Wednesday, November 25, 2009

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Easy Ways To Get To Your Desktop In Windows | Make A Show Desktop Button

If you have to reach over a pile of papers just to reach your keyboard, then you’re the type who likes surfaces. The Windows desktop is no exception, and yours is probably full of files you need. Problem is, they’re always underneath everything else.

Here are some ways to get to the stuff on your desktop without much hassle: Minimize everything Hold the Windows logo key (which we’ll call Winkey, just to be cute) and press D to quickly show the desktop. Press Winkey-D again to restore your windows (although not necessarily in the same sequence). Do this many times to give yourself a headache.

Show Desktop
Don’t want to use the keyboard? Just locate the Quick Launch toolbar, the little row of tiny buttons on the far left of your taskbar, and click the Show Desktop button (the blue rectangle in Figure).



Figure: Use this handy button to show the Windows desktop without having to manually minimize all your windows. Give the button another click to restore the windows.

If the Quick Launch toolbar isn’t there, right-click an empty area on your taskbar and go to Toolbars ➝ Quick Launch. If you don’t see the Show Desktop button, it may be buried inside the tiny white arrows; otherwise, see the “Make a Show Desktop Button” sidebar for tips.

You can also right-click an empty area of the Taskbar, and select Show the Desktop to do the same thing as the button. Then, to restore your windows, right-click the taskbar again and select Show Open Windows.


Make A Show Desktop Button Using Shell Command

By default, the Quick Launch toolbar comes with a Show Desktop button, which allows you to quickly hide all open windows and access stuff on your desktop, and then quickly bring them all back when you’re done. But what if your Quick Launch toolbar doesn’t have one?

Unlike most other toolbar buttons, the Show Desktop button isn’t a Windows Shortcut. Rather, it’s a Shell Command File (.scf), which is really just a plain-text file containing a special command Windows understands. To create a new .scf file, open your favorite plain-text editor (or Notepad), and type the following five lines:
[Shell]
Command=2
IconFile=explorer.exe,3
[Taskbar]
Command=ToggleDesktop

Save the file as Show Desktop.scf (or any other name, provided that you include the .scf filename extension) anywhere you like, including your desktop. To have the icon appear on your Quick Launch toolbar, place the file in this folder(In Windows Vista And Windows 7):
C:\Users\{user}\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\QuickLaunch
And For Windows XP Users, place the file in this folder:
C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Application Data\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch

If you like the Show Desktop button, but you don’t like the clutter of the Quick Launch toolbar, you can simply eliminate the buttons you don’t use by right-clicking each one and selecting Delete.

Next, right-click an empty area of the Taskbar, turn off the Lock the Taskbar option, and then shrink down the newly sanitized Quick Launch toolbar so it’s no larger than the remaining button, like the example in Figure above. When things are the way you like them, turn Lock the Taskbar back on.

Open Windows Explorer
Another approach is to simply open a Windows Explorer window and navigate to the Desktop folder at the top of the tree. That way, you can leave your open programs intact, making it easier to drag files onto them from the desktop.

You can also drag files onto a minimized application, provided you have a steady hand and some patience. Just drag down to the taskbar and hover the file over the minimized application button you want to restore. Although you can’t drop files on the buttons themselves, if you wait a second or two, Windows will restore the application window, at which point you can drag the file over to the window and drop it.

Icons On The Taskbar
Right-click an empty area of the taskbar, select Toolbars, and then select Desktop. By default, the toolbar will probably be smushed up against the notification area (tray) and the clock, so right-click the taskbar again and turn off the Lock the Taskbar option so you can move the Desktop toolbar around. Next, right-click the Desktop title and select the Show Text option to fit more icons on the bar. It’s not the most convenient interface, especially if you have a lot on your desktop, but it’s there if you need it.

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Haja Peer Mohamed H, Software Engineer by profession, Author, Founder and CEO of "bench3" you can connect with me on Twitter , Facebook and also onGoogle+

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