys from Jonjou Romantica on mine – Love them…

    I know you told me you worked on your sidebar – thanks for pointing it out…

    Labels would be nice – I have load of back history to catch up on..

    .-= Erotic Horizon´s last blog ..The Sunday Salon – Busy Busy Bee =-.

  18. I have several icons on my desktop. My wallpaper is a shot of snow and bare trees from Birds and Blooms magazine.

  19. I am very minimalist too. Not as much as you are, but I have 5 icons at work and I think I have 3 at home. I can’t stand clutter…well, I can’t stand computer clutter. Laundry clutter…well that is a whole different story. 🙂


  20. Hey! Did you Photoshop that mouse green?

    I’d like to be a minimalist, but I’m afraid to discard anything in case I can’t find it again.

  21. Kenshin! I <3 him.

    I'm a minimalist too. My desktop is a historic piccie of one of my fave towns here in WA. Before that it was Totoro. I'm nothing if not eclectic. 😀
    .-= Kris´s last blog ..random funny =-.

  22. My desktop is midway… icons on the left side, mostly for programs. I use the explore window (folders view please) to navigate the several different drives I have to go through, all of which have about 10 top level folders and about 80 bazillion lower folders.

    Hubble telescope or fractal images on my desktop. Spacey and weird (like the mind vortex that I sometimes get sucked into), but not too distracting that I can’t see the icons.
    .-= lisa´s last blog ..yes there has been some knitting =-.

  23. I actually know someone who has so many icons on their desktop that there’s not enough room for them. My desktop is about half cluttered. I have some most used icons on the sides. Right now it’s a little too cluttered for me. My desktop picture is the NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day. Today’s picture is an astronaut and a satellite above earth.
    .-= Sydney´s last blog ..Ah, that’s better =-.

  24. I’ve got four icons – I don’t like them cluttering my pretty pictures. My wallpaper is different photographs of some of my favorite places in the U.P. I took them two summers ago when we went up there for a vacation. I plan to take more this summer. 🙂

  25. Cool wall paper. I have a lot of icons on my desktop as it is where downloads automatically go but I do have a clear out every so often when I remember!
    .-= mrspao´s last blog ..Snow Phoebe =-.

  26. I’m definitely a minimalist. Stuff belongs in folders, not on the desktop, if there is any hope of me ever remembering where the heck I put it. 🙂 My current wallpaper is a picture of our 4 rabbits with Santa, but I usually use one of the Wallpaper of the Week pictures from, which is a website featuring pictures and info from my hometown.

  27. I’m rather minimalist, though I use my desktop as a workspace, so my working folders are always there and I use it for dumping downloads so I won’t forget to organize them. : ) I like some of the nature wallpaper that came with Windows 7 so I’m using them for now.

  28. minimalist for sure.
    and I have a lovely impressionist art piece for my wallpaper. and barely anything on the desktop.

    love that photo of Mayhem. Those eyes just steal your heart.

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