Since I don’t use Windows all that often, I don’t tend to have many icons scattered on my desktop. But I’m sure we’ve all seen computers that look like very single inch of screen real estate is filled with program icons, launchers, folders and links, and because of the clutter, it becomes difficult to find what you’re looking for. Similarly, some desktop wallpapers are beautiful, but are so busy that the desktop icons and their label text become hard to read, while other times the highlight color of those labels makes it hard to read as it’s the same color as the wallpaper. And, more pertinent to me, if I’m writing an article, I don’t like it when the background of my screenshots is cluttered, as it takes away from the image I’m trying to present. For all those reasons, and more, you may want to try out a free Windows program called Iconoid. What does it do? A whole lot:
1. Remembers where you put your icons – have you ever had someone else use your computer only to find that when they were done, things had mysteriously moved? With Iconoid, once you get everything where you want it, you can have it lock in those positions, so even if the icons somehow get moved, Iconoid can put them back exactly where you want them.
2. Keep icons from switching places during a screen resolution change – if you change monitors or screen resolutions, your icons will sometimes mysteriously regroup after switching back. With Iconoid, this isn’t an issue, as it takes note of where everything is located, and puts it back for you. If you commonly use multiple screen resolutions, you can save screen positions for each.
3. Hide or display desktop icons – this is great for those screenshots I mentioned. When it’s time for a screenshot, or when you just don’t want the clutter (or you want to hide what’s generally visible), Iconoid can hide your desktop icons. When you want to see them again, you can.
4. Remove or change the color of the box behind icon text and change the text’s color –
5. Minimize/maximize all windows – This is a function similar to the “Show Desktop” option in Linux. If you’re working on a program and need quick access to all your desktop icons, it can be a pain to slide around or minimize windows. Iconoid lets you minimize everything, then when you find what you want, maximize them into place.
There are a lot of settings in Iconoid so you can tweak it how you like. When you hide desktop icons, this can be automatic based on your cursor position, so when your cursor moves above the desktop, the icons appear, but when it goes back to an application, they go away. Iconoid also has a Tray icon, which you can use (or cause to disappear), with some other features available, such as saving icon position, changing transparencies and making visible or hiding your icons.
Iconoid is nice if you want it running all the time (for automatic hiding), but can easily be used once (to save icon positions and change color and transparency settings), and then put aside until you want to make a change. It’s good for getting rid of clutter, of course, but that also helps make your computer a less distracting tool, which is always a good thing. As I said, I don’t know if this is going to stay installed (probably not), but I can definitely see the value in it. And I think everyone who has a messy computer owes it to themselves to give it a try.