Monday, June 7, 2010

Removing all icons from the desktop & Customizing the icon drop shadow effect

Removing all icons from the desktop
No matter how hard I try, I always end up with a lot of junk on my desktop. From programs
that I download and documents that I was too lazy to save elsewhere as well as new program
links that seem to pop up from nowhere, there is never an end to the war that I fight with my
desktop to keep it clutter-free. I like to be able to see my desktop wallpaper and not have my
view of the wallpaper blocked by useless icons. One great way to win the never-ending desktop
war is to just disable the desktop’s ability to show the icons and instead place the most common
desktop icons, such as My Computer and the Recycle Bin, on the Quick Launch bar.
Disabling the icons on the desktop is actually a very simple task. Most people never know
about this feature, because it is placed where you would really never expect it.To get started,
just right-click Desktop. Then expand Arrange Icons By and select Show Desktop Icons to
unselect it. After a few seconds, the icons will disappear.
Don’t worry, the icons and folder on your desktop were not deleted. If you ever want to turn
the icons back on, just repeat the preceding steps once more.
This is a very simple way to quickly clean up the desktop. It’s sort of like sweeping the dirt
under a rug. The desktop clutter is still there, but you just can’t see it.
Customizing the icon drop shadow effect
One cool new feature of Windows XP is the Use Drop Shadows for Icon Labels on the
Desktop. This new effect really makes the icons stand out from your wallpaper and makes
them much easier to read when you are using a background, such as a photo, that has both
light and dark spots. Unfortunately, depending on your computer’s hardware configuration, you
may or may not be able to experience this cool new effect. If you have a newer computer that
has an average graphics card, you will have no problem using this feature. But if you have an
older graphics card, then you may be out of luck.
The Use Drop Shadows for Icon Labels on the Desktop can be turned on or off. Depending
on the wallpaper that you are using, you may like or dislike the feature. I really like the new
effect, but if you like having a clean and crisp interface, I recommend disabling the effect.
Follow these steps to turn the feature on or off:
1. Click the Start button, and select Run.
2. Key in sysdm.cpl and click OK to launch system properties.
3. Click the Advanced tab, and then click the Settings button under the Performance
section.
4. While on the Visual Effects tab, scroll down to the bottom of the box.
5. Locate Use Drop Shadows for Icon Labels on the Desktop, as shown in Figure 3-1, and
check or uncheck the value, depending on what you would like to do.
6. Click OK to save your changes.
7. Click OK once more to close the System Properties window.

If you enable the effect by checking the box and the effect still does not show up after you
reboot your computer, this is a sign that your computer does not support the feature.

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