Diane AKA Traska wrote:
"The GPU has to draw the screen (and everything on it) every single time the computer refreshes, and this generally occurs every 1/60th of a second for most computers."
The load on the GPU for drawing static images on the desktop is miniscule, and more importantly it takes exactly as much processor to draw a blank spot as it does to draw an icon because the GPU only cares about the image and pixels take the same compute power to display on refresh no matter what color they are. It's the CPU that works a bit harder because it has to pull the icons off the drive and load them into memory so they're available for the GPU, and that also takes only a miniscule amount of processing power. All told, it's virtually impossible to tax a computer by loading the screen with icons unless it's very old because you'd need thousands of icons to appreciably slow down the boot load time.
"What matters is the amount of information (total size of all your files) that are on your desktop. If you have 2gb worth of information on your desk top, not only will it slow down the start up but it will slow down the general operation of your computer."
The amount of information on the desktop versus anywhere else on the drive won't make any difference at all, since the desktop is just another location in the filesystem. There's no system out there, for example, that would load all of a program's data into memory just because it's located on the desktop, it'll just draw an icon to show that it's present in that location and will load it only if you open/run it. The total number and size of the files on your hard drive will affect processing to the extent that filesystem reads/writes take time, but unless your drive is full or you have nearing millions of files performance won't be hit very hard.
"Does the number of icons slow down the booting up of the computer, so I does it help that I have folders?"
Unless your computer is more than ten years old it won't make any difference at all. Organize your icons to suit your use of the machine.
"Ah-ha! I do mean most are shortcuts neatly filed. I keep a calculator and my sticky notes on the desktop, so I guess those might be programs. The computer repair guy sort of yelled at me for having so many programs there, so I kind of panicked. He also was firm with me for having so many programs running and didn't think that the battery's running down and my cord dying at the same time was an excuse, even though I have been doing this for 4 years. Silly man."
The thing that will strongly affect performance is how many programs/files/etc you have open and running at once, which is what he was talking about, not the number of static icons on the desktop. If you watch what you run and close programs that you don't need (for example, open the calculator when you need it and then close it when you don't, unless you're using it constantly), you'll see much better performance overall. I'm not sure what the battery running down would have to do with performance, other than the obvious issue that the computer will power down if it runs the battery dry and it's not plugged in. It's not like some kid's toy that will begin to run slower as the battery depletes, it'll run at full tilt until the battery can't deliver the juice any more and then it'll shut itself down to keep from running off the end of the charge and dropping dead.