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What does your desktop say about you?

27th February 2009 Print
If you’ve ever wondered what the person sitting next to you at work is really like, the answer could be staring right at you. A new study into ‘desktop psychology’ by Windows Vista reveals that you can find out people’s true personalities, habits and ambitions simply by analysing their PC desktops.

Whether they have a sunset or mountain screensaver, a plain screen or their desktop’s overloaded with icons, desktops display a multitude of clues which can be used to decipher people’s true personality. Windows Vista brought in Donna Dawson, a psychologist specialising in personality and behaviour to analyse a selection of office workers’ desktops and she identified key personality indicators as well as seven desktop personality types: Generic, Specific place; Goal-orientated; Trophy; Escapist; Artistic and Sociable. From too many icons suggesting disorganisation and possible insecurity to ‘trophy’ pictures highlighting big egos – Dawson suggests people to pick their backgrounds and icons carefully to ensure they don’t unwittingly reveal assets of their personality they’d rather hide!

Donna Dawson comments: “Our desktops are our personal space and as such provide a fairly accurate personality description of an individual. My belief is that everything says something about what we’re like. You may not consciously be aware of it but once you know, then you may be able to manipulate how other people think of you; your desktop can be used to give off a positive message about who you are.”

Desktop Personality Indicators - here’s what your desktop could be revealing about you:

Desktop with icons strewn across the screen - the owner is disorganised and tends to lose focus easily

Even icons on each side - owner values balance and proportion and tend to keep a cool head in tricky situations. Likely to be organised and dislike clutter

Desktop with many rows of icons - reflects a person who needs everything to hand, likes to feel in control and on top of their life, while at the same time revealing a tendency to be slightly disorganised

Personal photos as wallpaper - indicates the kind of person you are and what priorities you have. Often a parent will have a photograph of their child, or a keen traveller will have a photo of an exotic location. Photos of friends shows popularity, useful in work environments where you need good people skills

Plain blue wallpaper – suggests the kind of person who likes to keep their personal lives private

Trophy photos as wallpaper – Choosing pictures of past successes can suggest a big ego and someone who glories in their past successes so choose carefully!

Microsoft UK spokesperson Suzanne Cook said: “We all love to personalise our desktops, but who would have thought that we could learn so much from the way our icons and images are arranged? For anyone who wants to say more (or less) about themselves at work, Windows Vista offers easy ways to personalise your desktop using tools like Sidebar Gadgets for the latest news, travel information and weather, as well as cool graphical display features like Windows Flip 3-D, which allows you to seamlessly glide through the windows on your desktop.”

Windows Vista’s top tips to help de-clutter and personalise your desktop:

Personalise – Give your desktop the personal touch. By choosing an image from your own gallery or wallpaper from sites such as you can start your day inspired, calmed or just reminded of family and friends.

De-clutter - Desktop clutter wastes time and can slow down your PC so be ruthless. Get rid of all those icons you don’t really need, back-up important stuff and make use of shortcuts.

Organise – Be more productive by organising your icons. If you have lots put them in to folders and personalise them by clicking on the folder, selecting properties and choosing the customise tab.