Monday, February 17, 2014

Windows 7 Customization

What's up everybody? Today I will be explaining Windows 7 desktop customization. This goes hand in hand with a Youtube video that I have done. The video explains, and shows my setup, while the blog post here will be much more detailed with instructions on how to customize your Windows 7 desktop.

Modify your desktop at your own risk. Make sure to backup original files in everything you do for safety reasons. Also, if you have low ram, experiment at your own risk. at 8GBs everything in the Youtube video runs without flaw, even during gaming lag doesn't occur, and no visible FPS drop. If you experience lag, or frame drops some of these mods may not be for you. Experiment, and find what is best for you!

First of all. To install 3rd party themes on Windows 7, you will need the universal theme patcher. It is fairly straight forward, you download and install it from one of the sites bellow, which will allow use of 3rd party themes. 

Once the universal theme patcher is installed you can seek out a good windows 7 theme that fits what you want, or possibly create your own. I will not go over creating your own here, but I'm sure there are plenty of tutorials all over the internet to do so. There are many places online where you can get good windows 7 themes. I prefer using DeviantArt. DeviantArt is a website where graphic artists upload, and share their work with not only themes, but Photoshop resources, graphic art, and much much more. You can go there, and search for windows 7 themes to find something that suits you. For example, I personally use the Arius theme by Mr-Blade. You can type in the DeviantArt search box "Windows 7 theme" to get many options. 

Make sure to READ the instructions with the theme, and follow them on exactly how to install the theme to your PC.

Here is another theme that I really love, and plan on checking out very soon.

Another really good desktop modification program I use is called Rocketdock. Check out the Youtube video to take a look at exactly what you can do with Rocketdock. It is a standard docking program for icons, and programs that can be positioned more or less wherever you want it on the desktop. There is also a very strong customization community for this software for software skins, and icons themselves as you can see in the video. From the main Rocketdock site below, you can click the download tab to get the software, and the "Get Addons" tab to browse all the skins, icons, Docklets, wallpapers, cursor icons, and more.

Another modification tool you see in use in the Youtube video is called Rainmeter. Rainmeter is an EXCELLENT modification program that does a WHOLE lot of neat things. If you've watched the video, you know that its responsible for several modifications to my desktop. There is also a huge community of mod makers for Rainmeter. There are many many places you can get addons for Rainmeter, but again my favorite is DeviantArt. Below is the link to Rainmeter, as well as a DeviantArt search, and instructions on how to install skins/addons into Rainmeter. Once you have installed, my video explains briefly how to "turn on" addons.

If you notice, with my setup the Windows 7 start menu button, and taskbar gets in the way. I use two programs to get rid of them. If you don't need them then skip this part, but if your chosen setup requires you to hide that bar on your main monitor, then here are the programs. 

If you need these. Make sure to set both to start when windows starts up. When you do then as soon as windows loads you can easily hit Ctrl+ESC to disable both your taskbar, and your start menu button.

The next desktop modification software that I'd like to talk about is probably one of my favorite. If you are running a multiple monitor setup, I strongly suggest the use of DisplayFusion. This allows separate wallpapers on each monitor, as well as a taskbar on both monitors, and many other tools for multi-monitor users. For my setup in the video, I like having my taskbar, start menu, and clock on the second screen, this way while in game I can still glance over and see the clock, and I have the taskbar so I can quick click my Skype, browser, etc. You can pick up DisplayFusion from their official website, off of Steam, or whatever other means you can find. I've linked you to the official DisplayFusion website below.

This next desktop modification isn't just a mod, but a powerful tool for gamers. In the video you'll see it on my main screen, although its normally located on the second desktop. This addon, and service is called Raptr. Raptr is not only a desktop widget, but a tool for gamers, and community as well. It's a social media site for gamers, that also tracks gameplay time for every game you play. If you found this page, and don't mess with gaming then you can totally skip this one. But for gamers, I'd totally suggest this.

The final modification that I am going to talk about here is a program by Stardock called "Fences". I like to have the main games I play on my desktop, but with the clean look that would mess everything up. With fences as you can see in the video, I create a fence, put those icons I need in there and then I'm able to double click the desktop to show, or hide my fences. I tend to keep it on the second monitor, although I show it on the main monitor in the video. You can pick this up from their official site, or whatever means you can find. I have posted a link below to the main Fences page.

In conclusion there are SO many tools, addons, themes, and desktop modification softwares out there that I couldn't talk about everything. These are just the ones that I personally use. Watch the video, read through the blog carefully, and experiment with different themes, and software until you get your desktop just the way you like it. That is what is so fun about modifying your desktop, and personalizing it; There is infinite possibilities. I hope this post, as well as the Youtube video was helpful for everyone. Make sure to follow Ragetrip Gaming, and it's members here on Blogger, on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and our Steam Group for much more content, gameplay videos, reviews, opinions, game giveaways, and much, much more. Also be on the lookout for coming soon! Until next week, See ya in game!

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