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For the last few years, I've been using a Surface Pro 4 as my primary work PC. It’s been a good machine, but now it has a screen flickering issue and the screen is just too small for daily use, so it was time to upgrade. I found a great deal on a Dell XPS 15 with a 4K screen at the Dell Outlet, so that will be my new work PC going forward. It arrived this week and since I spent all day setting it up, I thought it would be fun to show what I put on my PC to use it most efficiently.

FedEx delivered the XPS early in the morning about 2 days after I ordered it. I was glad it came early, because that meant I had the whole day to get it all set up! Of course, the very first thing to do once it’s un-boxed is to apply all the Windows updates... that took a few hours, especially since it had to download and install the recent Spring update for Windows 10.

Once all the Windows and driver updates were applied, it was time to start getting my apps installed. I’m going to go over what I consider to be my essential productivity apps for optimal workflow.


Fences
When setting up a new machine, Fences is almost always the very first app I put on it. I don’t want my PC desktop to be a mess, and that is exactly what Fences is designed to help with. It allows you to create fenced-in areas on your desktop where you can keep all your desktop icons organized. You can set up rules to make cleanup more automated, and you can even create folder portals for quick access to frequently used folders right on your desktop.

I set up just a few fences to start with, but I’ll add some additional fences once everything else is setup. I have a work fence where I keep all my frequently used work items such as social images and videos, notes, screenshots, and anything else directly related to work. I have a folder portal set up to "my downloads" folder; I often download all types of things, so quick access to that is a necessity. Then I have another fence for my desktop that I put miscellaneous items in just to keep it organized. I have all these fences set to roll-up so that they take up a minimum amount of desktop space.

Learn more about Fences here.

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Groupy
Groupy is the latest Stardock app, but it’s quickly proven itself to be a valuable tool on any Windows 10 PC. Groupy works similarly to how you use tabs in web browsers, but allows you to do the same with applications like Explorer windows, Excel spreadsheets, Adobe apps, and just about any other apps you use. I move a lot of files around, so just having this just for Explorer tabs is worth it, but I also find this so useful when working in multiple Microsoft Office apps so I can easily tab between them in one convenient window.

Learn more about Groupy here.

[video]https://youtu.be/17_ErhXYXmY[/video]


Start10

Start10  is a Windows Start menu replacement that gives users the features and customization options to make the Windows Start menu look and function like you want it to. I really like that it integrates with Fences, and that I can also apply some customizations like coloring options and custom start buttons.

Learn more about Start10 here.

[video]https://youtu.be/L8WhnveYUkA[/video]


SpaceMonger

This is a very useful app for either a new PC, or one that you have been using for a while. SpaceMonger lets you map and manage your storage space so that you can easily see what files and folders are taking up the most space on your hard drives. After I got all my software installed, I used SpaceMonger to see if I had anything taking up an unnecessary amount of hard drive space. I noticed that some installer and driver files were taking up a crazy amount of space, so I was able to delete those and got back several gigabytes of space.

Learn more about SpaceMonger here.

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Other PC Software
There's still a variety of other software that I need to install to get this PC ready for work. One of the other big ones if Microsoft Office. This was fairly simple, as it was already installed, and all I needed to do was associate my Office 365 account with it. I use Affinity Photo for image editing, Open Live Writer for writing my blogs, and 1Password for managing all the passwords I use.

I still have a few more things to setup, but for now my new work PC is about ready to go!

 

Many of these Stardock apps are available individually for your Windows PC, but you can get that and more with a low-cost membership to Object Desktop. While you're a member, you'll get free updates, access to all betas, and any new apps for one year.

Visit the Object Desktop site for more information.

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DeskScapes is an application for Windows 10/8/7 that lets you apply animated wallpapers to your desktop. It also gives you the ability to customize and manage static wallpapers by adding effects or recoloring your existing wallpapers. 

Try DeskScapes for free!
To purchase DeskScapes, click here.

