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Thread poster: xxxSanjiv Sadan
Does keeping so much data on desktop slow down the speed of computer and internet?
xxxSanjiv Sadan
Local time: 01:32
English to Hindi
+ ...
May 21, 2006

I have kept a large number of files on my desktop as it is convenient for me to access them from there. One of my friends has told me if I keep so much data on desktop, it will slow down the speed of comptuer and internet. I want to know whether it is a fact?

[Edited at 2006-05-21 11:55]


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Armorel Young  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:02
Member (2004)
German to English
How full is your hard drive? May 21, 2006

When you say you are keeping files on your desktop, I assume you mean you have created shortcuts (icons) on your desktop as a quick way of accessing the files on your hard drive. That shouldn't in itself affect the speed at which your computer operates. They are only links - they don't use up any of your computer's processing power.

There isn't any way of actually "storing" files on the desktop - they are stored on your hard drive, but you can link to them from the desktop.

Things will start to slow down, though, if your hard drive is getting near the limit of its capacity. Look at "properties" under the C drive icon in My Computer - if your hard drive is more than about two-thirds full it may be time to look at how you can free up some space. As far as I know that is the only way in which stored data can make your system run more slowly.


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xxxtlmurray
Local time: 16:02
English
Desktop is a location May 21, 2006



There isn't any way of actually "storing" files on the desktop - they are stored on your hard drive, but you can link to them from the desktop.


The first part is incorrect. The Desktop is a specific folder whose path is C:\Documents and Settings\[user_ID]\Desktop. Most items there are virtual, but you can indeed place entire files there.


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xxxtlmurray
Local time: 16:02
English
I would evaluate other practices May 21, 2006


Sanjiv Sadana wrote:
I have kept a large number of files on my desktop as it is convenient for me to access them from there. One of my friends has told me if I keep so much data on desktop, it will slow down the speed of comptuer and internet. I want to know whether it is a fact?


Your friend is wrong; however, I would take a look at not doing that any more.

The convenience is perceived. If you took a look at it from the point of view of time and motion, it's actually slower and more prone to error than keeping them in organized files in My Documents. *Way* slower. Really.

If you starting using a nicely organized My Documents, and also got used to using the keyboard instead of the mouse to find files, you would gain a lot of speed.

Depending on your method of backup, they're ... well, let me explain it this way. You can take an entire \My Documents folder, move it to a new computer, and with a few tweaks, be up and running again very quickly. Some say, well, I back up the entire computer, but that is a technique whose efficacy can be shot down quite quickly. The problem with the specific Desktop folder is that it needs to be backed up with and restored with My Documents.


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xxxSanjiv Sadan
Local time: 01:32
English to Hindi
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks so much for your informative reply May 21, 2006

I have kept the files itself on desktop and not their shortcuts. However, in view of the information provided by you, I think I should store the files in some drive and have their shortcuts on the desktop.

Thanks again for your comprehensive and knowledgeable suggestions.


Armorel Young wrote:

When you say you are keeping files on your desktop, I assume you mean you have created shortcuts (icons) on your desktop as a quick way of accessing the files on your hard drive. That shouldn't in itself affect the speed at which your computer operates. They are only links - they don't use up any of your computer's processing power.

There isn't any way of actually "storing" files on the desktop - they are stored on your hard drive, but you can link to them from the desktop.

Things will start to slow down, though, if your hard drive is getting near the limit of its capacity. Look at "properties" under the C drive icon in My Computer - if your hard drive is more than about two-thirds full it may be time to look at how you can free up some space. As far as I know that is the only way in which stored data can make your system run more slowly.


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John Jory  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:02
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
Files on desktop May 21, 2006


Armorel Young wrote:

... There isn't any way of actually "storing" files on the desktop ...


Wanna bet ? Its many a time that a website has downloaded data onto my desktop without first asking where I would like to put it

But I don't know if that affects computer speed, because I never leave them there.

Greetings, John


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Ines Garcia Botana  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:02
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
I think it does May 21, 2006

Whenever the technician who comes to "fix" my computer sees my desktop warns me about not keeping files there but in folders as it slows down my pc. Sometimes I'm in a hurry and that's the place where I will find them immediately. Shame on me!

Cheers!
Inés


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Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 15:02
Spanish to English
I think it does too May 21, 2006

Certainly my resident computer expert advised me that it slows down the internet connection, though I can't remember the explanation. And since I cleared it up everything is working much faster.

