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Enable or Disable the Desktop Cleanup Wizard

Software often adds a shortcut icon to your Windows desktop during installation. And, of course, you may manually add desktop shortcuts to various files or programs yourself. Over time, however, the desktop can become rather cluttered as more and more shortcuts are added. Many of these shortcut icons may have become unnecessary because you no longer use the program or file or because you access it via other means such as the Start Menu or Quick Launch bar.

In Windows XP, the Desktop Cleanup Wizard provides an easy and intuitive way to get rid of unwanted desktop icons. When enabled, the Desktop Cleanup Wizard will regularly check your desktop for shortcuts that have not been used in the last 60 days. If such shortcuts are found, it will display a list of desktop items with unused shortcuts already checked. You can uncheck or check shortcuts as desired. Continuing through the Wizard interface allows you to remove selected shortcuts and store them in an automatically created desktop folder called "Unused Desktop Shortcuts". If you change your mind, you can always retrieve the unwanted shortcuts from this folder.

Desktop Cleanup Wizard Choose Items

Desktop Cleanup Wizard Finish

However, if you'd rather handle desktop cleaning yourself, you can disable the Desktop Cleanup Wizard so that it will no longer check for unused shortcuts or automatically run every 60 days.

Here's how to enable or disable the Desktop Cleanup Wizard:
  1. Right-click an open area of the desktop and select "Properties" to open the "Display Properties" window.

  2. Click the "Desktop" tab and then click "Customize Desktop" to open the "Desktop Items" window.

  3. Check or uncheck "Run Desktop Wizard every 60 days" to enable or disable the Wizard.

  4. Click "OK" to exit the "Desktop Items" window and "OK" again to exit "Display Properties".

Desktop Items Window

If you want to run the Desktop Cleanup Wizard immediately, proceed to the "Desktop Items" window as outlined above and click the "Clean Desktop Now" button.

To restore a shortcut from "Unused Desktop Shortcuts", simple open the folder and drag the desired icon on to the desktop. If it opens maximized, you will need to click the folder's "Restore Down" button (the button beside the folder's "Close" icon) so that a part of the desktop is visible.

Note that The Desktop Cleanup Wizard only removes a desktop shortcut to a program or file and will not affect the program or file itself.

Brett M.Christensen, 2008 All Rights Reserved