The pros and cons of saving files to the desktop

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There are good reasons to avoid saving files to the desktop. For one thing, it’s difficult to organize. Although you can sort files on the desktop by name or date, you can’t group them by a second criterion. And it can easily become overwhelmingly crowded in a way that a groupable, searchable folder cannot.

Most important of all, files on the desktop are not as well protected as files in libraries like My Documents and My Pictures. For instance, if you use System Restore to return Windows to its state as of last Wednesday, the feature will remove any files added to the desktop since that date. The files in My Documents will be left untouched.

What’s more, many file-based backup programs don’t, by default, back up the desktop. You can change that, of course, somewhere in your backup program’s settings.

In the Library section of Windows Explorer (File Explorer in Windows 8), right-click Documents and select Properties.

Once in the dialog box, click the Include a folder option and select the desktop. You’ll find it near the top of the Navigation panel, under Favorites.

f you want programs to save to the desktop by default, select Desktop from the Library locations list and click Set save location. That way, whenever you save a document, spreadsheet, or just about anything except a photo, video, or song, the desktop will be the first location where the program wants to save your file.

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