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Five little desktop enhancement tools that do a really good job at making your desktop more functional and a lot better looking. It’s quite probable that you haven’t heard about any of of them before, so check them out.

Animated Desktop

Want to use your motion screensaver as a wallpaper? Using Animated Desktop you can emulate the functionality of Vista Ultimate DreamScene (video screensaver) both on Windows XP and Vista Home edition. If you’re planning on getting it, I highly recommend to use it together with the previously mentioned Rocketdock 5 Tools to Make Windows XP Look Like Vista 5 Tools to Make Windows XP Look Like Vista Read More .

Animated Desktop - Video screensaver on XP and Vista Home Edition


Another cool program you should definitely check out. Volumouse provides you with a quick way to control the volume on your system by using your mouse wheel. It lets you define a set of events when the wheel will be used for changing volume, i.e. when the Alt key is hold down, when the mouse cursor is over the taskbar, etc. It doesn’t interfere with exisitng mouse functionalities.


Volumouse - Contol Volume using Mouse Wheel


This little app lets you choose between incredibly cool looking Windows mouse cursor themes. You can either select one of the default themes or easily create your own cursors. It integrates into the standard Mouse interface of Windows and is easy to turn on and off as you need. Works both on XP and Windows Vista.

CursorFX - Windows Cursor Themes

KeyLemon (Win XP Only)

This program automatically locks/unlocks your computer by looking at your face. It is light on system resources and takes seconds to configure. It’s not something that will make your computer a lot more secure but works quite well if you want to impress women ;-)

Real Desktop (XP / Vista)

You have probably heard about Bumtop – application that transforms your desktop to a 3D play ground. It makes your icons look and act like real objects that you can touch and move as on a real desk. The only problem with it: it’s been in closed alpha for ages. However, there is another program that delivers pretty much the same interface and you can get it right now. This program is called Real Desktop and it even comes with a free version. Although a freeware version offers no styling options it is still enough to get a feel of it. Check out my sreenshot and a video demo that I found on Youtube.

Real Desktop

Real Desktop video demo

Bonus: Another simple and memory-friendly 3D desktop freeware is Matodate. This one can reduce all active Windows to 3D mode. I personally didn’t like it, but looking at the article comments, seems like it has some fans too.

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  1. mike
    February 13, 2017 at 3:25 am

    All these tools you list are great are great, but there are many more.
    Find and run robot
    Slick run
    FSL launcher
    Fast launcher
    Free launch bar
    Jet start
    Launchbar commander
    Magic formation and so on.
    But my favorite is Classic shell. I admit I have a bone to pick with GUI creators. Most people desire not the newest "thing" but want to get work done and familiarity lends itself to the task oriented of us that don't want to "relearn" everything. Imagine if every car you bought had a radical "GUI" design where you have to find the driver,s seat, the steering wheel, the start mechanism, all the knobs and levers were in different places etc. etc. This would quickly get tiresome for those who just want to get in and go.

    That is why I like Classic shell, install it and set the controls once (for any Windows system) and off you go everything is in the same place as the old windows system. This user behavior can be seen with the latest GUI for Ubuntu Linux, it set off a stampede from Ubuntu to Mint Linux which has the more traditional drop down menu system. You would think, with all the education these GUI designers get that they would have figured at least this one simple thing about most people.

  2. KP
    June 7, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    hi. i installed real desktop light. i can't add any icons of the applications i use. is that possible only in the paid versions?.

  3. jake
    April 14, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    i have win vista home sp1 and real desktop worked once for a few minutes and then crashed. tried relaunching numerous times and problem kept occuring when chaning angle of room with custom wallpapers applied. restarted computer and relaunched real desk. but now crashes once loaded.

  4. best
    March 18, 2009 at 7:16 am

    @Vignesh: did you even try KeyLemon ? You can type your login password if the software doesn't recognizes you. This program actually types in the password for you when it recognizes your face, nothing more. Everything else is just smoke and mirrors. The even more downside is that it only allows one face per login account.
    Better try veriface recognition, does the same thing only it`s free

    • Peter
      April 27, 2009 at 5:10 pm

      Fine buddy, but Keylemon is not only logon/logoff recognition. It also detects if you leave your computer and locks it, then unlocks it when you return.

      If Veriface looks and works anything like the software Toshiba uses, it's crap. I am trying it out but there's a reason why Keylemon has gotten so popular. It WORKS and it ALWAYS works.

  5. hotmale09
    December 11, 2008 at 4:28 am

  6. john smith
    September 24, 2008 at 2:24 am

    real desktop is the best!

  7. SeventySeven
    March 30, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    I use RocketDock and I love it! Works well with Vista too.

  8. Heidi
    March 1, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    Hey, what's your wallpaper from that pic? Where can I download it? =) It's pretty sweet!

    • Aibek
      March 7, 2008 at 2:37 pm

      Are you referring to the first one? It's a screensaver. :-)

  9. David
    February 28, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    RocketDock and Animated Desktop work really well together and make sitting in front of the screen a little less boring - thanks for the recommendation.

    I'm sure that there are many sites out there with screensavers for XP but can anyone recommend a good one - especially if suited for the animated desktop?

  10. David
    February 28, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    Sorry - last message was a mistake.

    Thanks for the XP feedback.

  11. David
    February 28, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    I'm also using RocketDock - like it very much.

    Re Animated Desktop:
    I followed the above link to a forum that seemed to relate to Vista only - with it's associated download .exe. There seems to be no reference to XP.

    Can this really be achieved on XP - if so, any comments on how - has anyone tried it on XP?

    • Aibek
      March 7, 2008 at 1:46 pm

      True, on the forum they don't mention anything abt XP. But I asked my friend who is on XP to ty it out and it worked.

  12. Vignesh
    February 28, 2008 at 1:32 am

    I have a couple of questions.
    I installed RealDesktop and it is not at all running. When i open it, it says "RealDesktop has to shut down. Sorry".

    And, with KeyLemon, what would i do if my face changes due to some reason ? I won't be able to use my computer forever ?

    • Aibek
      March 7, 2008 at 1:35 pm

      Are you using XP or Vista?

      As about the Keylemon, well if your face changes then I guess you will have to find a way to crack it. :-)

      • Peter
        April 27, 2009 at 5:06 pm

        Keylemon does not look at your face as a "picture" but at your general facial structure, the same as law enforcement facial recognition, like you see in NCIS. It calcuates the position of nose, mouth and eyes and ears in relation to each other and also uses your image but only as a reference.

  13. Jonathan Bennett
    February 27, 2008 at 9:19 am

    I like my computer simple and boring. It was only recently that I decided to go ahead and start using the regular XP theme instead of "Windows Classic."

    RocketDock looks cool, but I'm happy with my little Quick Launch bar.

  14. Chris
    February 27, 2008 at 6:45 am

    CursorFX seems to work OK

  15. David
    February 27, 2008 at 6:33 am

    I'm also using RocketDock - like it very much.

    Re Animated Desktop:
    I followed the above link to a forum that seemed to relate to Vista only - with it's associated download .exe. There seems to be no reference to XP.

    Can this really be achieved on XP - if so, any comments on how?

    • Aibek
      February 27, 2008 at 9:53 am

      We tested it on XP and it worked fine. It's a standalone app, juzt unzip and run it.

  16. Swiss
    February 27, 2008 at 2:33 am

    RK Launcher is a nice free variant to RocketDock

  17. Shreela
    February 27, 2008 at 1:41 am

    I installed RocketDock recently, and it seems very easy on the system. I notice no load time differences, unlike Desktop Sidebar.