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5 apps that will completely change the look and feel of your Windows desktop

Spruce up your boring old desktop with some eye candy!

Used to be a time we geeks would use classic mode to eke every last drop of performance out of our systems, but those days are long gone. With good configurations becoming very affordable, we think it’s perfectly fine to waste a little CPU and memory on a sexy-looking desktop. Don’t you?

Rainmeter

Rainmeter is the king when it comes to adding widgets to your desktop, plus loads of functionality and monitoring tools as well. There are thousands of themes you can choose from (check Rainmeter forums and Deviantart), and you can just cherry pick the best elements to make your own masterpiece (the source code is incredibly easy to edit). You could also just blatantly copy someone else’s sick setup (/r/Rainmeter anyone?) and call it day. One thing is for sure, your eye-candy needs will be sorted with this one.

rainmeter

Fences

Many of us have desktops that look like our rooms – cluttered and untidy. And that can seriously get in the way of productivity or become a source of embarrassment when your desktop has to be by someone else. This is where Fences from Stardock comes in. Make ‘fenced in’ translucent or transparent areas for your folders to segregate and access them easily. These fences roll up to the title bar to make your screen look incredibly neat and organized. Fences do most of the grunt work automatically. It isn’t free but you can try it out for 30 days to see if you like it.

rocketdock fences

Glass2k

Although this has been abandoned and is no longer being developed, it still works. Download the 55 kB (yes, kilobyte!) installer from http://dgit.in/Glass2k and install it. Use [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [0] to [9] to change the transparency of any window. Simple, yet effective for those who like the sleek glass look.

glass2kss

Start Menu Tiles

If you are one of the 14 people on earth who actually like tiles in their start menu, you also know that some tiles end up looking really awful. TileCreator allows you to create a tile that links to any application for much faster access. You need to download two things for this to work: The direct proxy file and the app from the Windows App Store. If you use Steam to play games, you can also install a Steam Tile from to get something better than a static and boring icon. And who really likes those anyway?

Tilecreator

Retro look

Want to go retro? Use Classic Shell. You can make Windows 10 look like Windows 2000/XP/7 without all of the security holes. Download it, install it and choose the window and start menu feel that interests you. You can also choose to disable breadcrumbs to make pathfinding easier, and of course, our favourite, change the way the start button looks – including making your own button from scratch! You have got to try that feature, because it one of the few ways you can give your PC your own unique charm. By the time you’re done with it, we’re pretty sure that your PC wont look the same at all.

Classic Shell

This article was first published in the May 2017 issue of Digit magazine. To read Digit’s articles first, subscribe here or download the Digit app for Android and iOS. You could also buy Digit’s previous issues here.

Prithvi Sudhan

Prithvi Sudhan