capsule review

Object Desktop

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Object Desktop

Six primary components in the suite handle all the customizations. WindowBlinds themes can completely change the look of your Start menu, program windows and task bar, while IconPackager swaps in new icons for things like the Recycle Bin and My Computer icons.

DesktopX allows for Vista Sidebar-like widgets such as clocks, calendars and weather utilities, as well as deeper customizations (and in Vista, its gadgets can be put into the Sidebar). And DeskScapes for Vista (only) can turn your static desktop wallpaper into an animated display, such as an aquarium. SoundPackager, as the name implies, can bring in new sounds for all the Windows actions at once.

While digging into these individual applications can take some time--and prove somewhat confusing for beginning Object Desktop users--you can use the final MyColors component to easily apply a single MyColors theme that uses all the other components to customize Windows.

Stardock says Object Desktop users will get at least four MyColors themes free per year, and can purchase additional themes for $8 each (or more for themes that use licensed content). You can also download packages for each individual component from Wincustomize.com. In particular, there are a huge number of free WindowBlinds themes available for download.

The company uses a new distribution platform called Impulse to manage and update the different Object Desktop components. Impulse installs automatically when you download the Object Desktop Suite.

In addition to the standard Object Desktop for $49.95, Stardock also offers an Ultimate version for $69.95 that includes additional editors and utilities intended for power users.

If you enjoy changing your desktop's look and feel, it's hard to beat Stardock's array of tools.

--Erik Larkin

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Object Desktop

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