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15 great ways to dress up your Windows PC

Tweak your PC's appearance with these downloads

Are you bored with Windows' appearance? Fancy giving it a makeover? Well you can, these 15 downloads we've picked out will let you dress it up and tweak its appearance just about any way you want. Create a virtual 3D space or even add the Mac OS X dock to your PC.

Real Desktop Lite

To make your desktop look completely different, give this program a try. It turns your desktop into a 3D space and transforms your icons into virtual objects that you can move around and even throw across the desktop. You can rotate them in any way, and when you throw them against one another, they clink as they crash. You can even lift up your icons and twirl them around. The Recycle Bin becomes a 3D trash can, too.

Will this change the way you compute? No - but it's plenty of fun, and it's worth trying just for that. Although bear in mind you can’t use the program in conjunction with wallpaper.

Download Real Desktop Lite for free here

Real Desktop Lite

Real Desktop Lite

RocketDock

One of Mac OS X's best features is its Dock, an easily customisable bar of icons at the bottom or side of the screen that lets you run frequently used programs.

Inexplicably, a comparable feature is missing from Windows, absent even in Vista. Until now, that is. RocketDock lets you place a dock at the top, bottom, or side of your screen for quick access to your favourite apps and features. By default it has icons for several Windows features, including My Computer, Recycle Bin, Control Panel and others, but you can quickly add new icons by dragging and dropping them.

The extremely customisable program allows you to change the graphic quality and opacity of the icons, and offers a number of different styles. It's simple to use, it's free and it makes running often-used programs and features easier. Given that, it's hard to pass up.

Download RocketDock for free here

WindowBlinds

This program may be your best bet for revamping Windows' looks on a grand scale. Using it, you can apply "skins" to the entire operating system to make it appear just about any way you'd like.

You can use the skins built into the program, download others, and even make and customise your own. In addition to skinning almost every part of Windows, you can, for example, add buttons to title bars, skin the Windows Vista Sidebar, change the Start menu animation, alter the look of Windows' Start menu shutdown/lock buttons, and even skin Internet Explorer navigation arrows and tabs.

Since the program doesn't alter system files, you're not putting Windows at risk when you use it. Applying and configuring skins is easy, with a simple-to-follow visual interface guiding you through all the steps. And if you're an XP user who wants to make your PC environment look like Windows Vista, you can apply a skin that will do that for you too.

Download WindowBlinds shareware here for $20 (£10)

WindowBlinds

WindowBlinds

NEXT PAGE: Virtual 3D desktops and transparent Windows just like Vista


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