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How to Clean Up a Messy Desktop in Windows 8

When icons cover your desktop like a year's worth of sticky notes, Windows 8 offers several ways to clean up the mess. If you simply want your desktop clutter to look more organized — lined up straight or in organized piles, for example — then do this: Right-click the desktop and choose Sort By from the pop-up menu.\

The submenu offers these choices:

  • Name: Arrange all icons in alphabetical order using neat, vertical rows.

  • Size: Arrange icons according to their size, placing the smallest ones at the top of the rows.

  • Item Type: This lines up icons by their type. All photographs are grouped together, for example, as are all links to websites.

  • Date Modified: Arrange icons by the date you or your PC last changed them.

Right-clicking the desktop and choosing the View option lets you change the desktop icons' size, as well as play with these desk-organizing options:

  • Auto Arrange Icons: Automatically arrange everything in vertical rows — even newly positioned icons are swept into tidy rows.

  • Align Icons to Grid: Turned on by default, this option places an invisible grid on the screen and aligns all icons within the grid's borders to keep them nice and tidy — no matter how hard you try to mess them up.

  • Show Desktop Icons: Always keep this option turned on. When turned off, Windows hides every icon on your desktop. If you can remember in your frustration, click this option again to toggle your icons back on.

Most View options are also available within any of your folders. To find them, click any folder's View tab that lives along its top edge.

For more information about Windows 8, explore Windows 8 For Dummies, available online.

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