• I set Yod'm 3D to trigger when the cursor is in either bottom corner. It's actually surprisingly rare for me to hit it accidentally.
  • D-Color lets you customize your desktop icons. I find that the "tiles" view makes for a nice compact list and a generally organized look.

    Xentient simply turns every image's icon into a preview. Simple, useful, attractive, and I really haven't noticed the memory footprint.
  • StartKiller.
  • I tried Rocketdock. I really did. It just seemed... redundant. For all Windows' failings, I like the taskbar. It's as simple as that.

    Taskbar transparency courtesy of a single line in Autohotkey.
  • Other programs of note - Thunderbird, Trillian, and iTunes, all integrated via universal hotkeys.
  • My own custom Samurize config. Pretty simple, actually - reads the to-do list from a text file and the song from iTunes.
  • If I had to keep one of these programs and throw out the rest, it'd be Launchy, hands down. Launchy is as close to a genuinely perfect application as I've ever come across.
  • Middle-clicking to close windows on the taskbar. I think this should be a standard shell feature for every OS.
  • Autohotkey is probably the most dramatic desktop enhancement I have, but also the hardest to demonstrate visually. I use it for window/taskbar transparency, universal media controls, app launching, window manipulation... it only takes a few lines of AHK code to replace a dozen freeware apps.

Lightning Sunset (Desktop 12)

Newer Older

Edit: much thanks to Lifehacker. :)
Featured Desktop: Lightning at Sunset
How To: Roll Your Own Lightning at Sunset Desktop

This is a minor update to my previous desktop. As before, every bit of software in the shot is freeware, sans only the copy of Photoshop used to put it together.

Mouseover the icons on the left for a description of the new additions, D-Color and Xentient Thumbnails. The rest, as listed before:

Theme:
- SlanXP 2.0. Requires patched uxtheme.dll - patcher here.
- Wallpaper: "lightning in sunset" by ddoi.

Startups:
- Autohotkey. See the note in the upper-right corner.
- Launchy. My beloved.
- Yod'm 3D 1.4. Last free version before it became Deskspaces. Probably the closest thing to Compiz Fusion you can get for Windows.
- Taskbar Shuffle. I swear, it's worth it just for middle-clicking to close windows.
- Start Killer.

Programs usually running:
- Samurize. I made the config myself, which you're welcome to download here in a few different resolutions.
- Google Desktop. Solely for the gadgets.

I've added a few other details as notes. And I'd be happy to answer any questions. I love talking about this stuff.

- - - - - - -

UPDATE: Much thanks to Lifehacker for the featured article. :) As requested by some of the commenters over there, here follows a brief tutorial on getting this setup for your PC.

Theme. Download the above Uxtheme.dll Patcher. You'll have to restart your computer; do so. Then, download "SlanXP2.msstyles", and run it; Windows will know what to do. Customize it however you want (I use the third color scheme). Hit Apply. You may want to keep the ".msstyles" file in a safe place; I placed a copy with my other themes in "C:\Windows\Resources\Themes".

I'm sure most of you know how to move the taskbar to the top of the screen.

Launchy. I love Launchy so very much. Download, install and run it. The default hotkey to access it is Alt+Space, but I use Win+Z. Right-click to access options. From here, there are so many ways to go that I'm just going to refer you to Lifehacker's numerous articles on customizing Launchy. But the gist is this: use the hotkey to bring it up. Start typing what you're looking for, until Launchy finds it, then hit Enter to run it. The more you use it, the more Launchy will learn what you use most often, and you'll have to type less and less. By default, it will index your Start Menu, Control Panel, and bookmarks, so feel free to get rid of those application icons on your desktop. Just go for it. Go!

Yod'm3D. This is actually a portable application, meaning you don't have to install it. Extract the folder from the ZIP you downloaded to somewhere safe, like "C:\Program Files". Manually add a shortcut to "Yodm3d.exe" in your Start Menu. Run it, and right-click the tray icon to open options.

I kept most of the defaults. I enabled "Auto turn cube when window move out of screen." I also disabled the tray icon (you can access options without it just by launching the shortcut again). In the Mouse tab, I enabled the bottom two corners for activation, with a delay of 250ms. In Zoom, I have the following numbers down the side: 0.00, 1.00, 1.00, 0.00, 0.12, 0.10.

To use it, just move your mouse to either bottom corner of the screen, which should suddenly become a translucent cube. To rotate it, click and drag, or just use the arrow keys. To select the face you're centered on, middle-click or press Enter. Using the numbers I gave you, it won't zoom at all by default, but if you want to zoom out a bit and visualize the whole cube, press the Up arrow. Yod'm can remember a different wallpaper for each desktop, but you have to set it through the Display dialogue.

D-Color. This one's pretty self-explanatory. Download, install, run. Right-click the tray icon to select the icon style you want (tiles, in my case). Click "Configure" to customize the text color; I just have white text and a transparent background. (No shadows, annoyingly, which means this works best with a darkish background.)

Taskbar Shuffle. Another easy one. Download, install, run. As noted above, I don't even really care about moving the window tabs around; I keep this around because it lets me middle-click to close windows. You will be amazed at how much you miss it on other computers. I disabled the tray icon with this one; as with Yod'm, you can just run the program shortcut again to bring it back.

