If you add lots of shortcuts to the Windows 10 desktop, there are a number of ways to organize them more effectively and reduce icon clutter. Windows has a few options you can organize desktop icons with. There are also some extra third-party packages for Windows with which you can group the desktop icons into more specific categories.
Organizing the Desktop Icons With Folders
First, you could clear up a cluttered desktop with folders. Adding new folders to the desktop is straightforward. Right-click the desktop, select New and then Folder to create an empty folder.
Now drag and drop desktop shortcuts into that folder by selecting them with the left mouse button. That will remove the icons from the desktop, but you can always open the folder from the desktop to access the shortcuts in it. Thus, you could add a number of folders to the desktop for alternative shortcut categories such as applications, utilities, multimedia software etc and then move the icons into them as in the snapshot below.
Windows 10 also has a few context menu options you can organize desktop icons with. Select a group of icons and right-click to open the context menu shown in the snapshot below. Then you can select to sort the desktop icons by Name, Size, Item type and Date modified.
Add Folder Group Shortcut Icons to the Desktop
If you’ve organized shortcut icons into desktop folders as discussed above, you can then display the software and document icons they include on the desktop with Nimi Places. That’s a portable software package with which you can add folder groups to the desktop. Open this page and click Download Nimi Places to save its exe to Windows 10. Then click Extract Nimi Places to launch the software as below.
It launches with four container groups for Applications, Games, Documents and Downloads. You can copy and paste desktop shortcuts into those boxes by right-clicking an icon and selecting Copy. Then right-click inside one of the container boxes and click Paste to add the copied shortcut to it.
You can also drag the containers to reposition them on desktop if the Lock option isn’t selected. To lock the containers, you should right-click a container and then select the Lock option. Then the containers are locked on the desktop until you select Unlock from the context menu.
To add your own group containers to the desktop, click the Nimi Places icon in the system tray. That will open the window below from which you should then press the + button at the bottom right. Click Place and then select one of your desktop shortcut folders. That will add the folder container to the desktop, and you can then open the shortcuts it includes from there.
You can resize the containers by dragging their borders with mouse. Note that you can also scroll through the contents of larger containers with a scroll bar. Click the right of a container and then drag its scroll bar up and down.
Right-click the title bars at the top of the container boxes to edit their titles. Then you can select a Rename container option that opens the text box below. Enter an alternative title for the container there.
The software also has some customization options for the containers. Right-click a container, select Appearance and Theme to select those settings from a submenu. Then you can choose some alternative backgrounds for the containers.
Group the Desktop Shortcuts into Boxes
ToolBox is another third-party package you can group your desktop icons with, which you can install from here. Click tbox285.zip to save its Zip. Open the Zip folder and click Extract all in File Explorer to extract the folder and then run it from there.
Now you can set up new icon boxes for the desktop by right-clicking the ToolBox icon on the system tray and selecting New Toolbox. That adds a box to the desktop as shown in the snapshot below. Drag and drop desktop icons into the box, or boxes, to organize them.
To further customize those desktop icon boxes, right-click one and select Toolbox Properties from the context menu. That opens the window in the snapshot directly below. There you can resize the boxes, alter their colors and apply new effects to them.
To resize the icon boxes, drag the Window Tile & Size bars. Drag the Row bar further right to expand the height of the box. Alternatively, you can drag the Columns bar right and left to alter the width.
You can alter the colors of the boxes by clicking the Color box. That will open a color palette from which you can choose other colors. Or you could add some background wallpaper to the box by selecting Bitmap from the drop-down menu and pressing the … button beside the Background Bitmap path box.
You can include the title at the top the box by clicking the Title Bar Visible check box. Enter new titles for the box in the Toolbar Name text box at the top of the window. Press the Apply Changes button to apply any newly selected settings from the window.
The Toolbar Control Panel lists all your icon boxes. You can right-click a box and select Toolbar Control Panel to open the window shown in the shot below. The Toolboxes tab lists the desktop icon boxes. You can a delete box by right-clicking it title there and selecting Delete Toolbox. Click Settings > Save all toolbox settings to quickly save all the shortcuts, effects and desktop positions of the icon boxes.
In addition, you can also set up boxes that include system tray shortcuts. The Toolbar Control Panel includes a Wizards menu at the top. Select that to open a small menu from which you can set up a system folder, drive and megapack shortcut box.
With Windows 10 folder options, Nimi Places and ToolBox you can now effectively group your desktop icons and organize the shortcuts. You can also do the same with the Fences software package, but that is not freeware. App launchers are another good way to clear up a cluttered desktop, as covered in the “How to add new app Launchers to Windows 10” article.