Storing Files on the Desktop

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by UKnjb, Mar 15, 2007.

  1. UKnjb macrumors 6502a

    UKnjb

    Joined:
    May 23, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #1
    Many people (casual observation) have a large number of data files that are 'stored' on their desktops. Sometimes it seems that the desktops are littered with icons of word-processed, spreadsheet and image files.

    Since forever, I have understood that this is a bad practice but have never received an adequate explanation of just why. I have been told that the desktop is a 'volatile area', that files should be stored in folders to fall into file managment systems not present on the desktop, and more. :confused:

    Can anyone here give me a good explanation or even why it may actually be OK to save files to the desktop? Thanks :)
     
  2. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603

    GimmeSlack12

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #2
    Technically there is no problem At All with storing files on the desktop. The desktop folder is nothing more than a folder in your Home Folder, so it is just like your Documents folder or Music folder.

    But if you have many people using your computer and you store files on your desktop there is a higher chance of people tinkering with these files.

    If a chaotic desktop is how you work, then there is no reason not to continue doing so.
     
  3. rhoydotp macrumors 6502

    rhoydotp

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2006
    #3
    this is just a personal preference. although i must say that if you ever have to create a new user and delete the old one, you might lose the files. so i guess it's not just a personal preference! wholly crap, i just contradicted myself! oh well, that what backups are for. i think you should worry about that more than this :D
     
  4. Cult Follower macrumors 6502a

    Cult Follower

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    North Dakota
  5. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603

    GimmeSlack12

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
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    #5
    What are you talking about? Of course if you delete a User you will lose the files. From the Desktop folder or any folder.

    But each User has their own Desktop Folder, it is not a shared folder.
     
  6. blodwyn macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    #6
    It's a personal preference. Desktop real estate is finite, so I presume most people use it to keep only frequently used files, and keep other files in a folder structure or some other logical (to them) structure. I can't think of a great reason for using the desktop to store infrequently used files.

    My preference is to keep my desktop clear of any files (and drive icons), except for those files I've just created and saved to the desktop. This is just an interim step to filing it and tagging it with EagleFiler and clearing it from my desktop. I like the uncluttered look, a throwback to liking a tidy desk I guess.

    That's my preference but each to his/her own preference.
     
  7. whooleytoo macrumors 603

    whooleytoo

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Location:
    Cork, Ireland.
    #7
    The only possible technical reason I can think of why it might be a bad idea, is the way Quartz Compositor treats each icon as a separate window. If you have lots of icons on your desktop, your VRAM might fill up pretty quick if on a Mac with an older video card.
     
  8. rhoydotp macrumors 6502

    rhoydotp

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2006
    #8
    hence, it is not just a preference. there is an actual good reason for keeping your important files outside of a users "Own Desktop Folder". :confused:

    not being mean, but thanks for stating the obvious.
     
  9. neyoung macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    #9
    My desktop is littered with icons. I use the desktop as a work space. When I'm working on a project I save all the relevant images/documents on the desktop so I have quick access to them all. But I think it looks totally cluttered so when I'm done with the project I move the files into appropriate folders or the trash. I have yet to see a performance difference between a clean or dirty desktop.
     
  10. osirisX macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2007
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #10
    The only thing that I can think of is loading up a ton of icons and image files with thumbnails slows things down when it loads up the desktop.
     
  11. jeremy.king macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

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    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    #11
    I miss the days of rebuilding my desktop...daily :eek:
     
  12. pianoman macrumors 68000

    pianoman

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    #12
    i, too, prefer a clean desktop. the desktop is just a folder, so there's no harm putting your files there if you please.
     
  13. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603

    GimmeSlack12

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
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    #13
    Ok maybe I jumped the gun a bit there, but then again, I'm known to do that around here sometimes :eek:
     
  14. kermit4161 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2006
    #14

    I think this might be a holdover from OS9 days. I don't think that OSX manages the desktop the same way... I seem to remember reading somewhere a few years ago that storing files on the desktop in OSX wasn't a problem.

    BUT... in OS9 it definitely is a problem. The desktop items are maintained by the OS in a desktop file inside the system folder. As more and more items are added to the desktop, the file gets larger and larger, stealing resources from the system. If you start to move large files in and out of a desktop folder, it creates a headache for the system to manage (I had a co-worker who'd habitually store downloaded photos to a folder on his desktop (up to a GB sometimes)... and wonder why his system was crashing regularly. Eventually the system will become unstable and performance will slow way down. The same thing happens if you don't throw away your trash... as this info in kept in the desktop file too (I had another co-worker who's normally keep .5 GB of trash in her trashcan... just in case she needed it)... and then complain that her system was slowing down. Rebuilding the desktop would allow the OS to re-order items in the file (sort of like defragging a hard drive).

    Well... that is a long-winded layman's explaination of OSX 9 desktops. I used to follow that rule religiously when working in OS 9... but haven't since OSX 10.3. I haven't had any problems with system performance that I could trace to my desktop files.

    As for plain file management... I'm always a fan of keeping things neatly ordered and only keep temporary items on my desktop. I do have some folder shortcuts on the desktop to keep things simple though.
     

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