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Decluttering is important, be it your room or your desktop. A clean and tidy desktop is not just pleasing to the eyes, but it also increases your productivity. It is always easier to find things on a clean desktop than on one cluttered with numerous useless icons. While working, we don’t realize that we are saving the files and folders on the desktop; as a matter of fact, we intentionally save our important files and folders on the desktop for easy access. But, at the end of the day, what we have is a messy and disorganized desktop with numerous icons.
While you can always delete the useless icon or clean the Windows desktop clutter manually, there are some good and useful third-party free apps available for the same. Iconoid is one such application that helps you clean your desktop and handle it better.Iconoid – Manage Desktop Icons
Iconoid is a very lightweight simple application that takes less than a minute to land on your PC. With a quick and short installation wizard, the application gets installed and is ready to use. At first instance, you might find the interface a bit confusing, and you might take some time to figure out the features, but it is very easy once you check it properly.Iconoid Features
In short, Iconoid is a desktop icon manager that lets you:
Save and restore icon positions
Remove or color icon text background
Select any color for icon text
Automatically hide icons.
Hide the icons
The Tray tab is of course for the system tray options. You can adjust the tray icon settings where you can show or hide the tray icon, change the background options, adjust the icon positions and more. There is another option of Do the icon Dance, but it somehow didn’t work for me, so I am not very clear about what it is.
The Options tab lets you decide whether to start Iconoid with Windows or now, to display the tools tips or not, enable window fading, etc. There is also an option of selecting the Hot Keys, exporting and importing the settings which mean to save your settings on your PC as registry files.
Other settings include the separate icon positioning, use of relative positions, special placements for icons, integrating the Iconoid app to Explorer, etc.
Overall, it is a simple, lightweight application that works quickly. Any settings you apply take effect immediately. The application hardly puts any load on your system memory or the CPU. I didn’t face any crashes while testing the application, and nor did it hang. So, if you want to get more control over your desktop icons, you can download the application here. The application works on Windows 11/10 too.
DesktopOK lets you save, restore, lock desktop icons position and layout
D-Color is another tool you can use to save the current icon layout, restore earlier icon layout and more
IconRestorer lets you Save, Restore, Manage your Desktop Icon positions
Icon Shepherd which can restore desktop icon layout to the original location
ReIcon lets you Backup, Save and Restore Desktop Icon Layouts.
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We all know we’re supposed to change our passwords frequently, make them complicated, and use different ones for each site/service, but it can get really difficult to remember them all. Browsers can help you remember them, but do you have faith in that? We asked our writers, “Do you trust your browser to manage your passwords?”Our Opinion
Damien answers a curt “absolutely not.” He doesn’t trust browsers. He uses a password manager app to manage his passwords.
Phil just keeps all his passwords in a book by his desk. “That way someone can’t just tap in and steal them; they have to actually come to my house to get them manually.” Plus, he figures it’s much easier to deal with them one at a time.
Ada also keeps her passwords written down on a pad. She only trusts her browsers with passwords for unimportant sites. She does note, “I do consider the book a single point of failure, meaning if it’s gone/destroyed/stolen, etc., it will be a pain to restore all the passwords.” She’s been considering making a copy of it and storing it in a separate location, but it makes it difficult since she’s always adding, changing, removing, and has it all in “super cryptic handwriting.” She jokes that she feels sorry for any thief for having to deal with it but considers it a safer option than a browser.
Alex, like Damien, also answers “no way.” He considers browser storage to be the weakest form of password storage and uses a dedicated password manager (Dashlane) to keep track of his passwords, admitting “I don’t even know the passwords to most of my accounts,” as they’re just randomly generated strings.
Fabio uses Dashlane to handle his passwords as well. “Saving your password on your browser is the worst thing you can do.”
Ryan admits he doesn’t trust his browser and doesn’t use a password manager either, even though he uses different passwords for mostly everything. He assumes it’s because he’s “a bit paranoid.” He points out that he’s read that “passwords are essentially useless since anyone determined enough can crack them,” so he thinks maybe he should be a little more trusting.
I take the same path as Ryan, but for me it’s because I am trusting. I use my browser and don’t use a password manager. The sites where I shouldn’t use the browser won’t allow me to save my password anyway, such as PayPal or my bank. That said, I also started keeping a list of my passwords, as I switch browsers frequently. Instead of paper, I keep them in an Evernote file and keep the app locked on my iPad and iPhone. That way I can always access them wherever I am. And like Ada, I make the list cryptic.Your Opinion
Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site’s sponsored review program.
