How to Customize the Desktop: Add or Remove Standard Shortcuts
When you first open Windows 7 or Windows 8, you find on your Desktop only the Recycle Bin shortcut. Depending on your computing habits, you might want to get rid of it or add more useful shortcuts such as: Computer, Network, Control Panel or your User's Files. This tutorial will show how it is done in both operating system.
The Default Desktop Icons
Windows 7 & Windows 8 have a predefined a set of default icons which can be enabled on your Desktop. These are:
- Computer - allows you to browse your computer and the other computers on your network: partitions, folders, files, libraries, etc.
- Network - shows the list of computers on your network and the folders and devices they share.
- Recycle Bin - the place where deleted files are temporarily stored, until it is emptied.
- Control Panel - allows you to quickly access all the important system settings.
- User's Files - provides quick access to personal folders and libraries such as Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, etc.
How to Enable or Disable the Default Desktop Icons
The changes are done from the Desktop Icon Settings window, which can be opened in several ways. One method is to right click or press and hold the empty area on your Desktop and select Personalize.
This opens the Personalization panel. Next, click or tap the Change desktop icons link found on the left.
Another way to open it, is to go to the Control Panel. In the Appearance and Personalization section, you will find the "Change the theme" shortcut. Click or tap on it. Then, click or tap the Change desktop icons link.
In the Desktop Icon Settings window, you have a list with the default icons you can enable or disable. The icons that have the check box selected near their name are active and displayed on the Desktop. The others are not. Simply check the shortcuts you want to have on the Desktop and uncheck the ones you don't.
How to Remove the Default Desktop Icons
Except disabling the shortcuts you don’t want on the Desktop, there is another way to remove them.
Select the shortcut you want removed and press the Delete key on your keyboard. Windows 7 will ask you to confirm the deletion process. Click Yes and you are done.
Windows 8 will not ask for the confirmation. It will just delete the shortcut.
This procedure works for all shortcuts except the Recycle Bin.
As you can see from this guide. enabling or disabling the standard Desktop shortcuts is an easy task and should not cause problems to anyone. For more articles about customizing shortcuts, check the recommendations below.