I have about 15 to 20 icons on my desktop, mostly documents that I need to open on a regular basis.
Most of the time though I hide the icons on the desktop as it improves the visual appeal of the desktop. This is done easily with a right-click on the desktop and selecting the hide icons option under the view menu.
Some users on the other hand may only want to hide their desktop icons when the computer is idle, again for visual appeals.
The free program DeskDuster has been created for the latter case.
The program hides all desktop icons automatically when the computer is idle. Idle in this regard means no user input for five minutes.
The icons are displayed automatically again when the mouse or keyboard is used by the user. This essentially ends the idle state and displays all desktop icons again on the screen.
The idea behind DeskDuster is to hide all icons on the desktop on idle so that the wallpaper of the system is shown in full. It may also be helpful for privacy minded users, even though there are better options than hiding the icons for this.
The software comes with a set of options. It is for instance possible to change the idle time from five minutes to another value between 1 and 20 minutes, and to minimize all open desktop windows whenever the computer is idle.
A right-click on the program's system tray icon opens a context menu with options to hide the icons manually as well, which may be handy if you want to hide everything at once. You need to make sure not to move the mouse or to use the keyboard afterwards as it would reveal the icons again on the desktop.
Useful for instance if you want to take a screenshot of the desktop or a window without icons getting in the way.
A more versatile program is the previously reviewed Auto Hide Icons software for Windows which offers more functionality.
The program will reveal the desktop icons on mouse click only, and auto hide them once they have been used. Another alternative is Fences which comes with advanced features like automatic grouping of desktop icons, and selective hiding.
DeskDuster is compatible with all recent 32-bit and 64-bit editions of the Windows operating system. It can be downloaded from the developer website.
Update: The DeskDuster website is no longer available. We have uploaded the latest working version of the application to our own server. Please note that we don't support it in any way as it is provided for archiving purposes only.
Download the program with a click on the following link: deskduster_free_20103.zip