StartKiller. Even easier. Download, install, run. Start button is gone. Done. (You can still access the start menu using the windows key button, or Ctrl-Esc.)

Google Desktop. Download, install, run. If I recall, it will open a browser window for you to start setting options. With Launchy, I have no need for GD's primary function, desktop search, so I went through and disabled every option I could find related to indexing. When you're done with this, right-click the tray icon and select "Sidebar." Said object should promptly appear on the side of your desktop, if it hadn't already. On the top, click the middle of the three corner buttons, with the triangle. Select "Auto-hide," then "Add gadgets" to browse Google's immense library of widgets. Once they're added to your sidebar, you can click and drag to pull them onto the desktop in whatever arrangement you like. Now, you can just tap the "Shift" key twice to hide or reveal them, ala Dashboard.

Samurize. Samurize is the one program here with a bit of a learning curve, particularly because my config doesn't fit all resolutions by default. Samurize's website has a good comprehensive tutorial. For more information, see Lifehacker's How To article on this desktop.

Basic instructions for this config are included in the download. I provided for a few different resolutions, mainly on request; I'm working on a way to make it auto-conform to any resolution, so keep an eye on this post.

Autohotkey. Download, install. You can run the program if you want to look at a sample script, but all you really have to do is create a new ".ahk" file somewhere safe (mine's in My Documents). You can create a start menu shortcut to the "whatever.ahk" file itself; it will launch Autohotkey with that file, or "script," and to edit it, you can right-click the tray icon. When you're done editing, save the file, right-click the tray icon again, and click "Reload script."

As for what you actually put into your script, you have free reign. Autohotkey's website has a tutorial to get you familiar with the format. I'll give you a few examples that I use regularly - in fact, you can copy and paste these if you want.

#f:: Run firefox.exe
; Win+F launches Firefox.

#+n:: Run notepad++
; Win+Shift+N launches Notepad++.

^!d:: Run C:\...\Todo.txt
; Opens my to-do list; Samurize reads from the same file.

#1:: WinSet, Transparent, 255, A
#2:: WinSet, Transparent, 217, A
; Win + 1-2 sets transparency of active window to 0%/15%. (255 is opaque.)]
#3:: WinSet, Transparent, 255, ahk_class Shell_TrayWnd
#4:: WinSet, Transparent, 217, ahk_class Shell_TrayWnd
; Win + 3-4 sets taskbar transparency.]

!F2:: WinMinimize, A
; Alt+F2 minimizes active window.

!F3::
WinGet MX, MinMax, A
If MX
WinRestore A
Else WinMaximize A
return
; Alt+F3 maximizes/restores active window.

For more information, see Lifehacker's How To article on this desktop.

craigland, miahz, daguruvjt, and 133 other people added this photo to their favorites.

View 20 more comments

  1. mjk231 68 months ago | reply

    Great work here. It looks like your link to the Samurize link is broken. Any chance you can restore? I'm eager to get your config!

  2. Kaelri 68 months ago | reply

    Link fixed. :)

  3. mintyhippo90 68 months ago | reply

    what google gadgets do you use?

  4. Kaelri 68 months ago | reply

    Scratchpad, Photos, Weather and Volume.

    I'm also now temporarily using an iTunes song info gadget, 'til I can make Rainmeter do it. *sigh*

  5. westside_1128 68 months ago | reply

    where did you get this background?
    it was on the lifehacker page

    love your desktop btw

  6. Kaelri 68 months ago | reply

    A link was posted in the comments on that article. You can get it here.

    Thanks. :)

  7. Heramb Naria 68 months ago | reply

    could u mail me tis wallpaper ... heramb.naria@gmail.com
    its simply amazing ...

  8. Kaelri 68 months ago | reply

    Heramb Naria: There's a link in the comment at the top. :)

  9. Kaelri 67 months ago | reply

    Certainly. It's a two-year-old Dell Inspiron B130 notebook. 1.7Ghz, 1GB of RAM, 60GB hard drive, and a factory Intel graphics card that frankly doesn't deserve mention.

  10. mactheplanet1 67 months ago | reply

    We at Mactheplanet.com never get to say this much about windows but what you have done is made something altogether that can tempt us mac users to the windows side, excellent work

  11. Kaelri 67 months ago | reply

    High praise from the Mac legions. Thanks. :)

  12. Cochetto 66 months ago | reply

    The sam package you mention on the lifehacker post is unreachable any updated url I could use ??

    And of course congrat' your desktop is just amazing !

  13. Kaelri 66 months ago | reply

    Cochetto: Heh, many thanks. See the link at the top of this page for the Samurize config.

  14. Mr Black Gold 41 months ago | reply

    i love it fuckin awsome great wallpapers. i will try to mod my xp like the so wish me luck

  15. Mr Black Gold 41 months ago | reply

    i cant find d-color and xentien can any 1 plz post a link thanx

  16. Kaelri 41 months ago | reply

    There's a link to D-Color XP in the original post.

    Xentient Thumbnails is here.

  17. chintandave82 33 months ago | reply

    Hi Kaleri, this is awesome... I am looking for this picture, however downloading has been disabled by the author. Reusing a saved picture blurs the desktop. Would really appreciate if you can share a copy of this image.

    Once again, great job :)

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