What it is
Object Desktop is a suite of desktop enhancement utilities designed to enable users to turbo-charge their Windows experience. It has been described over the years as a “third party upgrade to Windows”.
With Windows 7 arriving on the eve of the 10th anniversary since the initial Windows release of Object Desktop, this year’s version is particularly special. This article will walk you through the basic elements of Object Desktop, what’s new since last year, and why it has remained so popular with power users.
Anyone who gets Object Desktop today will automatically get Object Desktop 2010 plus everything we release for a year from their purchase.
There are many programs that make up Object Desktop but a few of them are the real-stand outs and have gotten the lion’s share of the effort this year.
The featured programs of Object Desktop 2010
Below are just a few highlights…
Since its initial launch, WindowBlinds has been the star of Object Desktop and in November, WindowBlinds 7 gets released on its own and is already in late beta on Object Desktop as I write this. Having been involved on WindowBlinds since the start, I can safely say that this version is definitely the most significant update ever.
Here are some highlights:
WindowBlinds 7: Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7 users get a massive upgrade.
Native support for Windows 7
WindowBlinds 7 can skin Windows Aero.
The new WindowBlinds configuration screen
Remember all those skins made in the Windows XP era? No problem, they will work natively on Windows Vista and Windows 7 and can now be modified in the program to be better than ever.
Apply textures your skins to create your own custom look. You can even create your own textures right from the program.
Fences Pro 1
Fences is a brand-new program that lets people organize their desktop icons easily. It can also, with a simple double-click, hide all your icons at once. It’s quickly become one of the most popular programs on the Internet.
Fences makes it easy to organize your desktop.
A fence can hide a lot of clutter.
Double-click on the desktop and all your icons will disappear. Double-click again to bring them back.
Creating a fence is as easy holding the right mouse button down and dragging
Fences Pro goes beyond what is in the free version and allows users to have Fences collect new icons based on type – auto organizing their desktop.
DeskScapes is the world’s most popular animated wallpaper program.
The first version allowed users of Windows Vista to apply a new type of wallpaper called “Dreams” that were either video or rendered animation dynamically. The second version added support for Windows XP. The new version, Version 3, adds support for “Hybrid” dreams which allows users to take a static picture and animate it. In addition, it also supports adding effects to your existing wallpaper gallery.
Here’s an overview in pictures:
DeskScapes gets a new, easy to use configuration screen
Your existing wallpaper library gets a whole new life thanks to effects. All effects are done on the fly without ever effecting the actual wallpaper.
Got a cool photo that is too colorful as a wallpaper? Use the DeskScapes Sepia effect to tone it down. Doesn’t touch the actual file, just the wallpaper in memory.
Hybrid dreams allow users to integrate animated pieces into static images. As a result, a subtle, interesting animated wallpaper can be made that isn’t distracting and uses virtually no CPU. Users can even pick and choose which animated elements to use.
There are thousands of high quality animated wallpapers (Dreams) available on the net already and with DeskScapes 3, you can apply effects to them as well.
Got a large screen monitor and your wallpapers are a lower resolution? Then you will definitely want DeskScapes 3. It has options to take those wallpapers and apply effects so that they look good at higher resolutions. DeskScapes even provides options for handling wallpaper on multiple monitors.
DesktopX is a program that allows users to add true “objects” to their Windows desktop. DesktopX 4 is the long-awaited update that adds full support for Windows Vista and Windows 7 and streamlines its user interface. Here’s a sample of what it can do:
Now adding an object is as easy as right-clicking on the desktop.
Users can export their creations as objects (to be used within DesktopX), widgets (programs on a system that has DesktopX), or as a Windows sidebar gadget.
Users can gather their objects together and build desktops and then save them as a .desktop.
IconPackager is a program that enables users to apply packages of icons to their Windows system to change all their icons at once or individually.
IconPackager gets support for Windows 7.
Windows 7 specific icons can now be easily changed in one spot.
Right-click on a data file and IconPackager 5 will allow you to change the icon for that file type and can even sort through different icon packages to find just the right icon.
The Impulse Dock
Object Desktop 2010 now automatically includes the Impulse Dock. This simple dock snaps to the taskbar and can be set to auto-hide.
This simple and powerful dock makes it easy to organize the programs you regularly run and complements your existing taskbar.
Customize the look of your dock with the included high-resolution icons or use your own.
If you have Windows Vista or Windows 7, then the new version of Stardock’s premiere tweaking program (TweakVista and Tweak7) will help you get the most out of Windows. Here’s some of what’s new:
Tweak7’s simplified interface makes it much easier to find out what’s running on your system and help get rid of all the junk that gets loaded safely.
Fine tune the UAC even beyond what Windows 7 can do (even on Windows Vista).
Windows tends to try to force you to put all your “stuff” on the C drive. Tweak7 allows users to safely and seamlessly move those directories to other partitions – without even having to reboot normally.
Theme Manager helps put it all together. The new version of Theme Manager refocuses on .Suites. A suite includes everything you need to change your desktop – a WindowBlinds skin, an icon package, a DeskScapes dream, DesktopX objects, etc. all put together and applied from a single UI.
The new Theme Manager includes several new suites right within it along with some exclusive animated wallpapers for DeskScapes users.
This is just a quick summary of some of the work Stardock has done on Object Desktop these past few months. There’s a lot more to it than this and there’s a lot of great stuff cooking in our labs for the forthcoming year too.
If you don’t have Object Desktop, you can get it here: www.objectdesktop.com.
On December 2, 2009, Object Desktop and Object Desktop Ultimate will be merged into Object Desktop. Users with Object Desktop Ultimate will get a full year added to their account (so now is the ideal time to pick up Object Desktop Ultimate).
Object Desktop: It’s like getting the next version of Windows today!