The Best Way To Customize Your Desktop: 3 Top Apps Compared



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I played around with Bumptop for a while. It has some nice features like tossing a Doc at the printer, and having it automatically print, and the Facebook widget. Just wish the Facebook widget would allow you to see your wall.

I have been using Yahoo Widgets for monitoring various things and using other handy widgets. I decided to try Rainmeter, and found I could have the same tools as Yahoo Widgets in Rainmeter, and it uses less than half the amount of RAM as Yahoo Widgets, and you can customize some of them to boot!

I turned off Yahoo widgets and will try Rainmeter for a while.

A melding of Rainmeter and some of the tools in Bumptop would be nice. If anyone knows of any Rainmeter plugins that have some of the functioonalty of the Bumptop widgets, let me know.

Oh, I also use Rocketdock. I recommend that to anyone using Windows. Even Windows 7.



i've got Litestep running just fine on Windows 7 x64 and it only took me a few hours on IRC to do it. the volume and network icons in the tray don't work when clicked on but there are people working on that.

it's very stable (my uptime at the moment is just over 17 hours) i have had problems with two of the themes i downloaded but the code is easy to understand and edit. (just remember to keep a backup)

Rainmeter can be used as a plugin in Litestep (in fact i believe that's how it started) and you can then use all the Rainmeter apps with it


Fecal Face

I've had an Object Desktop subscription for 2 years now. It comes with a huge selection of customization apps (windowblinds, object dock,  virtual desktops, etc.). It costs $49, and you get a subscription for a year. $35 to renew it for another year after that.

With this subscription, you get ALL of the programs included in the package, and anything else they add to the package is yours for free, along with any updates they come out with. Ending your subscription means you still keep everything, you just don't get any of the new stuff / updates.

Example: I had Object Dock Plus, which came with Object Desktop. They released Object Dock Plus 2. I can just go download Object Dock Plus 2 for free, because I have a subscription, rather than pay $10 for it.


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I use TrueLaunchBar to create menus (kind of like a super Quick launch bar). Takes mere seconds to pull up and run the program. They can be changed in order and used when another window is filling the screen (good reason NOT to have desktop icons).

 I do have some widgets on the side and have moved my taskbar to the left side to take advantage of my widescreen monitor.

 The best thing is that I get to see my wallpapers in all their glory. Since Win 7 allows wallpapers to change every 15 minutes or so, I have a huge collection and they look great without any icons spoiling the view. 

I gave up using icons on the desktop 5 years ago. Clean your desk!



And I guess that's O.K.  

Personally, my desktop isn't all that important to me.  Once I open a window, the desktop is covered up.  

Right now, I'm using Fences to organize my icons (and it keeps my temporary downloads conveniently available). Also custom theme from combined with ViGlance to emulate the Windows 7 taskbar functionality which I like so much but can't have until I get around to building my next machine.


And that's it.  rss feeds? weather?  My iGoogle homepage handles that.  I don't need it bogging down my startup. 



Before I got Win 7, I was still running XP with Litestep.  It can be a pain in a a$$ to get configured, but once it's setup the way that you want it, it works like a charm.  There are so many different modules to choose from, so you can make it the exact way that you want it.

I run dual 22" monitors, both at home and at work, and trying to find a UI that span across both of them is hard.  Litestep is the best solution that I've found.  Plus you can download a module so you can have multiple virtual desktop to host different applications in different areas is nice.  I've tried the Microsoft one, but it opens up a new Explorer.exe process for each new virtual desktop, so that starts to become a memory hog really quick.

If you're into coding at all, and don't mind sitting down for a day or two to tweak everything the exact way that you want it, go with Litestep.  If you're looking for something that you install and be done with it, then maybe Litestep will work.  You just have to look at the custom themes that other users have created already. 



I tried all of these. Bumptop proved to be to glitchy on my system. It was more of a nuisance then anything. I've now come to the conclusion that the best program for me  is a combination of 3! Rocketdock, Rainmeter, and WindowsBlinds. (I wish I could upload pics of my desktop). It allows me to theme everything I want to theme of course, I had to pay for windows blinds, but it's been well worth it for more than just a visual customization tool :). I have a completely iconless desktop, all of them contained in rocketdock, and the icons are themed as well ;).



I've used rainmeter, and I quite enjoy it, i can be a bit complex for someone who formats a lot. I am interested in BumpTop now though...gonna have to try it. As far as it usually goes, my Unix distro is ususally a cube, with a dock like rocketdock. Windows has a cube but it's not really good.


