Sunday, August 28, 2011

HOW TO: Theming/Customising your windows desktop :)



I still haven’t been able to fix my tablet, so rather than let my blog die to due a small problem, I’ll talk about how to theme your desktop (all screenshots and links).

First off, let me tell you my “concept” of a nice desktop:

  • Tidy. Personally, I’d prefer NOT having a million icons on my desktop, sure it sometimes makes things easier to access, but there are other ways to find programs (e.g. win button then search)
  • HUD information. I’ve always wanted my desktop to have a “one glimpse” approach. I want my desktop to tell me: what time it is, what the weather is like, how many emails I have unread etc etc…
  • Sleek and consistent look. Now I’m being annoying =P I hate UI’s with round corners here, sharp corners there and colours that clash.
  • (Optional, but preferred) I would like the UI to be touch friendly =)

So keeping all those points in mind, here’s my current desktop:


General overview

And its definitely much more touch-friendly than stock windows. Let me give you a brief run over this awesome UI! As you can see, all my important information is  presented to me all the time. Time, date and weather is important… and other things like email and facebook are easily accessed to. Pretty much everything does something when clicked. You can even scroll sideward to put more stuff on like this:


The widgets like gmail open your account when pressed, the date widget takes me to my google calendar and there’s even a cool “lockscreen” when you press the clock (you’ll need to click and drag to unlock it):

The picture here is actually going to be the same pic of your NORMAL desktop.


But that weather report is so… stock and boring! If you click on it, you get awesome animated forecasts like this:


Yes, those clouds actually move =) I’m pretty sure it will show rain and stuff too, it showed a clear sky yesterday. Being obsessed with HTC widgets and stuff, this was top notch.


There’s this nifty little widget called “people” (and unsurprisingly, it also keeps animating itself to show your friends’ DP’s). Click on it and you’ll get a nice wall like this:


It’s nice a consistent with the whole design, but one thing I found annoying (it was so close to being perfect!!) was that you cannot comment or like directly. You’d need to click the status to open the browser and do it normally…

You can also add specific people to the desktop and only check their updates. No screenshot as I don’t think many of us would like to have our FB shown to public =P


If you didn’t already notice, my start orb and windows have also been themed to keep the design consistent. Personally, I find sharp corners more professional and clean… round corners are becoming overused and look tacky XP


If you’ve read up to here, I’d assume you’re pretty interested in getting into theming your desktop! Let me break down the parts of what I had to do:

  1. Changing the start orb. 
    This step is actually very easy, all you need to do is follow this link to find the tool. You’ll then need to find orbs you’d like to use. There are plenty on deviantart here, but the one I used was here (also from deviatart). If done correctly, your orb should change colour or glow when hovered over or pressed:

    normal orb <---- normal
    clicked orb <---- hover or pressed orb
  2. Changing your theme
    This step changes the way your windows look (e.g the sharp corners and buttons). My windows look like this now:

    This theme is called shine 2.0 from deviantart. There is a good set by step there. Again, there other themes you could use, I just like this one the most.

    NOTE: You’d need to change the explorer.dll file to change the navigation buttons. Instruction on how to take control and move it here, then just replace it with the one in the shine theme. 
  3. Desktop app
    I’d say this is probably the most important part of this HOWTO. The app “Mosaic” tries to recreate the UI shown in the windows 8 demo. It’s much more touch-friendly and takes cues from the “Metro UI” look.


    At the moment, the project is in beta phases (in fact the version I use now is only their first beta), but I’ve found the app to be usable on a daily basis. They’ve done an excellent job so far and I hope their development continues!

    Their project page (and download) can be found here
  4. Miscellaneous
    Well here’s a little something I thought I’d share as well (though I don’t actually have it running on my tablet). This app: “Aeroweather” changes the colour of your windows according to weather (yea, that weird weather fetish I have).

    Honestly, it changes a little TOO subtle for me, but its noticable. Dark grey is cloudy, blue is clear…. and you can also have it show according to temperature range. Downloadable here. Development seems to have died, but it still works very well.

    I’ve also read and tried Rainmeter with some themes, but I found that a little hard to use and it wasn’t actually touch-friendly.

And that’s about it =) Sure hope this HOWTO has helped you clean up your desktop abit… or make it prettier XD… I’d really like to fix my tablet so I can keep blogging, but I seriously don’t know how I an fix it… In the meantime, I’ll try to fill my blog with HOWTO’s and some origami or photography… Just to take up the space!

See you guys round!

No comment pic =( SADFACE.jpeg


Carmen Nguyen said...

Where can I download it? Sounds interesting...

Mylifeasacomic said...

>.> "can be found here"

Here's the link anyways :p

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