Quick Overview
The screenshot below shows the DeskScapes user interface. The left side of the window shows all of your animated and static wallpapers.  Choose which folders to display and add or remove folders from the "Settings" option.

Tip! Get more animated wallpapers from WinCustomize.com

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Tip! Animated wallpapers have a small filmstrip icon on their thumbnail preview so you can see which are animated and which are static wallpapers. 

Selecting a wallpaper will bring up a preview which is displayed on the right side of the window. If it's an animated wallpaper, it will display an animated preview so you can see what the animation is. 

 

Settings and Effects
Depending on what type of wallpaper you're using, there may be additional settings available. For instance, the "Expanding Shapes" animated wallpaper is dynamic, so it can be customized further. There are additional options to adjust the size of the shapes, how many shapes are used, and how fast the animation should be. 

Tip! The cool Expanding Shapes dynamic wallpaper is included with DeskScapes

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Clicking the "Effects" tab will bring up a large list of available effects.  These will work on both animated/static wallpapers, along with your images/videos.  Examples include; Grayscale, Motion Blur, Textured, and my favorite, Snow.  Selecting each filter will bring up a preview of the effect on your chosen wallpaper for a quick preview.  DeskScapes also allows you to combine effects so you can create a custom look of your own.

Tip! The Snow effect adds animated falling snow over your wallpaper for a very cool effect.

 

Applying Wallpapers
After you've selected a wallpaper to use, simply click "Apply" on the bottom right corner of DeskScapes and your selected wallpaper will apply to your desktop. If you use multiple monitors you will also have the option to "Apply to all monitors", or select which monitor to apply the wallpapers to.

Tip! DeskScapes lets you apply a different wallpaper to each monitor also!

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Learn more about DeskScapes here.

DeskScapes is available individually for your Windows PC, but you can get that and more with a low-cost membership to Object Desktop. While you're a member, you'll get free updates, access to all betas, and any new apps for one year. You’ll also get access to other great programs like Groupy, Start10, Fences, WindowBlinds, Multiplicity, and more!

Visit the Object Desktop site for more information.

 

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Happy Friday! Today we are featuring a new WindowBlinds skin from Z71. Acadia has a dark, minimal design that is perfect for daily use on your Windows desktop. 

This is designed for Windows 10, 8, and 7, and I definitely recommend downloading this one today.

Download here: https://www.wincustomize.com/explore/windowblinds/8888/

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We've previously talked about Folder Portals, a really cool feature that makes finding what you need quick and easy. This week, I thought we’d take a look at another new feature: Pages.  This is great for people who have a lot of icons on their desktop, or like to keep them super-organized with multiple Fences. 

With the Pages feature, you can create a virtual desktop of sorts with your icons and Fences that can be switched by pulling on the edge of your screen.  A quick animation is really the best way to show it:

Alternatively, you can configure the pages to switch using the middle mouse button drag, keyboard combos, and a few other methods.  To access all of these settings just open up the Fences configuration and select Desktop Pages.

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Learn more about Fences here.

Fences is available individually for your Windows PC, but you can get that and more with a low-cost membership to Object Desktop. While you're a member, you'll get free updates, access to all betas, and any new apps for one year. You’ll also get access to other great programs like Groupy, Start10, DeskScapes, WindowBlinds, Multiplicity, and more!

Visit the Object Desktop site for more information.

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Happy Star Wars Day! May the 4th is a day that has become a “holiday” of sorts to many Star Wars fan around the globe. It was originally started as a pun and has developed into a day of movie marathons, merchandise sales, social media activity, and much more.

We thought it would be fun to join in and feature some of our favorite Star Wars inspired skins that we have here on WinCustomize.


Jedi Interceptor by don5318

 

OldRepublic by MikeB314

 

Fett by MikeB314

 

Jedi Starfighter by RPGFX

 

Lightsaber by Island Dog

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May 1, 2018 1:50 PM by Discussion: WinCustomize Talk

Post those desktops!

