How I keep my laptop minimal, whilst being productive

I am new to the laptop game. Having switched to a newer, more efficient machine running Windows 10 eight months ago, I didn’t think I would master the art of using a laptop efficiently this fast. However, after all this time, surfing the web, looking for “tips, tricks, customization, and hacks” to my machine, I came down to an organized way to run my laptop.

The Desktop

I have gone through a lot of “What’s on my Laptop” videos to be safe to say that they always start with the desktop, and for good reasons.

The desktop is the first thing you see upon starting your system. This is probably the most visited place of your laptop, I like to think of it as a table on which I am going to be working on. Most laptops I have seen have desktops cluttered with icons, folders, temporary screenshots and shortcuts that the user almost never visits. Since I think of it as a table for my work, I find the extra, useless icons pretty distracting. From the day I got my laptop, I have tried my best to keep my desktop clean and functional.

As you can see, I only have the Recycle Bin, and two temporary folders I use to store files I will need very quickly and don’t have time to put away. I also keep these shortcuts towards the top-right, even though I use a Windows machine, that is simply by choice, I like the placement better.

I also keep my taskbar always hidden, that way, I don’t get distracted by my pinned apps and that also gives me extra screen space while I am studying, or while multitasking.

The Taskbar

Following the theme of minimalism, I have removed unwanted icons from my taskbar.

I keep my notification area pretty clean, by putting all unwanted shortcuts inside the grouped area. I have also removed the search and Cortana shortcuts because I don’t use them very often. When I search, I find that pressing only Windows key and then typing works just fine. And, as you can see, I have also centered my pinned apps using TaskbarX, which is a portable and lightweight application. Initially, I installed it just for the aesthetics, but I also found that it was easier (for me atleast) to bring my mouse pointer towards the middle of the bottom of the screen than towards the left. I also pin only those apps that I use either daily, or in a three day basis. I use Zoom too, for school but I never actually open the app, I simply click on the links in Google Classroom.

The Web Browser

As you previously saw, I use 2 of them - Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome. But for my default browser, I use Edge for the most part, including writing this article. I find it uses considerably less memory than Chrome and it also has small features that I miss when I use Chrome, like the mute tab and collections feature. But I use Chrome when I need both my laptop and phone to be in sync and I find that Chrome works perfectly for that.

The browser, as you guessed it, is also pretty clean. I do use most of my bookmarks regularly and I have also disabled the “Content” feature that shows you news and stuff. I find it distracting, so I disable it.

The File Explorer

I have set the File Explorer to always open to This PC rather than quick access, simply because the quick access is always present on the left side column. I do sort everything pretty well, and also, I have disable almost everything in the Navigation Pane, other than Quick Access.

Other Shortcuts

As you have probably noticed, I make my laptop usage as efficient as possible. I do not waste to much time to find what I need, I don’t open the File Explorer every time I want to open a file/folder, I simply search for it using Windows Search.

I also keep Focus Assist continuously on to prevent irritating notifications blocking up my screen.

I also use a wide variety of keyboard shortcuts from Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V to Windows+Shift+Esc for Task Manager and Windows+1,2,3,4 to open the respective application on the taskbar. I do use all of the Touchpad gestures, only customized to my needs.

And finally, I use 3 Virtual Desktops - one that always has the Calendar running, second for studying/work and the third one to keep temporary apps that I’m not currently using, but also don’t want to be closed.

A student, Tech Enthusiast, Graphic Designer, Marvel Fanatic