The community Taskforce initiative has now come to a close.
Thanks to everyone who made thoughtful and genuine contributions to the website.
All submissions will be kept publically available for the forseeable future for reference purposes.

This website is part of the community Taskforce initiative

Submission details

38 +46/-8 votes

Desktop Icon Management

Submitted by rayb on June 19, 2008 to Aesthetics, Annoyance, Icons

For those of us who shun the clean desktop, there has always been a problem with the arrangement of icons on the desktop changing. I know many users who get their setups just so, to the point where their hand automatically finds the correct icon on the screen almost without looking and then, when launching a game or other application that changes the screen resolution or after a RDP connection, the icons are randomly stacked to the primary monitor as if the auto-arrange was turned on.

Although Vista is better than previous versions in it's attempt to maintain the desktop, it still isn't consistent. Clearly a better way needs to be found.

Although the ability to lock a single icon, as suggested by another poster, would be a good start, I think we deserve more.

First, a simple logging of the positions of all icons. Windows should be able to keep track of the locations on single or multiple monitors and track layouts for various resolutions.

Also, it should be possible to work out a logical algorithm (or possibly a set of rules from which the user can choose) for how to arrange icons that overshoot the edge of the screen when the resolution changes. Keeping track of the icons location relative to each other and the screen borders as well as absolute location by pixel would also make it easier to adjust for different resolutions while maintaining as much of the current layout as possible.

For example, if you layout your icons in columns on the left of your monitor, a lower resolution might "bend" the columns along the bottom of the monitor, maintaining the relative order of the shifted icons in a horizontal row.

Additionally, it might be helpful for some users to be able to group icons together and have windows maintain the group's layout whenever it must move icons.

It would also be nice to have an advanced feature to save several layouts so that users can have different layouts and switch between them (maybe customized to their background picture or depending on what they are working on) although this advanced option might be better suited to a third-party add-on product.



Not fixed

Discussion (5 comments)

europrg_09 wrote on June 19, 2008, 7:59pm

that's a pretty good suggestion. what i would like to see is icon grouping.

thenonhacker wrote on June 19, 2008, 11:02pm

+1, OMG Excellent Idea.

+10000000 needed!

Have everyone tried laying out their icons at the left, and bottom, only to get destroyed in random positions right after resizing the taskbar?

brian.shapiro wrote on June 20, 2008, 1:43am

I think it would be cool if there was something like Group By on the desktop, I don't think it necessarily needs to be much different from how groups would be arranged in folders. Either way, I think that would make desktop organization much simpler for people who like files there, and it would be easy to adapt. I think Tiles if done right could also work on the desktop.

tino wrote on June 20, 2008, 11:41pm

+1, BUT they shouldn't put too much functionality into it, IMO. Arranging icons is just meta-work so it is not really productive. There should be some smart algorithms as you have mentioned but please do not put 5 more options to the context menu ;)

blueskynis wrote on August 11, 2008, 12:46pm

Don't use desktop icons...

You might also be interested in...