Friday, May 15, 2015

Troubleshooting 3 Common Windows Desktop Issues

At times a few quickly pressed keys can leave you with unexpected results.  Most of the time this happens when the wrong keystrokes are thrown together as a result of our fingers missing a key or our brains going faster than our fingers can keep up with.  The difficult part about these issues is trying to figure out what keys were pressed in the first place in hopes knowing will help reverse the unintended results.  Below are three common desktop issues, how they are created, and how to modify them to get the results you want.

The taskbar is missing from the bottom of the screen
The taskbar is much easier to move around than we normally realize.  Simply click on the taskbar anywhere there are no program icons and drag it to either the top or a side of the screen to move it.  Once moved the taskbar automatically docks to the new location.

Another way to move the taskbar is by right clicking on a blank spot in the taskbar and selecting "Properties".  On the Taskbar tab select the location for the taskbar from the drop-down menu next to "Taskbar location on screen" and click "OK".

The desktop displays sideways or upside down
This issue happens when you press Ctrl + Alt and an arrow key all at the same time.  This option is useful for people who need to turn their monitors sideways so their desktop is displayed correctly.  However, if these keys are pressed on accident, simply press Ctrl + Alt and the up arrow to change the screen back to the default display setting.  Here is an example of pressing Ctrl + Alt and the right arrow:

Desktop icons do not stay in place when moved to a new location
When desktop icons are created by downloading items, creating or saving items, moving items onto the desktop for easy access, or after updating a program, they often end up grouped together in a way which makes little sense.  Luckily icons are easy to move and group together in logical ways.  However, sometimes when an icon is moved it does not stay exactly where it was placed.  This is caused by desktop view settings which have options to auto arrange icons as well as align icons to a grid.

Using the align icons to grid option makes a grid out of the desktop area.  Existing icons and icons moved automatically "snap" into the grid box they are closest to.  This gives the desktop an organized feel as icons are automatically lined up in rows and columns regardless of where they are located on the screen.  This option allows icons to be located anywhere on the desktop, but they will always be lined up with the underlying grid.

Using auto arrange icons moves all existing icons to the left side of the desktop screen and arranges them in order one column at a time.  Once a column is full, icons wrap around to the next column and so on.  This setting prevents icons from being spread out and moved to other areas of the desktop screen.  Many users find the auto arrange setting makes it harder to keep like icons grouped together and therefore counterproductive.

To access the desktop view controls, right click anywhere on the desktop where there are no icons.  Hover over "View" in the pop-up menu.  In the view pop-out the auto arrange icons and align icons to grid settings can be toggled off and on.

Having the option to move the taskbar to different locations, switch the screen display, and control how desktop icons are placed are only some of the desktop customizations available.  The way we choose to set these options is based on personal preference and can help us be more efficient and find things faster.  Knowing how to fix these issues if they suddenly arise can also be helpful and save time.  

Remember, customizing almost always saves time and prevents frustration!

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