Disil stuffs

How to declutter your computer desktop

Declutter = remove unnecessary items from (an untidy or overcrowded place)

I’m quite irritated with some people who (apparently) like ignore the fact that their taskbar being full and cluttered. Not a hate though, just a bit annoyed. Then an idea popped up in my head: maybe they (actually) didn’t know how to manage their taskbar & other things on desktop. So… this post is created. Without further ado, here are some tips to manage your desktop (and start menu & taskbar too) on Windows 10 for newbies.

Declutter start menu

The default Windows 10 start menu is a mess (a lot of mess). Most of the time you did not want them (I mean who wants to see Microsoft 365 being promoted right when you open the start menu?). Take a look at “unmodified Windows 10 start menu”:

an image of Windows 10 desktop with start menu opened
default W10 start menu as of May 2020 update (Credit to Microsoft)

Thankfully, you can unpin all “tiles” to make your start menu look cleaner. Just right click on each tiles, and press unpin from start. Its a tedious process, but once you’ve done it, it’s refreshing.

There are some useful tiles though, especially those who provide “live information” right at the start menu. With a little bit of effort, you can make the start menu even better than the “simple”. Take a look at my start menu:

start menu with blue accent and properly organized live tiles
I really like how MS make live tiles on Weather, Mail, and Calendar app. You don't need to go to each app to see “what's happening today”, you can see right in your start menu. Be careful though, if you pin too many live tiles at the start menu, it will lag!

Removing useless widgets on taskbar

By default, search bar (on taskbar) takes a lot of spaces. This is not a problem, unless you’re like to open multiple apps at once (which is completely normal). Here’s screenshot of my taskbar without any de-cluttering attempt:

taskbar with a search bar that is too big and useless weather widget

Somewhere in early 2021, MS decided to bring a new “broken” weather info on taskbar. Not only does it make your taskbar look weird, its content is also weird. You will find a difference for weather information in Weather apps to the taskbar and to live tiles on Start menu, it's so confusing. I’m sure everyone wants to deactivate them. To do that, right click on taskbar > News and Interest > Turn off.

Also, if you hate the “bulky” search box, you can make it fit perfectly with other icon by right clicking on taskbar > Search > Show search icon. Last, most people don’t use Cortana, so I think it is better to hide her from the taskbar. Right click on taskbar > uncheck Show Cortana button.

Make File Explorer behave more “normal”

Ever since Windows 8 launched, there has been a new “ribbon” in File Explorer. Nobody hates it though, as it is quite useful in many cases. But there is also a new slightly-annoying feature, which is Quick Access on the sidebar. After some time, it will make the sidebar full of random files you’ve accessed before. To disable this ‘history’ feature, right click on Quick Access item on sidebar of explorer, then click options. In this menu, uncheck “Show recently used files in Quick Access” and “Show frequently used folders in Quick Access”. Log off and sign in to your Windows.

folder options opened with highlight on show recently used files in Quick Access entries
Folder Options in File Explorer

If you don’t like the big ribbon on Windows 10, just double click on the tab and it is gone. Beware that in Windows 11 you will be greeted by a new menu like ribbon (not as big as they used to be though), and it is more useful overall.

That’s it for today’s tutorial, I hope this will help you. Thanks for reading, and see you in another post!

#windows #tutorial

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