Make your computer easier and more fun to use with desktop enhancements and desktop widgets
The Windows desktop is quite a barren place on most standard PC’s. Apart from one or two icons, there is nothing but a lot of empty space and maybe a favourite photograph on the background. Why not make better use of the space and include some neat looking desktop widgets and desktop enhancements? On this page, you will find tutorials that will help you make more of that barren desktop space. If you have been following our guides to Windows skins and themes and you are hungry for more ways to make your computer look really cool, you have come to the right page.
A word of warning before you dive in however, desktop widgets and enhancements do consume resources. Each enhancement that you use will use a tiny portion of your computers processing power and memory. On powerful computers this will be unnoticeable but on more modest systems such as netbooks, it could adversely affect the performance of Windows if you add too many.
Windows Sidebar and Windows Gadgets
Windows Sidebar and Windows Gadgets have officially been retired by Microsoft. You can still view our tutorials on how to use them however.
The Windows Sidebar was introduced in Windows Vista, you can watch our tutorial on the Vista sidebar here. Although the sidebar was removed in Windows 7, it is still possible to use gadgets, we show you how in this tutorial.
Growl is a desktop enhancement that enables compatible applications to send notification messages. These notifications can be customised according to the users preferences and even forwarded to other devices on your home network or across the internet.
Launchy is a very popular free desktop enhancement, especially amongst Windows XP users. With Launchy, you can launch your documents, project files, folders, and bookmarks quickly and easily. It is a great alternative to the search box on the Windows Vista and Windows 7 Start menus. Windows 8 users can also use Launchy as a quick way to launch programs without leaving the desktop.
Rainmeter is the latest in a long line of widget and gadget engines that allow you to make more use of that empty space on your desktop. We’ve seen widget engines come and go from the likes of Microsoft, Google and Yahoo, but Rainmeter is open source and non-commercial, meaning it won’t suddenly disappear just because executives in a board meeting decided it should.
RocketDock is a neat desktop enhancement that adds a quick launch menu or dock to the top of your screen.
Stardock Fences is an amazing new desktop enhancement for managing and organising icons on your desktop. Our tutorials show you exactly why this great new tool is what messy desktops have been waiting for.
Want to run those new fangled Windows 8 tiles in a traditional desktop window, complete with minimise, maximise and resize controls? Now you can thanks to ModernMix!
Want Aero style transparent windows and Aero Snap and Aero Shake effects on your Windows XP or Windows Vista PC? If so, check out our TrueTransparency tutorails over in our Advanced Skinning Tutorials section. Click here to go there directly.
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