Is your Windows 7 or XP desktop too cluttered with shortcut icons to find the one you need? Or, do you like your desktop pristine to let your wallpaper shine? Either way, you can create a hot key to quickly open a program without an icon shortcut. Here's how.

1. First, click the Windows Start button and find the program. If it's not on the short list that appears, click All Programs. If you still don't see it, type its name in the "Search programs and files" window.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

2. When you find the program, right click on it, and from the list that appears, select Properties at the bottom. A window will open. Go to shortcut key. It will say "None."

3. The format for a hot key is pressing the CTRL and ALT keys plus a letter or number. In the shortcut key window, type the letter or number you want to assign to open the program; CTRL+ALT+the letter/number will appear. Press Apply, then OK. Now, any time you press those three keys together, the program will open.