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Want to hide all desktop icons on a Mac? Desktop icon clutter can really impact workflow by overwhelming you with files and just too much stuff to look at. Inevitably, it can be hard to avoid since a lot of apps download things to the Desktop by default, we save things there, screenshots go there, it quickly becomes the generic catch-all location for documents and stuff that we’re working with.
If you decide you have too many icons on the desktop and maintaining the desktop is just too much to deal with, you can actually toggle a secret setting in Mac OS X to turn off the Mac desktop icons completely, thereby preventing them from being displayed at all. This effectively hides all the icons from showing up on the Mac desktop only, but all of your files and stuff will still be accessible from elsewhere through the file system and Finder. You can think of this kind of like disabling the desktop, because you can still actually save files and folders to the desktop, it’s just that the icons will not show up. Instead, you’ll just see your desktop wallpaper.
How to Hide Desktop Icons on Mac OS X from Appearing Completely
If you’re ready to hide all desktop icons on a Mac, you’ll be using the command line to accomplish this task. Here is how you can hide all Mac desktop icons by basically disabling the desktop from appearing:
Launch Terminal, found within /Applications/Utilities
Type the following defaults command string exactly:
defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop -bool false
Hit enter / return
Next you will then need to kill the Finder so that it relaunches and the changes take effect, do that with the following command in the Terminal prompt:
Again hit Return, this refreshes the Finder and the Desktop
Once the command is executed correctly, the Finder will refresh and all desktop icons will instantly disappear – the files will still exist, they are just no longer visible on the desktop.
This trick works to disable the desktop and hide all the desktop icons exactly the same in all versions of MacOS and Mac OS X, from Mac OS X Snow Leopard to OS X Yosemite to MacOS Mojave and everything in between, and presumably later too.
You can expedite the hiding of the desktop icons on the Mac by turning the command string into a single line to be copied and pasted into the Terminal window, like this:
defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop -bool false;killall Finder;say icons hidden
The desktop will no longer display icons, effectively hiding them from appearing. All of the files still exist, but they’re now discretely hidden in your home folder’s “Desktop” directory rather than cluttering up the visible desktop.
If you’re wondering what this looks like when it’s in effect, it’s basically a super-clean desktop like this:
Notice how there is literally nothing on the desktop? Just a clean image of the background wallpaper? That’s what this trick does.
Note that this process is different than simply hiding things like Mac hard drive icons and network shares from showing up on desktop, because this trick is all inclusive and hides every single icon regardless of what it is, completely preventing them from appearing on the Mac OS X Desktop whatsoever, despite still technically being stored in the users ~/Desktop directory. It’s obviously easy to implement, and it’s also easy to reverse if you decide the feature isn’t for you and you want to see everything visible as usual again.
So to be perfectly clear, this will hide your icons from showing on the Desktop by disabling that feature, but your desktop data, files, folders, and everything else is still available by manually going to the “~/Desktop” folder of the user account. None of your files are missing, they’re just tucked into your user Desktop folder on the Macintosh HD.How to Show Desktop Icons Again in Mac OS X
To show the Desktop icons again, return to open the Mac Terminal and type the following defaults command – notice the only difference between the disabling of desktop and enabling of desktop is ‘false’ has been turned into ‘true’, thereby re-enabling desktop icon display on the Mac:
defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop -bool true
Again, kill the Finder and your icons will show on the desktop as usual:
Finder will relaunch, and the desktop will be revealed again with all of it’s icons shown. The image below shows an exaggerated example, with tons and tons of icons sitting on the wallpaper:
Similar to the hiding trick, you can condense those commands into a single command string to reveal the desktop icons again.
defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop -bool true;killall Finder;say icons visible
This even gives you a nice auditory clue announcing the state of the icons (icons hidden, or icons visible).
Other than being a nuisance to look at, desktop clutter can actually slow down a Mac (or any computer, for that matter), since each individual icon and thumbnail must be drawn by the operating system anytime the desktop is accessed or shown. As a result, every single file sitting on the desktop takes up a little slice of memory, and redrawing the thumbnail icons uses a tiny bit of CPU, but with hundreds of files laying about those will accumulate to a significant burden on the computers resources, thereby slowing down the computer. This is particularly true with old Macs, but it applies to newer models as well.
So when in doubt, keep that Mac desktop tidy and free of too many icons, or just hide the icons and files display like we described here so that you can gain a nice little speed boost until you sort through your files.
Many years ago, I was in the computer repair business. I worked for small businesses, households, and pretty much anyone that would either sign a contract or pay a monthly rate for my technology know-how.
During this period in time, the most common issue I ran into was Windows malware disrupting my client’s ability to use their computer(s). After a while of fixing the same old problem, I decided I was ready for a change. During this transitional period, I became more familiar with the various popular Linux distros that were available: Red Hat, Mandrake (Mandriva), and the live Linux CDs that followed a short time later.
