I store thousands of files directly on the desktop folder.

When I tell that to some people, they begin to yell "you're making the computer slower!" without any rigorous arguments whatsoever, just like the reaction one often gets on whether emptier disk or less fragmentated files leads to a better performance.

This answer deals with millions of files, which is much more than what I'm having. However, files on desktop is different in that it is shown on the desktop view, most importantly would be that they're shown at all times.

Does putting many files on desktop affect computer performance?

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    Possible duplicate of Is that true that if you keep bulky files on the Desktop then Windows slow down? I know it asks about big files, but factors like indexing, icon extraction etc. have also been addressed there which are applicable to your situation. – Karan May 28 '15 at 2:34
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    It may add a (very tiny, but possibly slightly more than 0.1 seconds, which is the cutoff for an "instant load" feel) pause the first time the desktop is loaded so it can be cached, but past that it shouldn't affect preformace as long as your computer isn't 10 years old. – Jon May 28 '15 at 3:08
  • @Karan The answers there are not useful, since most of them are very specific (.zip files on Vista, shortcuts, network profiles). And some of them are anecdotes, which aren't helpful either. – user337370 May 28 '15 at 4:51
  • Icon extraction from EXEs and shortcuts, indexing and the like are the only factors to be considered and they're all mentioned as far as I can see. Anyway it's only going to have a minimal impact, that too on startup mostly, and if you have an SSD then the impact will be further reduced to a little bit of increased caching and thus a tiny bit less free memory perhaps. So technically the answer would probably be Yes, but whether observable in normal usage on modern systems, No. – Karan May 28 '15 at 5:55
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    All about Windows file fragmentation – Moab May 29 '15 at 3:33

Answer, it depends on how much you have on the desktop. The other guys answer is partially correct. Everything on the desktop is scanned on startup. So if you literally have 50 folders with tons of junk in them, or gigs of movies on the desktop, then it can degrade performance and on ear startup time. I have literally had over 50gb sitting on my desktop, and my computer ran like crap (Intel i5 with 8gb ram and 1tb hard drive). Once I cleaned my desktop, it ran like a dream again.

Here is what I do now. I have. Separate partition setup for most of my stuff. I have 250gb for my OS and the rest another partition as "storage". I have my documents, downloads, etc actually mapped to my storage partition. This way, if I format, I don't have to worry about "my documents" and all that. I also have a 2tb storage NAS drive..

On your desktop try to use shortcuts. I have a movies folder on my desktop, but it's just a shortcut to the movies somewhere else. This way, on startup, the computer only had to parse the shortcuts on your desktop instead of folders with more junk inside them.

Short answer, yes it actually can!

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When I had 1,900 items of various files & folders on my Desktop(Windows 7), explorer.exe/the Desktop was constantly crashing, and would take several seconds to load an explorer window[Windows key + E](if it happened at all).

After removing about 100 items, the problem went away. So, there seems to be a limit that Windows 7 can handle.

Also, having any shortcuts that no longer work will cause the Desktop to lag/crash.

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Actually it depends more on if you are a home user or in a corporate environment. In a corporate environment having too much on the desktop can bring your computer to a crawl partially because it affects the syncing of your roaming profile. This is not new and has been an issue for over a decade.

At home you can have whatever you want on the desktop and I have never noticed a slowdown but at work keep your desktop lean and mean.

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