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How To Remove Unused Desktop Icons And Shortcuts

The Windows Desktop often becomes cluttered with shortcuts to programs that may not often use. Whenever you install an application, a shortcut is placed into the start menu folder, and often upon your Desktop as well. Although these shortcuts do not take up much disk space, they can reduce system resources in over cluttered Desktop scenarios. Therefore, this technical brief will show you how to quickly remove any unused Desktop icons and introduce you to the Desktop Cleanup Wizard utility in Windows XP.

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For Windows XP

  1. Removing icons per the below Windows 98 And Windows ME steps also applies to Windows XP.
  2. In addition, Windows XP has a new built-in feature called the Desktop Cleanup Wizard.
  3. To access it, go into your Control Panel by first clicking on the Start Button.
  4. Then click on the Control Panel icon located in the right column of the Start Menu.
  5. If your Start Menu is set to the Classic View, then begin by clicking on the Start Button.
  6. Then click on Settings, then click on the Control Panel icon to open up the Control Panel.
  7. Now double click on the Display icon to open up the Display Properties window.
  8. Then click on the Desktop tab located at the top of the Display Properties window.
  9. Now click on the Customize Desktop button located at the bottom of the screen.
  10. Under the Desktop Cleanup section at the bottom of the screen, click on Clean Desktop now.
  11. When the Cleanup Wizard opens click on the next button to display a list of unused desktop icons.
  12. Select the Desktop icons you want to remove by placing check marks in the boxes next to them.
  13. Then click on the Next button to review the icons that are about to be removed from the Desktop.
  14. If satisfied, then click on the Finish button to remove all your selected Desktop icons.
  15. Then close any open Properties windows to return back to your windows session.

You Can Also Restore Your XP Desktop Icons By Reading: Restoring Windows XP Desktop Icons

For Windows 98 And Windows Millennium

  1. To remove any unwanted individual Desktop Icon, you can simply drag the icon to the Recycle Bin.
  2. You can also right click directly on the Icon and then select Delete from the menu that appears.
  3. You can select many icons with your mouse and use either step above to remove multiple icons.
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