Effectively organized your Windows desktop to the next level !

Desktop

Ever wonder how to optimize your daily used computer desktop? Want something cool like Mac OSX stacks in Windows? Doesn’t feel like putting all the icons on the desktop that blocked the view of a nice wallpaper? Or get something organized in the tabbed style like in Firefox? The answer is: You got it all here. Introducing you three software that I would like to talk about: Alastria 7stacks, iWonder Designs LLC Sticks and Stardocks Fence. All three software here are all free and very useful for you to customize your desktop.

Alastria 7stacks

Alastria 7stacks is one of the best desktop customization software that I ever used, even though not entirely flawless, but it works quite well for me in organizing and accessing my daily used applications. What’s more impressing me is that the software utilized the aero theme in Windows Vista/7 (Not on XP since XP doesn’t have aero theme), make it even more cool to use. And this software was inspired by the Mac OSX dock to the author, which in my opinion 7stacks should be come in the default package in Windows 7. Below are some screenshots showing both Mac OSX dock (left) and 7stacks in Windows 7 in action (right):

MacOSX docks 7stacks in action

Looks pretty cool eh? That’s it, you can have all your favorite shortcuts all stacked in one 7stacks, be it a games stack, applications stack etc, only limited by your organizing skills. Besides, here are some features of 7 stacks:

  • In 7 and Vista, 7stacks uses Aero, making the stacks look like part of Windows itself.
  • Browse subfolders within a stack, just like in OS X Snow Leopard.
  • 3 different styles of stacks: Normal, Grid, and Menu
    • Normal displays a stack of icons vertically, with a text description next to it.
    • Grid displays a “squarish” grid of icons only; useful when displaying a large number of items like document folders.
    • Menu displays a cascading menu of items, with a very small icon and a name next to it. Hover over subfolders to browse inside those folders.
  • In Windows 7, create a new stack by right-clicking on any stack and selecting “Create New Stack” from the JumpList entry.
  • In Menu mode, 7stacks doesn’t even need to be in a toolbar. You can use it right from your desktop, or any other folder.
  • Pin up to 10 different stacks on the Windows 7 taskbar

Check out some screenshots before you decided to download this if you want, but I can assure you that the software is pretty nice to use and hope the developer won’t stop developing it. It is only around 1MB, so why not? Download it here.

Update 06.10.2009: I couldn’t find it work in my RTM version of Windows 7 x64 Professional, it works pretty well in Windows 7 RC. Not sure if the problem I encounter is the common one, but it seems that the software will have an update before the retail box release. The author has been informed I supposed. Check here and here.

Update 07.10.2009: It has been confirmed that it will not work in some Windows 7 RTM as stated by Derek Moore himself. He will make a public beta within weeks for us RTM user. What’s more he mentioned he got another project that will be exclusive for Windows 7 and free as well, hopefully it will be another hit software.

iWonder Designs LLC Sticks

Sticks is a software that I just realized after I read it somewhere online. The concept of the software is the same as the now famous tabbed browser in Firefox or Google chrome, where you access something you need in a tabbed form and keep it back when you doesn’t need it. Although this software doesn’t make use of the Aero theme as the eye candy, but the functionalities are overall good enough for someone that like to organize their shortcuts, important folders etc in tabbed from on the desktop. Below screenshot (from makeuseof.com) would give you some idea what it is all about:

Tabs on desktop This is only an example. You can do as many tabs as you want and doesn’t even need to have one shortcut icon on the desktop itself! What’s more Sticks allows you to create 6 different type of tabs (from makeuseof.com):

Types of tab

  • Calendar
  • Calculator
  • Notes
    • Allows you to store any texts in Rich Text Format, be it your to-do list or draft proposal.
  • Navigator
    • This can be used to access your important folders or your favorite URL link. Works pretty much like a miniature Windows explorer.
  • RSS Reader
    • Besides that, Stick offers an RSS reader of its own. Complete with auto refresh and previews you can view one or more RSS feeds in an RSS tab. It can also notify you of new items in the feed via a popup.
  • TaskBar
    • Displays a list of all items you have opened, similar to the Windows Taskbar

Feel like wanted to make your desktop clean and organized? Go on ahead and try sticks! You can download it here.

Stardocks Fence

Stardocks Corp, a company that famous for it’s Windows theme customization software, WindowsBlind which is quite famous for the computer users that are looking for a change to the bored-dull theme in Windows. Not long ago, they come out with Fences, a desktop icons organizing and customizing software, which they claim it to be “just what your desktop has always needed”, sounds true to me. I had always thought of whether there is any software can hide all my icons at once and come back when I needed them, and there goes, Fences is the solution.

Desktop Fences

What it does is that you can organize your shortcut icons/files/folder into different labeled shaded area on the desktop easily. And the most impressive one is that the patent-pending quick-hide feature, which with just a double click on the empty area of the desktop, all the icons on the desktop (can be customized) will disappear in a fraction of seconds. By this, you can always have time to appreciate your nice wallpaper on the desktop without obstructed by all the icons.

Some of the basic features in the Fences:

Basic Features

  • Rope off your desktop
    • Fences allows you to create shaded areas on your desktop that you can place icons in. You can label them however you wish, and move/resize them anywhere on the desktop. Pre-included layouts help speed the process for new users.
  • See your wallpaper again! Quickly hide & show all your icons with an easy double-click
    • Double click blank space on your desktop, and all your icons will fade out. Double click again, and they’ll return. We think this feature is so useful and unique, that we’ve applied for a patent on it. And with the upcoming Fences FeaturePack / included in the community preview, you can even pick icons and individual Fences to exclude.
  • SmartFences, snapshots, skinning, automatic scaling (for screen size changes), and more

Check out here for more screenshots of the software. Else if you interested already to try out, head to here and download it. It’s definitely free for personal use and they promised it will remain free, so definitely a good news for Fences lover.

Note: Please be aware that the stardock’s impulse program will be installed along with Fences. If you doesn’t require to use it, just disable it from the startup.

Summary

Hopefully the software that I introduced here can help you to better organizing your own desktop and happy using Windows!

Download link are below in case you missed it in the article:

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