There are many different ways that you can use your computer, and it is hard to say that the particular way that a person accesses and opens files and programs is correct or incorrect. However, one fairly common thing for most users is to add new icons to desktop on their Windows 7 computer to create a kind of “home” page where everything can be accessed quickly and visually. There are many different ways that you can add new icons to desktop display, but certain ways work better in certain situations and will help to prevent any awkward icon dragging.
Add New Icons to Desktop for Programs
If you use a certain program frequently, like your Web browser, a Microsoft Office program or an image-editing program, then having a desktop icon can make it easier to quickly launch this program. Many programs will add an icon to your desktop by default when you install the program but, if you elected not to install the icon, or if you deleted it previously, then you might be confused about how to get that icon back on your desktop.
The first thing to do is locate the program in the Start menu. This is accomplished by clicking the Windows button at the bottom-left corner of your Windows 7 computer, then clicking All Programs. This will expand a list of all of your programs, most of which will be contained in a series of folders. Click the folder for the program that you want to add to your desktop to expand the list of programs within it, right-click the program, click Send To, then click Desktop (create shortcut).
Conversely, you can also drag the program from the Start menu folder to the Desktop.
Add New Icons to Desktop for Files
The process for adding new files to your desktop is similar when the item for which you wish to create a shortcut is a single file instead of a program. This file could be an image that you need to use often, like a logo, or it might be a spreadsheet or document that gets changed frequently. Moving a shortcut for this file to the desktop will prevent you from searching for it again in the future.
To add new icons to your desktop for files, browse to the folder containing the file. Right-click the file, click Send To, then click Desktop (create shortcut). The original file will remain in its’ original location, but you can now double-click the shortcut icon on the desktop to open the file.
Delete Desktop Icons
Unfortunately over-zealous use of adding new icons to desktop can result in a cluttered desktop, which is why you should limit the icons on your desktop to only those items that you truly need to access regularly. If you find yourself with too many icons, you can delete them to save some space.
Delete an icon from your desktop by right-clicking the icon, clicking Delete, then clicking Yes to confirm that you want to delete the file. Note that the icon being deleted in this image is for an actual file, not a shortcut.
Be careful about the items that you delete, however, as you may have original files located on your desktop in addition to the icons that you have placed there using the methods in this article. Shortcut icons will have an arrow image at the bottom-left corner of the icon, or they will have “-Shortcut” added to the end of the file name. If you do not see the arrow or the added wording, then you may be attempting to delete an original file instead of a shortcut. In the image below, the icon on the left is for an original file, while the icon on the right is for a shortcut.
For other ideas about how to best organize your desktop, read this article about the Dell Dock.
Matthew Burleigh has been writing tech tutorials since 2008. His writing has appeared on dozens of different websites and been read over 50 million times.
After receiving his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Computer Science he spent several years working in IT management for small businesses. However, he now works full time writing content online and creating websites.
His main writing topics include iPhones, Microsoft Office, Google Apps, Android, and Photoshop, but he has also written about many other tech topics as well.