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My desktop has lots of icons, but it's a distraction when I make a screen recording. I use the built-in screen record feature in Quicktime X.

Aside from moving them all to a folder, how can I easily and reversibly clear the desktop for recording screencasts?

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What you're looking for is a program called Camouflage. From the home page:

Do you have way too many items on your desktop? Do you hate cleaning up that mess? Camouflage is the right utility for you. It hides all the icons and leaves nothing but the pure wallpaper.

It goes in the menu bar and you can show and hide icons at your will.

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If you want to hide Icons on the Desktop there is a setting in OS X that will let you do that. From the Terminal just:

defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop -bool false 

and then killall Finder

to get them all back just:

defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop -bool true

and then killall Finder

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