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computer customizationWhat does it mean to customize your computer? Does it mean to have the coolest looking desktop? Well, that’s part of it, but not completely. First off, you want your desktop to be functional. Not just “cool looking.” That said, customizing your desktop does have a key role in personalizing your computer. And also, since the desktop is a primary location for where we do our work, it tends to also be the home of many computer customization tools.

In this article we will take a look at some of the best and most functional tools to help you personalize your computer. Again, you don’t necessarily have to follow what other users do, but use the tools to make your system your own – that is a truly personalized computer.

Your Personal Computer, Mac Style

The dock on the Mac is one of the most envied features of Windows users. And perhaps you already knew that there are tools for Windows that can mimic this feature. If not, your mind will be opened to awesome new capabilities on your Windows computer.

RocketDock

RocketDock is not an uncommon topic here on MakeUseOf. It’s been featured in several articles, including my own How To Clean Up Your Windows Desktop Once & For All How To Clean Up Your Windows Desktop Once & For All Your desktop is a mess. Admit it. Just like a desk with papers all over, a messy computer desktop is far from productive. Plus, it just doesn’t look nice. If you’re having issues finding the... Read More , and rightfully so – it’s an awesome program. So why would you want to use RocketDock if you have never tried it before?

Well, besides being open to trying new things, it can really help clean up your desktop and keep things organized with the addition of Stack Docklet. Stack Docklet is a small add-on of sorts that allows you to “open” folders directly from RocketDock. In essence, you aren’t really opening the folder itself (although you can by clicking the arrow at the bottom), but creating a shortcut for it to appear in the form of a “stack.”

computer customization

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It is best described through an image. There are a lot of customizations of RocketDock including the themes of the icons and the dock itself, but I feel the Stack Docklet is one of the most useful changes. In my opinion, RocketDock wouldn’t be the same without it.’

It’s also worth mentioning that RocketDock isn’t the only dock for Windows Docks - The 6 Best Friends of your Windows Taskbar Docks - The 6 Best Friends of your Windows Taskbar Read More . ObjectDock is another free and very popular dock that I would recommend looking into.

Organize Your Desktop Icons

We’ve all seen that desktop that looked like every shortcut imaginable was on it. Let’s obliterate that image from our mind now and imagine a neatly organized desktop, customized by us.

Fences

computer customization software

Fences Turn Your Windows Desktop From Cluttered To Useful For Free With Fences Turn Your Windows Desktop From Cluttered To Useful For Free With Fences I'd like to start this post with a small request: Hit Win+D for me. I'll wait here. Go ahead, do it. Okay, done? What did you see? Was it a hot mess of cluttered icons... Read More is the application that can do this for you. It works by organizing shortcuts based on type into clusters on your desktop. And with one click they all can “disappear.” It’s a pretty nifty little application and many MakeUseOf readers have already found it useful for their PC customization.

Launch Applications With Style

When using a dock, usually you’re limited a bit by the size. And you don’t want to overload it with every single application because that may not look very good. So how do you quickly access everything else that isn’t on your dock or being organized with Fences?

Launchy

computer customization software

Aptly named, Launchy allows you to find and launch any program with a quick keyboard key stroke. It’s a fairly simple application, but still has several customization options.

Additional Desktop “Add-Ons”

There are two other programs that I recommend trying for even more customization for your computer. The level of function varies between them somewhat and they certainly aren’t equals. However I feel they provide a decent level of variance depending on your ambition to customize.

Rainlendar

computer customization software

Rainlendar provides you with several options such as a calendar, to do list, clock and weather. These all seem basic, but combined with theming, it can add a nice touch to a clean desktop and provide you with some additional functionality as well.

Rainmeter

customize your computer

Rainmeter has many more extensive features and can be customized more than you could imagine. I’ve dabbled with it, but I know even what I have done hasn’t been to its full capability. Ryan wrote a great article covering it Customize Your Windows 7 Desktop With Emerge, Enigma & Rainmeter Customize Your Windows 7 Desktop With Emerge, Enigma & Rainmeter Having followed the progression of the Windows operating system, I can comfortably say that Windows 7 is probably the most well polished version of this constantly evolving operating system. With that said, watching cool new... Read More , combined with Emerge Desktop. This is probably one of the biggest computer customizations you can make. If you have the time and patience, I encourage you to try Rainmeter. You will be customizing late into the night, but come 5.00AM, your desktop will look phenomenal.

