The Downsides Of Storing Files On Your Desktop

The Downsides Of Storing Files On Your Desktop

Your desktop is a convenient place to store a few files, but it isn’t always the best. PC World explains why.

This is a pretty common practice — if you don’t do it, you probably know someone who does — but PC World says it has definite downsides:

Most important of all, files on the desktop are not as well protected as files in libraries like My Documents and My Pictures. For instance, if you use System Restore to return Windows to its state as of last Wednesday, the feature will remove any files added to the desktop since that date. The files in My Documents will be left untouched.

What’s more, many file-based backup programs don’t, by default, back up the desktop. You can change that, of course, somewhere in your backup program’s settings.

And then, of course, there’s the most obvious: It almost always ends up a disorganised mess. If you’re on a Mac, it can even slow things down.

Most of these things are easily fixable, of course. You can add your desktop to the Documents library and include it in your backup program’s list of folders to back up.

The Pros and Cons (Mostly Cons) of Saving Files to the Desktop [PC World]


  • I always tell my friends not to store anything other than shortcuts or unimportant small files (like notepad.exe temporary files and such), mainly because it slows down their boot time if they have large files there. You have to load those large files everytime you boot up explorer.exe (when your PC boots mainly), and that just slows things down.

    They always don’t believe me when I say I have a sub-30 second boot time on a 4 year old machine still running the OS off a 5400 RPM drive. The reason is my desktop is empty (other then temporary .txt files) and I only launch about 3-4 startup programs and services (Curse, Rainmeter, WizMouse are my main ones). It benefits you more than just being organised, which of course is also a plus.

    • Files stored on your desktop are loaded into memory at boot????
      I have no idea how you reach that conclusion…As far as I’ve ever known (happy to be corrected but this appears absurd) desktop is just another folder like any other except that you see the content on well, ‘The desktop’.
      Ever tried opening task manager and testing your theory?
      I just did for fun.
      Windows Explorer memory footprint before 1.6GB file dropped onto the Desktop: 14MB
      Windows Explorer memory footprint after 1.6GB file dropped onto the Desktop and Rebooted: 14MB
      Total memory usage before and after – again exactly the same. Why? the file doesn’t get loaded until you double click on it, because the desktop is just another folder.

      • It’s possible he is referring to the icon cache which used to be relevant in older machines with low memory, but these days it’s really not an issue.

      • No, it works similar to ‘media finder’ in Android.

        The file thumbnail and all information from the right-click>properties>details section needs to be cached since the desktop is the active window. This means CPU overhead, massive HDD overhead (searching for each file, and within files), which leads to the slowdown.

  • If you’re using a roaming desktop.. the more files you have on your desktop the longer it will take your computer to log in.. I’ve seen cases of a 10 min login time simply because it has had to copy very large files across the LAN. Desktop files.. very bad idea.

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