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My entry for September 2006 Desktops


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Here's my entry for September 2006 Desktops. It's basically the same setup as my August entry. However, I've since ResHacked 61 system files, adding icons, toolbars and animations.

I'm posting here instead of the usual thread due to the large number of screenshots. Yeah, I'm showing off a bit, but this was a lot of work! Comments much appreciated :)

Desktop and Explorer

I've recently installed CD Art Display. It doesn't yet work with jetAudio, but the dev is working on it. The visual style is my own blend of OSX and Windows elements. I also modified the Explorer/IE toolbars and created some animations for file operations.

(click to enlarge)



The Start Panel is now mostly devoted to system shortcuts. Program shortcuts are in the RocketDock and ShortPopUp menus.

(click to enlarge)



I started with the Longhorn Inspirat shell pack as a base, then wherever possible used icons by the artist RAD.E8 (site closed). I then used icons from MS Vista, OSX and various artists, mostly from CrystalXP. (Many of the icons are my personal mods of other icons, mostly RAD.E8's.)





I might release this as a shell pack, if there's enough interest and I get the required permissions. If I do, I'll call it "VistOSX RAD.E8ed".


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@mgadallah : Thanks! Unfortunately, I haven't yet received the permissions to release anything.

@TAiN : Actually, hardly any at all. I pretty much have Paint Shop Pro, IconWorkshop, uTorrent and jetAudio running 24/7 with no noticable drop in performance, and my system is nothing special by current standards. However, I keep my system clean and tight. My best advice for those just getting started:

  1. DO keep your drives defragged with plenty of free space (burn extra data like movies to DVD).
  2. DON'T use "system enhancers" like RAM defraggers, etc. They typically do more harm than good because they interfere with Windows' default methodology for system maintenance, and Windows gets VERY p*ssy about that.
  3. DON'T use bloatware like the Norton and MacAfee suites. You do NOT need all the bells and whistles. Instead, use an AV/firewall that does ONLY those two things. My personal choice is F-Secure, but there are other good programs out there that keep it simple.
  4. Be VERY careful about messing with Windows' services and other default settings. There's plenty of "advice" sites that are full of sh*t and/or out of date. Do only a couple of changes then watch your system for a day or two to see if they were good or not.
  5. BACKUP. BACKUP. BACKUP!!! My personal choice is Acronis True Image. I ALWAYS update the backup before making any serious changes or installing unknown software.
  6. Once a week, scan your system for spyware and clean out your internet cache with something like CCleaner.

One last thing: I don't use programs like StyleXP or IconPackager to mod my system. I either make changes to the Registry directly or reshack the system files themselves.

I've also noticed that there's been an increase in performance since I stripped all the unneeded icon formats from Shell32.dll and other system files, sticking with the following: 48x48 XP, 32x32 XP, 24x24 XP, 16x16 XP. Maybe that's just my imagination, but my system seems faster since getting rid of the large formats (128x128, etc.) and the old formats (256 colors and 16 colors). I'd be interested in getting some feedback on this.


Edited by coyotewrw
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@sylvianorth: Thanks! I think of my system as a gallery of my favorite artists; the real credit goes to them and their work. I'm just a semi-talented cut&paster.

As to how long it took, that's hard to say; it's more of an ongoing hobby. I've been working on this particular project for about six months, I think.

@Cykasm: Thanks! Unfortunhately, I'm not sure what to do now that RAD.E8 closed his site last week.

@undeadsoldier: Yep, still an annoying reality in the Windows world.

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coyotewrw that's a great work, but it looks "sad"(*) with so many greys and "greyscaled" colors (like IE icon). Good point is that's not distracting like original "Luna XP".

And i do really like the "portable player" icon. probably the best of the set :)

(*) : it's raining here today


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@Delprat: Hmm, interesting observation. Beyond wanting the colors to blend well with RAD.E8's icons, I like the muted blues and greys because they're relaxing and easy on my eyes. Bright colors get distracting to me after awhile.

Edited by coyotewrw
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I agree with you there. The background should be just that; a background that isn't too obnoxious so that you can easily focus on the important stuff in front of that background.

Mine is similar to yours, only I used orange and black. But they blend together to form a rough cloud-like pattern that doesn't distract the eye.

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@TAiN: You have a link to a screenshot? I'd like to see it. :)

What I like about the slideshow widget is I don't have to stick to just one pic. There's over 400 nature, coyote and cougar photos in the slideshow that transition every 15 min. The clouds wallpaper makes a nice background to that and the other widgets.

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