The recent release of Stardock's Fences tool (version 1.0) got me thinking about desktop organization. While Fences is certainly neat--the program lets you divide your desktop real estate into individual sections, surrounded by "fences," amongst other space-saving features--this freeware app isn't the only game in town by far. In fact, some of you expressed disgust at Stardock's latest release. Be it the fact that one needs to install Stardock's Impulse client just to access Fences, or your simple dislike of an application whose functionality is mirrored by other freeware apps, Fences was hardly a shot hit out of the park.
So, here we are. After the jump, I'll show you five different alternative desktop managers that will help you bring increased tidiness, prettier looks, and funer... er... more fun functionality to your typical workspace. Auto-arrange your icons one last time for nostalgia's sake, because I'm about to mix up your desktop crazy-style.
Free software is great, but the nagware that comes with it is not. Though we understand the concept behind blaring pop-up windows reminding you that you’re using freeware, the occasional nag screen can be a bit much when you’re in the middle of your workflow. ClickOff is a great way of dealing with this irritating nagware -- simply launch the lightweight program, select a window, and press Ctrl + Alt + D to add it to the ClickOff list. This will ensure that the program’s pop-up windows will be "zapped" the minute they appear on screen.
Desktop maintenance is perhaps the most frivolous form of organization, but it’s just as important as matching together pairs of socks in your clothes dresser. Fortunately, there are free applications like Fences to help aid the chronically disorganized and transform their desktops into grids of art. Previously in an beta, version 1.0 of Fences has just been released by Stardock, with improved compatibility for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows. Even if you're already rocking Windows 7, we encourage you to give this utility a try.
Fences allows you to right-click and draw labeled shaded areas on your desktop in which to “fence” in your icons and files by custom categories. For example, if you have icons related specifically to your work, you can group them together and label them “work documents” for easy access. These fences effectively divide up your Desktop workspace so help you manage clutter and disorganization.
One of the most rewarding parts of doing these weekly freeware roundups for Maximum PC is the sheer wealth of software that I get to play with each month -- applications that I not only use myself, but ones that I feel compelled to tell you about as well. But coming in a close second are the responses that you, the readers, leave in these posts. For as much as I scour the Internet to find awesome new programs for you to check out, you too have become my eyes and ears for the latest in amazing free software.
You might guess where this one's going. I'm looking toward the pool of Maximum PC users this week and highlighting programs that you, yourselves, have recommended in the various comments you've posted to these articles. For a number of you have left links and comments featuring compelling alternatives or hidden gems that relate to the programs I've posted. Although I'm featuring your best answers this week, don't let that stop you from joining the discussion! If a certain freeware application has really caught your eye, jump in the thread and say something! Or hit me up on Twitter and let me know when you've found something great!
After the jump: The Maximum PC commenters get their day in Freeware Court!
When it’s not preaching on the evils of DRM, or helping to forward the cause of PC gaming, Stardock is a company that is always on the move. This Plymouth Michigan based developer has a long standing history of helpful and light weight utilities that enable even non power users to get the most out of Windows. The newest addition to its lineup is free, and allows users to solve an age old problem, the messy desktop.
Fences allows users to draw visible (or invisible) containers on the desktop to house shortcuts, folders, or even files in an organized and spiffy layout. These “fences” can then be labeled, resized, and moved to help organize your desktop. For those who prefer to make the clutter disappear all together, you will appreciate the quick-hide feature which allows you to double click your desktop to hide, or reveal all your fences.
The software is officially still in beta, but as of right now appears to be extremely stable. The release is compatible with Windows XP, Vista, and even 7.It has also been tested and verified on both 32 & 64 bit systems. Click here to see it in action and feel free to head on over to Stardock to download a copy and give it a try for yourself.
After you’ve given it a spin, let us know what you think!