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How to declutter and organize the cables on and under my desk?

How do you manage the giant jungle of cables behind your PC? When you have 2 or more PCs next to each other, you wind up with this giant mess cables that's a pain in the neck to clean especially when both computers are running 24/7 and any fidgeting with the cables is likely to cause data loss and/or angry users. So far I've tried masking tape, cable ties and plain old string but none have been very effective.

The masking tape kept the cables in place, but over time they ended up leaving this awful sticky residue on the sides of the cables that just won't come off gets all over your fingers and is horrible horrible horrible. I have nightmares about that stuff.

We used cable ties and 'folded' up some of the longer cables so that they weren't any longer than they needed to be, but this meant that the position of some of our devices like the keyboard and the mouse were essentially 'fixed' until we removed the ties. The string didn't work much differently and required that we tie them properly or risk it coming loose.

I would switch to a wireless keyboard and mouse, but I don't want to have to deal with the added expense of batteries, even the rechargeable ones. Plus I don't want them to die on me at a crucial moment (happened to me once while playing Firearms >_<).

I know that there are people out there with home/office networks a thousand times more convoluted than mine, so

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There's already superuser.com/questions/8483/… (How to declutter and organize the cables on and under my desk?) - does this question differ considerably from that? –  Jonik Mar 16 '10 at 14:39
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You youngsters. My first home computer (a TRS-80, what was later called a "Model I") had badly shielded ribbon cables. We had to thumbtack them to the wall so that they ran as far from each other as possible except where they crossed at right angles, because of the crosstalk. –  David Thornley Mar 16 '10 at 15:36
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marked as duplicate by Snark, Mehper C. Palavuzlar, quack quixote, John T, Troggy Mar 17 '10 at 8:22

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4 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

LifeHacker (link here) has a slew of posts/pages/tips on this, from DIY to articles and ask-the-reader. Includes :

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Velcro velcro velcro

Cut one inch strips and bundle your cables with it. It won't leave a residue like masking tape and it is easily adjusted without having to get wire snippers like cable ties need.

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At home, I use "Cup Hooks" on the underside of the desk. These are hooks designed to hold small tea/coffee cups, and are similar to the kind of hook you'd see holding a lamp, or potted plant from the ceiling, but they have a small flap of metal covering the open part of the hook (think of the hook that holds the shoulder strap on a bag). This keeps the cables in, but I can remove a single cable without messing with all the rest. I ran a series of them on the bottom side of the desk, about every 8-10 inches, this way if a cable is too long, I can loop it around two or more hooks and get a length that is within 4-8 inches of perfect.

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Here is something that, admittedly, I've never tried, but seems like it should work. Use ShopVac hoses cut to the right size using a sharp utility knife.

Cables should easily fit through it and the hose should make it easy to keep things separate. You can get creative and drill holes through a desk and attach the hoses to them using a coupler (either a ShopVac, plumbing, or special desk grommets).

Hope this helps!

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