How to Clean Your Desktop
Mac Tips

How to Clean Your Desktop

These five easy steps will help you organize your desktop. Start by roughly dividing all the clutter into three groups: to keep, to delete, and to replace. Then follow our step-by-step guide for each of the three file groups to make your desktop a tidy workplace.

Step 1. Sort Files

Your desktop is a mess and you don’t know what to start with. First, try to sort your desktop files by the following attributes:

  • Name

  • Kind

  • Date Modified

  • Date Created

  • Size

  • Tags

If you sort by Kind, files of the same format will be put into visually similar groups of icons, making the further sorting easier. On your desktop, use a Control + click combination and select Sort By — Kind. The system will sort the desktop files by applying a grid, so you’ll see rows of neatly organized icons and feel better. However, it’s just the beginning.

Step 2. Remove “Obvious Clutter”

After sorting the files you can easily identify clutter: installers and aliases.

Aliases are shortcuts for applications or files. Removing aliases doesn’t affect the original files, so feel free to put them into Trash. Alternatively, you can move the shortcuts of frequently used apps to your Dock panel. This will keep apps you often use at hand without clogging your desktop.

The dmg and pkg installers are usually used only while installing an app. After that, all installer files should be removed. Since you’ve already sorted files by type, it will be easy to identify and get rid of installer files.

Step 3. Preview Files

The next step is to separate important files from unneeded ones. Instead of opening every file you can save time by previewing a file’s contents.

Select the file you need and press the Space key on your keyboard: this will launch the preview window. If you realize you don’t need a file anymore, move it to the Trash right away. Leave only those files you need and proceed to sorting them out.

Step 4. Remove Duplicate Files from Desktop

After all the clutter is gone, remove duplicates of your personal files. You can do this manually using the files preview or leave this task for MacKeeper to safely remove duplicates in a few clicks.

Open the MacKeeper app and select Duplicates Finder. By default, MacKeeper scans the entire Mac storage for duplicates. To choose a specific folder, click the Change Folder button at the bottom and choose Desktop. If MacKeeper finds any duplicates, you can either manually check them for removal or click the Dups button at the bottom. The second option will automatically check older file versions and leave the newest ones.

Step 5. Organize Files Into Folders

For remaining files, the best option will be to place them into the appropriate folders of your Macintosh HD. But if you need to frequently access these files, you may create folders and move your files there. Press the Command + Shift + N keys or use a  Control + click combination on your desktop and choose New Folder. You can also select the files first, click them with Control pressed, and choose New Folder With Selection. A new folder containing selected files will be automatically created.

After this step your desktop will look tidier with your files neatly organized in the appropriate places. This is a general guide for completely messed up desktops. If you feel some steps are not applicable to your case, you may skip them. Even if your desktop seems well kept, you may still find some ideas useful.

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