Here’s an example of one of mine a couple years back.

customize your computer

Samurize is another similar program Dress Up Your Windows Sidebar with Samurize Dress Up Your Windows Sidebar with Samurize Read More , but with settings that seem a little bit more difficult to configure than Rainmeter.

More Tools For Customization

Like I said in the beginning, customizing isn’t all about your desktop. There are tools (and more tools Customize Your Windows Right-Click Menu with These Tools Customize Your Windows Right-Click Menu with These Tools Who doesn't love a shortcut? We have compiled three tools that let you add custom shortcuts to your Windows right-click or context window. Read More ) for customizing your right-click menu 7 Awesome Tools To Enhance Your Right-Click Menu [Windows] 7 Awesome Tools To Enhance Your Right-Click Menu [Windows] The Windows right-click menu is a feature that we may often take for granted, but it can really make our lives easier. Advanced users probably don’t use it that much, having learned all the necessary... Read More , adjusting notifications 5 Distracting Desktop Notifications & How To Turn Them Off [Windows] 5 Distracting Desktop Notifications & How To Turn Them Off [Windows] When you are working on a computer, it takes a fair bit of will power to resist the attempt to multitask. But even if you manage to restrain yourself, many programs manage to throw in... Read More and changing the appearance of windows and toolbars 5 Programs To Customize The Appearance of Windows & Toolbars [Windows] 5 Programs To Customize The Appearance of Windows & Toolbars [Windows] Even in the latest version of Windows, Microsoft manages to (probably intentionally) leave out many thoughtful customization preferences when it comes to personalizing your visual experience. I'm not the type of guy who goes nuts... Read More .

One customization that I like is adding sticky notes to your screen.

customize your computer

But that seems a little inefficient, so instead I use a program like PNotes PNotes - Fast, Lightweight, Open-Source Sticky Notes Program For Your Desktop/USB Flash Drive [Windows] PNotes - Fast, Lightweight, Open-Source Sticky Notes Program For Your Desktop/USB Flash Drive [Windows] Read More or Hott Notes Bring Sticky Notes To Your Deskop With Hott Notes [Windows] Bring Sticky Notes To Your Deskop With Hott Notes [Windows] Through the use of sticky notes, I feel like I've been able to just about double my daily productivity. Being able to have physical reminders that nagged for certain tasks to be completed was a... Read More .

Conclusion – The Final Touches

With all of these tools, you are almost set up to have your computer completely personalized to your liking. There’s one thing missing though – themes, skins and wallpaper. We, at MakeUseOf, have actually shared some of our very own wallpaper. From Us To You: 6 Beautiful, Original Wallpapers By MakeUseOf Authors From Us To You: 6 Beautiful, Original Wallpapers By MakeUseOf Authors Every now and then, I write a wallpaper column. I usually pick a theme and go scour the Web in search of talented artists who have created beautiful wallpapers around that theme. And one of... Read More For themes and skins, there are some great sites to scan through 7 Websites For Desktop Customization: Download Free Themes & Skins 7 Websites For Desktop Customization: Download Free Themes & Skins Read More . I’ll be honest, you’ll spend more time theming than anything else, so be careful with your time and be sure not to let it eat up too much of your time – I speak from experience. Nonetheless, it’s quite fun to find that perfect look.

Below is my current desktop. It’s simple, and not nearly as fancy as previous ones, but less heavy on resources, yet still functional.

computer customization

The wallpaper a photo of a Red Panda taken by me, the dock is rocket dock with the theme “simple dark” and Lucid icons; with Rainlendar on the side.

Image Credits: Sketch Of Laptop On White Background [Text Not Apart Of Original] via Shutterstock, Desktop Customized With Rainmeter via Flickr, Yellow Notes On A Laptop Screen via Shutterstock

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