Flash forward to now, I use Linux on the desktop almost exclusively. For my day-to-day duties, Linux on the desktop allows me to create written content in addition to occasional video how-to tutorials. I can email, print, scan and store files on my computer in much the same way as those of you who use Windows do. The key difference is that I choose to use an operating system where the key support comes from the community, and not from some large corporation.
The single biggest issue to consider when selecting a Linux distribution is whether to use a rolling release or a non-rolling release option. In my home office, I use both as each offers different benefits. Since 2013, I’ve been using Arch Linux as my “getting work done” distribution because it allows me to keep up on the latest software and features of each new kernel release. The second PC has become something of a media management box. A slightly more robust computer, this second PC handles my video editing, long-term file storage, and other related duties.
Mirroring my setup is easy enough. The key here is realizing that installing and updating these two Linux distributions aren’t as difficult as most would have you believe. Want Arch without the bare metal? Then I recommend Antergos for an Arch experience without all the setup requirements. Antergos offers access to a true Arch desktop, but can be setup in minutes vs. hours.
I also use Antergos for my netbook as well, since it plays nicely with my Eee’s hardware out of the box. The only thing to be aware of with Antergos is that some things require a bit of setup, such as printing. You’ll need to set up and configure printing using the Arch wiki as it’s not ready to go out of the box.
Jumping back over to Ubuntu, the distribution setup is just as easy. Once installed, anything you could want is ready to go out of the box. If you own a PC that supports Linux, Ubuntu will be the distro that runs flawlessly out of the box without any “surprises.”
Now I’ll be first to admit that I don’t find myself updating the Ubuntu installation as often as I do my Antergos computers. The single biggest reason being that I don’t use it as much, therefore I run my updates in bulk in those off moments when it strikes me.
For installing both Antergos and Ubuntu I use a USB flash drive. For the sake of simplicity, I prefer to use the dd command instead of the various USB drive creation software options available. Using dd to build my installation media ensures that I won’t have any odd-ball installation challenges that sometimes happen with USB installation creation software.
Once I have a USB drive ready to go, I simply plug it into my PC and begin the installation process. Both Ubuntu and Antergos are an absolute pleasure to install. The only thing to be aware of is you’ll want to make sure you’re plugged into an Ethernet network connection to install updates during the distribution installation. For Ubuntu, this is optional. With Antergos, however, it’s mandatory as it won’t install otherwise.
Anytime you rely on Linux instead of a proprietary operating system, the question of legacy software does come up. For myself, I haven’t found any software missing in this space. Dropbox, Firefox, LibreOffice, SpiderOak, Clementine, VLC, GIMP, Skype, Kdenlive, Pithos, Kazam, Nitro Tasks, HPLIP– each of these programs serve me very well.
This isn’t to say that everyone out there looking to emulate my user experience will have as easy of a time. Some software is inherently built for Windows or OS X only. Worse, trying to find a comparable alternative isn’t always straight forward. But for most people, I believe the software that they’re looking for is readily available on the Linux desktop.
Sadly there are some areas where even in 2014, the Linux desktop leaves some folks frustrated. For example, if you own a fully updated iOS device or most Android phones, you’re going to have trouble syncing music and movies to these devices. Even the simple matter of mounting a SD card in an Android phone, at least under Arch, isn’t as straight forward as we’d like to believe. Ubuntu users may have an easier time, by relying on Go-mtpfs. In all honesty, mtp mounting and syncing rarely works reliably and happens to be why streaming music to one’s Android phone via Linux is the preferred approach. As for iOS devices, success getting compatibility here is also hit and miss.
Do you use Microsoft’s To-Do to manage your tasks on your smartphone and Windows laptop. Would you like to do the same on your primary Linux desktop? With Ao, you can! Let’s see how you can manage your Microsoft To-Do from your Linux desktop.Installation
Ao is available on multiple platforms. If you are on Linux, the easiest way to get the latest version is by using snap:
It’s worth noting that in Ubuntu comes with snap support baked-in by default, and you can find Ao’s snap in Ubuntu Software among the other “Productivity” apps.
