Q: I deleted the shortcut off my desktop, but it didn’t delete the software.
A: Shortcuts are just a pointer to a file that exists on your computer. For example, I have a shortcut to Microsoft Word 97 on my desktop. It is pointing to a file located at E:Program FilesofficeOfficeWINWORD.EXE. If I double-click the shortcut, Windows knows to run the file at that location. Often people delete a shortcut and mistakenly believe that means the software it points to has gone away as well. If I delete my Word 97 shortcut on the desktop, Word 97 remains loaded on the system. To remove the software itself, you need to go to the Add/Remove programs dialog box in Control Panel (choose Start|Settings|Control Panel and double click the Add/Remove Programs icon to find it).
Returning to the matter of shortcuts, the number of shortcuts you have on your desktop is completely a matter of personal preference. Some people love a clean, uncluttered desktop, while others litter their screen with zillions of shortcuts. A lot of folks don’t do much with the shortcuts on their desktop. They just leave the ones that various software programs install, so it’s easy to end up with a bunch of useless shortcuts for stuff you don’t use.
However, it’s really easy to create and delete shortcuts. You can create them in a number of ways. One way to do it is using Windows Explorer. Choose Start|Programs|Windows Explorer to open the program. Find a file, click (and hold) the right mouse button while you drag the file to your desktop. When you release the mouse button choose Create Shortcut(s) Here from the pop-up menu.
If you want to create a shortcut to your printer or other device, you need to use Control Panel. Choose Start|Settings|Control Panel. Then you basically do the same thing. For example, to put a printer on the desktop, double-click the Printers folder. Then right-click an icon and drag it to the desktop. When you release the mouse button, choose Create Shortcut(s) Here.
Shortcuts end up with rather long names because Windows adds "Shortcut to…" at the beginning. To me, all this extra text is redundant and annoying. (I know it’s a shortcut because the icon has a tiny arrow on it.) So if you want to change the shortcut name, just right-click the icon, and choose Rename from the pop-up menu. The name is highlighted, and you just enter a new name.
Deleting a shortcut is even easier. Click the shortcut and press the Delete key on your keyboard. Or you can click and drag it to the Recycle Bin. One thing to keep in mind is that a shortcut is just a pointer to the actual file or program on your hard disk. If you delete a shortcut, nothing happens to the file on your system; it’s still there.
In Windows 98, if you have lots of programs on your Start menu that you wish were shortcuts on your desktop, you can just click and drag them over to your desktop. And while you are in the Start menu, you can also rearrange items by dragging them to a new location, or delete items by dragging them to the Recycle Bin. There are a few default items you can’t change, but for the most part, you can get rid of a lot of clutter this way.