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Hynek Palatin  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 22:02
Member (2003)
English to Czech
+ ...
Does keeping so much data on desktop slow down the speed of computer and internet? May 22, 2006

Here’s a little tidbit that most people don’t know: all the icons, files and programs stored on your desktop are loaded into memory via your windows ‘user profile’. A messy desktop equals a slow PC. Desktop shortcuts are not much of a problem because of their small size. Files, downloads, and programs should be stored in a folder on your hard drive or a network drive, not your desktop.

Tip 6 at:
http://web.archive.org/web/20040625103325/http://www.algonquincollege.com/its/support/pc/windows_efficiency.html


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Mihail M Mateev
United States
Local time: 15:02
Member
English to Bulgarian
+ ...
There is a PC speed delay in the presence many objects on the desktop May 22, 2006

The presence af may objects on the Desktop, as well as any picture, which is set as a background, slows down the performance of the PC.

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xxxtlmurray
Local time: 16:02
English
Desktop items loaded into memory? Hmm... May 23, 2006

I'm pretty sure this is not true, that desktop items are not loaded into memory. I'm on a Mac right now and won't be on Windows until late this afternoon, but it's easy to test. Just compare the process list of a clean desktop with a cluttered desktop, particularly when those items are actual applications (not just links to applications), and see what changes.

Now, that's not the same as saying desktop items are not loaded into environment space, where Windows must insert information onto the environment stack, but that's quite different from loading applications into memory. However, it *is* a reason for keeping the desktop clean.

All my machines have only My Computer, My Documents, the Recycle Bin, My Network Places, and a solid color background ... that's it. Later today I will move a few things onto the desktop and examine the process list.


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Hynek Palatin  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 22:02
Member (2003)
English to Czech
+ ...
Desktop items loaded into memory? May 23, 2006


tlmurray wrote:

I'm pretty sure this is not true, that desktop items are not loaded into memory.


I have never heard of it either, but I simply don't know and I didn't have time to search for more information. So, please treat the information as unconfirmed.

What I do know is that Windows caches the desktop icons, but it shouldn't hinder the performance.


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Alibro
English to German
truth Jan 30, 2009

I do a large amount of recovery work and data transfer and its a nightmare retrieving data sometimes off a desktop and other little obscure corners of a PC.

I have seen a dramatic and visible increase in performance of a pc when the desktop is kept simple and clean. an earlier article talked about links, they are quite right, links are no more than a few KB and take a miniscule amount of ram to cache, instead of huge files (i have seen some nightmarish machines that refuse!!)

Storing downloads and large movies files are a big no-no. everything you "store" (although its not physically on your desktop) on your desktop has to be cached into your memory before you work, which is an incredible waste of time and resources, both for you and the computer.

Another hint! if you use outlook or outlook express, keep your inbox small. I worked on a new high end machine that had 14 000 emails, and took 2 mins before i could start working... a few simple Mail rules later and the inbox was opening instantly! they make your life easy by auto filing emails, look it up! another hint... once a folder or your inbox hits 2gigs it won't open, so save yourself time and frustration and file nicely now


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hanekwj
Local time: 22:02
Tend to disagree Jan 19, 2012

It has been stated that the data does not in fact reside on the desktop but in the C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Desktop folder. I agree.

Whether you have a shortcut, which is a picture with path information, roughly 4KB in size, on the desktop, or a “folder” which is a picture with path information, in this case the path is C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Desktop\%foldername%, there should be no difference in how much RAM windows need to display that icon.
Anything on the desktop is just an icon of what is in the C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Desktop folder. (XP, 2000 etc.)

Windows will only require to load into RAM the way the icon looks (same for folder as shortcut) and where in the desktop grid the icon is located (same for folder as shortcut)
I have experimented and fount that this is roughly 30KB (icon and grid data)Should be dependant on the complexity of the graphic being displayed so more or less.

Will loading 30KB make your system slow? Perhaps if you use a DX-100-486 with 1MB worth of RAM.

Open task manager and look at the explorer process, delete and create shortcuts to look at how the RAM allocated to Explorer.exe changes. Right clicking the desktop in Win 7 takes about 15KB worth of RAM to open the menu. It is not an exact science as explorer does not release all infomration out of RAM IMMEDIATELY.

If you have a slow system with little RAM try not to save to the desktop. If you have a fast system with lots of RAM, save as much as you want to the desktop.

If you cannot see data on the desktop, you should not involve yourself in backing up user data. Always backup Desktop, Document, .NK2. PST .OST (if you dont want to download from mail servers after profile move) Furthermore, is windows faster because it is a new install without a fragmented registry and file system or because there are less icons???


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Does keeping so much data on desktop slow down the speed of computer and internet?






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