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15 great ways to dress up your Windows PC

Tweak your PC's appearance with these downloads

Ever fancied turning your Windows desktop into a 3D world? Or offering up your idle desktop up for scientific research? Well with these 15 downloads you can do all of these and much more. Go on, give Windows a makeover.

Vista Start Menu SE

The Windows Start menu is a mildly useful tool for running programs and accomplishing other tasks. But what if you want something more? This program, which despite its name works with both Windows Vista and XP, puts all of your programs and important folders within easy reach so that you can launch them quickly. It also gives you fast access to turning the machine off, rebooting, logging off, and switching users.

Since it's customisable, you can change the size of the menu, for example, as well as decide which power-management buttons (Switch, Logout, Stand By, Reboot, Hibernate, and Turn Off) to display. You can also position the power management buttons at the top or bottom of the screen.

Download Vista Start Menu for free here

3DNA Desktop

Turn your PC into an immersive, 3D world with this program, which replaces your normal desktop with a 3D view that makes navigating your PC, organising files and folders, and launching programs more fun.

After you install the application, you find yourself in a kind of virtual, 3D loft. You walk around it to interact with your computer. Want to create or play back media? Walk over to a media centre and click a microphone to launch a sound recorder, or click a stereo to launch your media player. Want to surf the web? Head over to the appropriate area and launch your browser; you can see multiple websites running simultaneously on the browser wall.

The environment has similar areas for launching applications. You can even walk upstairs on to the deck to play a game of hoops, look at the daytime sky, and watch birds flying above. Plenty of other 3D worlds apart from the loft are available for download, as well. The program works only with Windows XP, not Vista.

Download a shareware version of 3DNA Desktop for $30 (£15) here

3DNA desktop

AusLogics Visual Styler

If you're looking for a simple, visually appealing way to dress up your PC, AusLogics Visual Styler is worth the download, as it gives you instant access to many deeply hidden Windows customisation features and adds some twists of its own. For example, with it you can adjust your icons' resolution, their size, the space between them and whether they should have a shortcut arrow.

You can also determine which desktop icons to use for Internet Explorer, the Recycle Bin, drives, folders and so on. The application's wallpaper changer will swap out the background image every time your PC starts, too. The program has an abundance of features, including one that lets you easily download and use wallpapers from the Internet. Though AusLogics Visual Styler won't let you change Windows to the same degree that an app such as 3DNA Desktop does, it's still a good bet if you want to tweak common Windows elements.

Download AusLogics Visual Styler (including a free 15-day trial) here for $25 (£12.50)

NEXT PAGE: Continue your Windows customisation with Vista4Experts and MagicTweak

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