Making Your Vista Desktop Sexy

It may be a completely psychological thing, but Vista’s look holds bad “memories” for me. The first time I used Vista, it was on a Toshiba Satellite that either had 512MB or 1GB of RAM. Needless to say, it was SLOW.

Surprisingly, I have been pleased with Vista thus far. It runs fast with 3GB memory and devoid of Microsoft Office, the search features are addictive, and the speech recognition is a nice bonus. However, because of my first experience, I have never cared for Vista’s “look”. Thankfully, due to some flippin’ sweet (free!) software, I am incredibly happy, as you can see by the snapshot of my desktop below.

Clean, polished, and sexy.

Probably the biggest thing I have enjoyed is RocketDock. I’ve mentioned it once or twice in a previous entry, but words cannot describe RocketDock, except to say that it’s MacOSX navigation on a Vista machine. Plus, it’s easy to use. Just drag icons onto the dock to add them, or drag them off to remove them. The one thing you may need to change is the icon of the shortcut you’re trying to add. You will want to find a .PNG file that has a transparent background. I’ve had great success simply searching for, say, “FireFox .png”.

You can also customize your Vista log-in screen.  The green and blue modern Vista background can get really old, really fast, but with a thing called StarDock, you can change this.   Just download their LogOnStudio and install.  This nifty piece of software allows you to create your own screens, upload them, or download user-submitted screens from their site.  While I’m generally very into originality, some of the user-submitted screens are downright cool.

The Vista Sidebar is surprisingly useful. In fact, I can truly say that I enjoy it more than Yahoo Widgets, and even, though it pains me to say it, Google Desktop. They gadgets are clean, polished, and simple to use. Plus, you can download tons of gadgets to suit your needsfrom the Microsoft Gallery.

Next, I’ve found it helpful to auto-hide the Windows taskbar. Though this can sometimes get annoying, and I may soon change it back, it adds visual appeal to the desktop. Also, I have chosen to NOT hide the inactive icons in the “Notification Area”.

Don’t want to be a flower, robot, or kitten? Simply change your logon picture. Vista makes this easy. All you have to do is go to the Control Panel, click on “User Accounts”, then your name, then “Change your picture”. There should be a link underneath the selection of icons that says “Browse for more pictures…”. Click this, select a photo, and voila!

Now, all you have to do is find a cool wallpaper, keep your desktop clean, and you have a nice looking, hopefully smooth running, Vista machine!

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