Thursday, September 17, 2009

Using the Group Policy Editor to kill the Desktop.

This may be one of our more esoteric hacks. This author does not like Desktop icons, at all. There is so much clutter created on the screen, and a background with Window Maker and other Step-like window managers on linux has opened questions as to the generally utility of the concept. There are no Desktop icons on Window Maker or blackbox, and they were never missed here.

These icons in Windows can be disabled, using the Group Policy Editor, a rather obscure tool for disabling various features to 'lock down' Windows for kiosk uses. There's a wealth of other marginally useful features buried in there.

To access this tool, open gpedit.msc from the run dialog, or find it quickly using the start menu search functionality.

Navigate to User Configuration > Administrative Tools > Desktop.

Open the setting "Hide and Disable all items on the desktop." Switch the radio button to 'Enabled.' Yeah, that's kinda backwards to disable the Desktop. Talk to Bill.

Log out and back in, and all the Desktop icons are gone. With them goes the right click menu on the background and drag and drop functionality on the background. You've been warned.

To access the Desktop use Windows Explorer.

If one other person finds this useful, we'll be surprised.

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