At times your desktop can get cluttered with desktop shortcuts and program icons making it hard to find things on the desktop and generally makes it cluttered.
When your desktop gets to a point where it is suffering from “desktop clutter” it’s time to delete a desktop shortcut or two.
Deleting a Program Desktop Shortcut
Deleting a program desktop shortcut does not remove the program from your computer. Moving the shortcut to the recycle bin only removes the program shortcut from the desktop.
Windows will remind you of this as you move the shortcut to the recycle bin:
Deleting the shortcut to (program name) only removes the icon. It does not uninstall the program…
Reference: Windows message window as you drop the program icon over the Recycle Bin
Deleting a File or Folder Desktop Shortcut
When you delete a desktop shortcut for a file or folder, unlike a program shortcut, you do not get a message from Windows.
Deleting a file or folder desktop shortcut which you created yourself does not remove the file or folder. It only removes the shortcut from the desktop.
If you downloaded something from the Internet to your desktop, then when you delete the shortcut, you will loose the program or file. See our Saving Downloads article for a better way to do this so you can include the file or program in your backup routine.
How to Delete a Desktop Shortcut
There are several ways to delete a desktop shortcut from the desktop in Windows.
This first method to delete a desktop shortcut is quite simple:
- Move your mouse over the desktop shortcut you wish to delete and press the left mouse button.
The icon will become selected and highlighted.
- With the icon still selected and the left mouse button still down, drag the desktop shortcut over to and on top of the Recycle Bin icon on the desktop.
- Release the left mouse button.
If it is a program shortcut you are deleting, Windows will show a message (as explained above) and ask for confirmation.
No message appears if the desktop shortcut is for a file or folder.
That’s it! You are done!
Missed the Recycle Bin? Then just repeat the instructions above, making sure this time you dragged the desktop shortcut over the Recycle Bin.
- Left click the desktop shortcut to select it.
- Right click the desktop shortcut.
A menu appears.
- Left click the Delete item on the menu that appeared.
- Windows will ask you to confirm deleting the shortcut.
Just like our first method, you will get a message from Windows about deleting the shortcut if it is for a program. See the beginning of this article if you missed what the message says.
For a file or folder shortcut, you will see a message from Windows asking for confirmation.
That’s it for method number 2.
- Left click the desktop shortcut you wish to delete.
- On your keyboard, press the Delete button.
The delete button is in the bottom left corner of the bank of buttons above your arrow keys, if you are using a desktop computer.
- You will get a message from Windows asking for confirmation.
The messages for this method are the same as the ones for method 2 above.
Now that you know how to delete a desktop shortcut, there’s no excuse for your desktop to become cluttered with unwanted shortcuts.