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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

Is my new bad habit really bad?


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OregonWoman

 
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Ever since getting my Mac mini, I've developed what, to me, is a bad habit of storing all kinds of files and documents directly on my desktop. Some of the files are very large, and I'm concerned that using desktop folders for storage could be cutting into my download and upload speeds. Speedtest doesn't show any problems, however I'm still uncertain since this is a "new" practice for me. I've been a Mac user for over 12 years having migrated from PC use for work (and in the PC world I was around even before Windows showed up!).

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chscag

 
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A "cluttered" desktop will eventually slow things down, but in addition to that, it's much easier to accidentally delete or move things that are on the desktop rather than in folders.
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OregonWoman

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chscag View Post
A "cluttered" desktop will eventually slow things down, but in addition to that, it's much easier to accidentally delete or move things that are on the desktop rather than in folders.
Thank you! By "eventually slow things down" can you please provide me with more information? This is the specific information that I'm seeking. At what point do I reach "critical mass"?

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pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OregonWoman View Post
Thank you! By "eventually slow things down" can you please provide me with more information? This is the specific information that I'm seeking. At what point do I reach "critical mass"?
Sounds like what you're asking is...is it ok to be a "little bad" vs. a "lot bad"!

A bad habit is a bad habit.

- Nick

p.s. To be honest...I don't think that there is officially any documentation on this. Suffice it to say "more is worse...less is better".

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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Raz0rEdge

 
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The Desktop, technically, is like every other folder in your filesystem the main difference being that the contents of that folder are displayed in a "nice" fashion on the screen.

Having a lot of files on the desktop means that the the OS is going through a lot of effort to display these files on the screen, plus as you move, open and close windows, it has to go through the effort of hiding/showing these files..

The slow down is not going to be related to your Internet/network access, so speedtest and others will not say anything..but in your regular usage of the system as as whole.

You are much better off putting all of your documents in a folder called Documents and then dragging that to your dock and setting it up to either open as a stack or in folder view. WIth this, you have access to the documents you want and it isn't requiring the OS to do any special work on displaying them.

Overall, the less stuff you have on your desktop the better, the desktop should be used for things which need to be quickly accessed for a short period. So inserting a SD card, CD, DVD, and or DMG file should show up, be used and then be gone..

--
Regards
...Ashwin



Be sure to read the Community Guidelines | The more information you provide, the better answers you get, remember GIGO.
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zacster

 
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I think a lot of these "rules" are old concerns when all computers were a LOT slower. At the speed these things operate now it just won't matter. There was a time when it took considerable time to paint an icon on the screen, but that is trivial now.
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chas_m

 
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No, this is still an issue. You can test it for yourself quite easily.

Take some huge media files (or a lot of small files -- say about 80GB worth) and put them on your desktop. Watch your computer move like mud.

Put the files back where they belong. Watch the computer miraculously speed up.

Yeah, you have to put a sizeable amount of files on the desktop to *dramatically* see the effect in action, it's true -- but as pigoo said, a bad habit is a bad habit. People who put files on the desktop will eventually get to the point I use in my quick demo.

There is, however, good news for people who like files where they can see them (I call them "the literalists"). You can use ALIASES all you want, aliases have no effect on speed.

Also, you can put folders in the dock, like I have my home folder there -- it too is an alias, and thus it doesn't affect speed. Between having my application folder and home folder in the dock, I can find ANY file I want to with a few seconds, tops (and launch it).
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