Question of the Week
Question: "My computer seems to have slowed down. There are a lot of shortcut icons on my desktop that I don't use very often. If I remove them, will that speed up my computer?
Answer: There are many factors to consider when figuring out why a computer slows down. Having too many icons on the desktop, however, is not one of those reasons. Generally, icons take up about 4KB of space. Compare this to the size of an average picture taken from a digital camera (approximately 1.5MB) and you'll see that too many shortcut icons is not the problem. (If you're one of those persons who likes to do the math: 1.5MB is equal to 1,536 KB. Now, divide 1536 by 4 (average size of a shortcut icon) and you get 384. You'd have to have 384 shortcut icons on your desktop to equal just one picture.)
Briefly, here are some other factors which might account for your computer slowing down:
1) Operating System (OS) and program updates take up more memory than when the computer was new; therefore, your computer may need more RAM (memory) to regain its speed.
2) You haven't turned the computer off at least once a week. Computers need to be turned off (not just restarted/rebooted) at least once a week so the RAM can be defragmented.
3) If the computer is older, slowing down may just be the natural progression of the computer's hard drive. As hard drives age, the read and write time (how fast you can open or save a file) slows down. Think about a car engine: as the rings wear, engines lose compression. You can still drive the car but you can't get to 60 from 0 as fast as when the engine was new.
4) Human nature seems to cause us, as we get used to our computers, to want them to move faster.
There are, of course, other factors which can cause a computer to slow down but those are more complicated than the reasons we've listed here. For those, we'd have to have a look at your computer and diagnose the problem.
By the way, even though removing unused shortcut icons won't speed up your computer, it will help uncluttered your desktop and make it easier to find the shortcuts you do use!