Badly Browned

I personally use Rainmeter, but it is definitely not for the basic PC user, but then I guess a basic PC user won't be customizing their desktop past the default Windows settings. Anyways, it took me a good day to read up on Rainmemter and understand how to manipulate the UI, but once I did it was totally worth it.



i have a hp pavilion dv4 entertainment pc that i got from Best Buy shortly before Win7 came out, so im running Win7, and Rainmeter is the best by far. i want to try Bumbtop, but for some reason it wont install, lite step doesnt work on Win7, and @ the dude who suggest hyperdesk, that does look awesome, but im not into paying for a theme, but thats just me, maybe someone else would rather pay 15-20 bucks for a GUI change, i dont know.



If you really want to transform your desktop then check out Hyperdesk. Works for XP, Vista and 7. Each theme includes a windows theme, icon set, wallpaper and normally a media player widget or skin.





Of course he's suggesting hyperdesk! The above comment is frome none other than J.Schader, the CEO of "The Skins Factory"!!! The MAKERS of Hyperdesk!!! nice marketing plug....



By this description, the alternative to LiteStep. It's shell replacement. In order to really appreciate it you guys should run the Win2000 and WinXP without SP1 - just the way it was shipped. Then it would be clear how rock solid and how much more better is comparing to explorer.exe. I am running it since 2002-2003 as my default desktop shell. It does everything as litestep except it's got GUI for all adjustments. It's incredibly customizable. 

Nowdays less needed in terms of stability but for folks who are running xp, it adds much more configurability and ease of use. I love it for shortcut options, for hotkey options and for menu options.

Few of the themes I use:

No escape -

Aston Vista -

Faboulus K -

 And they have version 2 with themes such as this one:

But I don't have that version of Aston so can't comment on it.

 To repeat once more - to trully appreciate Aston Shell replacement you should try it with OS that made creators to invest this great product. Now since XP desktop shell is rock solid it's not as needed.




What happened with Samurize? I used to like that program a lot but haven't had the time in the past year+ to do anything with it. I noticed that their website is FUBAR'd. Did it fall off the face of the earth or morph into something different? Don't tell me the community just up and quit on it. I had plans, I HAD PLANS!!!!!!! /cry

To start press any key...ohh, where's the "Any" key. - Homer Simpson



You could just install KDE 4.4 (on Linux)



will it run Steam and BFBC2?

will it even connect to the internet? I tried EIGHT different Linux distros over the last seven or eight years, and Ubuntu 9.04 was the first one that ever saw my internet connection adn got me online without requiring hours upon hours of often fruitless configuring and forum crawling, and if a question got answered (rare) it was often mostly gibberish. 

linux is for old, slow, disused laptops. maybe.



Steam has been running in wine for quite a few years now.  As far as compatibility with hardware, it is rare case to have something that is not supported.  You wrong about "linux is for old, slow, disused laptops".  It's for people with average to above average intelligence, that want to make the most of their hardware.



The name of the program is "LiteStep" and not "LightStep" as you have glaringly overlooked in your article. Did you think the wallpaper in your screenshot, the executable that runs when it starts, or the website you downloaded the installer from all had it wrong?



Believe it or not, there IS a way to let someone know they've made a simple mistake without being a huge smart ass about it. This is your first post here. If you wish to continue making posts on these articles, I would encourage you to act in a more respectful manner. 

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Object Desktop. 

 Window Blinds, cursors, icons, whatever you need.  And a huge number of skins available for each component.  I've been using their stuff for years and I can't imagine being without it.


justchad has had a 3d desktop for years and in MHO its way cooler than bumptop  





I heart Rainmeter. I've been using it for about 2 weeks now. I love simple desktops, and Rainmeter allows that. I use a handful of skins from the Enigma theme. Makes my desktop look so "modern".


GM From My Chea...

I use to create customs desktops on my systems but now just keep it simple.



Rainmeter is awesome, and by far the best desktop custimization tool I have found. Works with many iterations of Windows (I am currently using it on XP Home, XP Pro, and Win 7 Ultimate 32).

You did however forget to mention the extremely helpful people on the forums as well. Probably one of the greatest online communities for a program I have found.

 A theme/skin installation extension is in the works by one of the members it is called "Rainstaller" and is currently in beta stage.



double post



Rainmeter all the way.  I tried BumpTop, but it was a bit too 3D for me.  I like my documents snapped to a grid.

Admittedly, Rainmeter is extremely difficult to customize, but overall it is the best solution.

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