When moving/saving/etc a new file on the desktop, the icon appears second (just after "Computer"). I find it annoying, since I want my "special" icons to be first (such as the recycle bin, "Network", etc.).
Can this behavior be changed?
Even on Eastern installs of Windows the icons fill the screen top-to-bottom left-to-right.
If you want a specific layout you'll have to reposition them.
You may want to consider desktop fences:
It should be posible to put icons wherever you want, like this:
Also, in Windows 7, you can also "pin" frequently used applications to the Taskbar! I find this a very handy feature which enables me to easily access the application I use the most.
If your goal it to keep your Desktop clean, you could also use Launchy. It gives you easy access to all your files and applications. Triggered by a hotkey, you just start typing the name of the file or the application you wish to access, and hit enter when you get the match you want. It's very nice for those of us to wish the Desktop clean! I use this, and I've disabled all Desktop icons.