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We had some questions come in asking about some of the additional features of WindowBlinds regarding textures and backgrounds, so I wanted to write a post going into more detail about it.  These are all features that aren’t really difficult to use, but if you are a new user you just might not be familiar with where everything is and how they work.

If you are completely new to WindowBlinds, let me recommend you also take a read through the WindowBlinds 10 Walkthrough: Changing your Desktop Theme.

Get WindowBlinds here.

 

Colors, Textures, and Fonts
On most WindowBlinds skins, you’ll see an option to 'modify skin' on the right of the WindowBlinds interface. Clicking that will bring up the options for Color, Transparency, Texture, and Fonts. Clicking one of those expands the section with all the available options for that particular feature. We’ll start out with selecting Color, and that will bring up the coloring options in WindowBlinds. Using this option you can change the color of a WindowBlinds skin by selecting a color and using the sliders to adjust it even further. You can just the brightness and saturation, and there’s also options to adjust the range and primary skin colors. Of course you can also stick with WindowBlinds smart recoloring which will give you excellent results. Note that some skins will accept color changes better than others depending on their design.

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The last option in the Color tab is for fonts.  Here you can override the font that is defined in the skin, and you also have the option to adjust the size of the fonts.


Transparency
Next we have the Transparency option which gives you the ability to change the transparency of the start menu, task bar, window frames, and context menus. Just adjust the sliders to the amount of transparency you want, and apply the changes to see them in use. 

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Textures
Textures is another feature available in WindowBlinds that gives users the ability to add textures to a WindowBlinds skin.  When adding a texture, it can dramatically change the way a skin looks depending on what type of texture image is used.  There are a bunch of textures included, and it’s fairly simple to create and add your own so you can customize a skin to your personal liking.

We even have a WindowBlinds Texture gallery on WinCustomize.com where people can download textures other people have made and shared.

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WindowBlinds is available individually for your Windows PC, but you can get that and more with a low-cost membership to Object Desktop. While you're a member, you'll get free updates, access to all betas, and any new apps for one year. You’ll also get access to other great programs like Groupy, Start10, DeskScapes, Fences, Multiplicity, and more!

Visit the Object Desktop site for more information.

 

 

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Happy Friday! This week we're featuring a new Master WindowBlinds skin from adni18 called Stylish Design. This skin has a minimal design that works great on the desktop and is perfect for daily use. 

Remember, if you are a WinCustomize subscriber you get 20% off Master skins. If you're not a subscriber already, head over here and get started.

Get it here: https://www.wincustomize.com/explore/windowblinds/8878/

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Apr 17, 2018 5:00 PM by Discussion: Personal Computing

Fences is one of our most popular apps, and one of the coolest features is the ability to create folder portals.

This allows you to take a folder and create a Fence on the desktop with the contents of that folder. This is so convenient and useful for so many reasons, but being able to directly interact with a folder as a fence is just cool.  Not all folders need or can be placed on the desktop, so this gives you the opportunity to work with them regardless of where they reside on your drive.

Get Fences here.

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There’s several ways to get a folder portal going:

Right-click and drag on your desktop like you would for a normal fence. You will now have an option for a Folder Portal here.

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Right-click a folder and create the Folder Portal from there.

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Hold the Alt key while dragging/dropping a folder to your desktop.

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Learn more about Fences here.

Fences is available individually for your Windows PC, but you can get that and more with a low-cost membership to Object Desktop. While you're a member, you'll get free updates, access to all betas, and any new apps for one year. You’ll also get access to other great programs like Groupy, Start10, DeskScapes, WindowBlinds, Multiplicity, and more!

Visit the Object Desktop site for more information.

1 Reply Reply 33 Referrals

Happy Friday! Blue Chrome is a new WindowBlinds skin that came in this week from don5318. A cool design with an awesome color makes this a great pick for the week. Be sure to download this one and check it out.

Download here: https://www.wincustomize.com/explore/windowblinds/8875/

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