Stop for a minute and take a look at your desktop. How many icons, folders and files do you see? Probably a lot. So what's the big deal?
It could be causing your Windows Computer to slow down.
Not when your Computer boots, but when you log on or off, right click on folders or icons, even trying to open a folder or file from the desktop. For users with roaming profiles, having a large user profile can degrade system performance. But it can also cause issues even if you do not have a roaming profile.
Storing large folders or file on your desktop is convenient, as long as you keep the size under control. Even if you use tools such as Disk Cleanup or CCleaner, desktop files and folders are not included during cleanup and can get out of control.
To see the size of your user profile:
- Open up the Run dialog box by clicking on Start \ Run… (or WinKey+R) and enter sysdm.cpl.
- In the System Properties window, click on the Advanced tab then click the Settings… button in the User Profiles section
(NOTE: Screenshots are from Vista and will look similar on XP.)
- The User Profiles window will display all user accounts on your Computer. From here, you can see the size of your profile.
As you can see my User Profile is 489MB. If you think about that for a second, it's almost a half a gigabyte in size. Pretty soon I WILL start having problems and should clean it up now.
While your profile is made up of settings for mouse, Window based applications, third party programs and other items, cleaning up your desktop can improve system performance if disk cleanup tools seem to fall short in making improvements.
To help keep your profile size small and under control, follow these simple guidelines:
- Create folders in My Documents or on another drive or partition.
- Save large files in the same locations as folders instead of on the desktop
- Instead of saving items on the desktop directly, create shortcuts on your desktop to those items
- If you don't like to use shortcuts (or have too many of them), add a toolbar for My Computer or any drive and folder on the taskbar. This will allow convenient access as if the item was on the desktop and keep your user profile size in check.
- Don't allow programs to save data to your profile. Many programs allow you to change the default settings for save data.
Remember, keeping large items off the desktop and saving them else where (such as My Computer) may be the difference in gaining back lost performance with your computer… especially after you have exhausted all other methods.
Better yet, just add it your list of cleanup routines.