If you aren’t fond of Snapcraft (here’s how to install Snapcraft if you disagree) and are using an Arch, Red Hat, or Debian compatible distribution or prefer AppImage, you can find packages of Ao at GitHub. After downloading the package for your distribution, install it like you would any other package. For example, on Debian, you would have to enter in a terminal something like:
At Ao’s Github page you will also find versions for Mac and Windows. We don’t know how many people would prefer it over Microsoft’s official app that is natively available on both platforms, especially since Ao doesn’t radically change or upgrade its features.Sign in
Ao is a wrapper for Microsoft’s online version of To-Do. To use it, you have to be online and have an Outlook or Skype account. The first thing Ao will do after running is to ask for those login credentials. We won’t go through registering for Microsoft’s services and will skip to the app itself.Like the Real Thing
Microsoft’s To-Do works in Ao in precisely the same way you’d expect from the web application simply because it is the web application.
On the left, you have a sidebar with all your task categories. At the top, you can see some predefined categories that help to better manage your tasks.
In Important, you will find all the tasks you have assigned a star to.
In Planned, all tasks with a date.
Assigned to you contains all tasks someone else has assigned to you, allowing you to share task lists.
In Flagged email, you will find all emails from your Outlook inbox that you marked with a flag.
Tasks acts as the home for all entries that you haven’t assigned elsewhere.Managing Tasks and Lists
To add tasks to another list, select it and repeat the process.
The first option, “Add step,” allows you to add subtasks to your task, turning it into a mini-project. The second one, “Add to My Day,” adds the task to To-Do’s special “My Day” list that contains all active tasks of the day.
The rest of the options allow you to add a reminder, due date, select if (and when) the selected task will repeat, assign it a color/tag/category, add a file, or a note.
To move tasks from one list to another, you can “drag and drop” them with your mouse.
Finally, to create new lists, note the option with precisely that name at the bottom of the left category panel.Desktop Power
With Ao, you can use shortcuts to create new lists, move between them, add, edit, mark as complete, or delete tasks. The predefined important categories have their own shortcuts, allowing you to jump directly to them.
The following is a list of the shortcuts we found most useful while using Ao:
Jump To: My Day – Ctrl + M
Jump To: Important – Ctrl + I
Jump To: Planned – Ctrl + P
Jump To: Tasks – Ctrl + J
New List – Ctrl + L
Delete List – Ctrl + Shift + D
Rename List – Ctrl + Y
New Task – Ctrl + N
Delete Task – Ctrl + D
Rename Task – Ctrl + T
Add Task to My Day – Ctrl + K
Mark Task as Completed – Ctrl + Shift + N
Add Reminder to Task – Ctrl + Shift + E
Add Due Date to Task – Ctrl + Shift + T.
Hide Completed To-dos – Ctrl + Shift + H
As you can see, it is easy to manage your Microsoft To-Do in Linux, but if you are looking for a similar to-do app for macOS/iOS, the default Reminders app is a very useful to-do app. Here is how you can make good use of the Reminders app in Mac.
OK’s real life started at around 10, when he got his first computer – a Commodore 128. Since then, he’s been melting keycaps by typing 24/7, trying to spread The Word Of Tech to anyone interested enough to listen. Or, rather, read.
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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, metaphorically of-course, you must have read the news that Google doesn’t provide a free Google Apps plans anymore. Which means that if you want to host email for your domain with Google Apps, it is going to cost you $5/user/month. Millions of individual domain owners had been using Gmail for their email needs and will now need to either switch providers or lose access to their emails.
Thankfully, there are other options out there and one of them is Microsoft’s new and shiny chúng tôi service. Read on to find out how to use chúng tôi to host your email for your domain.
The first thing that you need to do is sign up for a chúng tôi account.
Enter your domain name in the text box, select the radio button that says “Set up chúng tôi for my domain” and hit Continue.
DNS Settings? What’s that?
Let’s take a step back to understand how email is delivered. DNS is the domain name system that lets you browse over to any website on the Internet by just using it’s domain name. It comprises of a bunch of different entries (records) for each domain name on the Internet. The servers that maintain these records are called DNS servers.
Each domain has an associated MX record. The MX record points to the server that is supposed to accept emails for that particular domain. This record is the one that has to be changed if you want chúng tôi to manage your email instead of Google or any other provider that you were using earlier. If you don’t know how to edit the DNS settings for your domain, head over to your domain registrar’s website and their tech support guys will be happy to handle them for you.
Once you’ve made the above changes, DNS systems around the world are notified of the change to your domain. This process happens automatically and your new settings can take a couple of hours to propagate throughout the Internet.
After a few hours, refresh the page and Outlook will detect the DNS changes you made and let you add users to your account. Add new users to your account from the “Member Accounts” link and start using your new chúng tôi email.
Wasn’t that easy ? Now, enjoy your free email service without all the hassles of managing an email server.
Sharninder is a programmer, blogger and a geek making a living writing software to change the world. His tech blog, Geeky Ninja, is where he shares his wisdom, for free !
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