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October 17th is National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day

Be productive today. Clear out and organize your virtual desktops.

A common problem that develops over time with people who have been using their computers for a number of years is that their desktops often become littered with files, shortcuts, folders, and icons. A cluttered desktop not only looks messy, it can make it harder to find files and can even cause your computer to run slower. October 17 is National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day, and this is as good a time as any to get your virtual setup clutter-free and safer to use. Here’s how to get started.

Remove old files

Do you have a file — whether it be a spreadsheet or PowerPoint presentation — that you use a couple of times a week? You should probably keep those around on your desktop, but almost everything else should go somewhere else. If it’s old and obsolete, then consider deleting it and making room for more important, up-to-date files.

Create Sub-folders

It’s all too easy to use the desktop as a general dumping crowd for shortcuts and files that have to be kept close at hand but aren’t necessarily all that important. As a result, your screen can quickly become covered with unsightly icons and arrows.

One solution is to create a sub-folder directly off the desktop for all the digital miscellany. All those temporary files you might need one day are only an extra double-click away, but the only blemish on your desktop is a single folder, and you can probably clear out this folder on a regular basis and not notice anything important has gone missing.

The best way to organize your desktop files is into three categories: programs, documents to file away, and shortcuts to frequently used or important documents.

A Clean Desktop Isn’t Just for Ease of Use; It’s For Peace of Mind

Perhaps another reason to keep your desktop free from virtual clutter is to mitigate the risk of visual hacking. Visual hacking is the act of physically spying on someone’s desk or computer screens. Visual hacking is a low-tech threat as compared to malware, ransomware, or other high-tech threats, however, the repercussions can be just as detrimental.

According to a survey completed by the Ponemon Institute, 91% of visual hacking attempts are successful, the attacks can happen quickly, and it can be nearly impossible to detect when someone steals a glimpse at what’s happening on the screen. In nearly half of all hacking attempts, it can take less than 15 minutes to complete an initial hack.

All in all, a tidy desktop not only makes things easier to find, thus reducing inefficiency, it is inherently more pleasing to look at and doesn’t cause as much cognitive stress. Your security will stay in tact, too.

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