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Most users use their desktops as their primary workspace, saving everything they work on to the desktop. While practical, this has a nasty tendency to become rather cluttered.
In Windows 7, you can opt not to display desktop icons on the desktop itself. To do so, simply right-click your desktop, click “View”, and uncheck “Show Desktop Icons”. Should you need to access your files, they are still available under the Desktop heading in Windows Explorer. Also, this is a temporary fix, as, apparently the icons will return after a reboot. To prevent this, simply save the current theme, and you’re good to go.
The same option is available for gadgets, all you need to do is uncheck “Show Desktop Gadgets” as well, then save the theme if you want that change too to be permanent.