Windows Themes: Ready to change your Desktop Theme? (Pt. 2)

Part 2 - CursorXP and ObjectDock

Sunday, November 26, 2006 by Island Dog | Discussion: Beginners

In the last article I showed you how to easily change your visual styles, wallpapers, and icons from the default look of Windows XP and Vista.  We did this with very little effort, and came out with a great looking desktop.  You could stick with that, but there is much more we can do to customize your desktop theme.

Now what's the one thing you see and use on your desktop almost constantly?  The cursor of course!  Once again you don't have to be stuck with that boring cursor theme.  Head over and download CursorXP from Stardock.  It's a free download and there is a Plus version you can purchase that adds features such as trail effects and cursor colorization.

There are so many cursors available that you can change your theme to.  A quick look at the CursorXP gallery over at has shown me some really cool cursors.  If you like Star Wars you can get a lightsaber cursor, or if you are into guitars, well then I found one for you also.  Those are just two wild choices, but there are a wide range available from simple to really heavily animated cursors.

Once you have CursorXP installed you can download the cursors you want and usually you can just double-click them and it will apply the theme itself.  Sometimes multiple cursors are included and you will have to unzip them and put them in the CursorXP themes folder.  Now just open the CursorXP configuration window and click the drop-down list.  It should show all your installed themes.  Just select a theme to preview it, and then click apply to change the cursor. 

That's it.  Changing the cursor theme is done, so now we can focus on organizing our desktop and making it easier to launch frequently used applications.  I'm using ObjectDock Plus for this example.  There is a free version available but the Plus version includes such features as tabbed docks, multiple docks, and much more.    

Now lets create a dock to hold some application shortcuts, and we can also add some docklets to this dock.  Docklets are like mini-applications on the dock that offer useful information such as the weather, checking for new e-mails, displaying battery usage, etc.   After I create the new dock I can go into the properties and change things such as the background, size, positioning, etc. 

Now there are many more features in ObjectDock, but I just wanted to show you the basics of cleaning up the clutter on your desktop.  You can read the ObjectDock feature guide for more information on some it's features, and the ObjectDock entry in the WinCustomize Wiki is another place to find some great information.

As you see in the screenshot of our desktop above, we have changed our cursor to a very cool animated theme, and we added a couple of docks to help organize the icons on our desktop.  Look at how far we have come in changing our desktop from the standard Windows XP/Vista theme to this.  What a difference, right?

In the next article I will talk about DesktopX and how you can add and use widgets and objects on your desktop.  Be sure to check the links below to learn more about the applications we talked about today.

Ready to change your desktop theme?


Reply #1 Sunday, November 26, 2006 3:42 AM
Great read for a novice!
Reply #2 Sunday, November 26, 2006 5:28 AM
What happened to part 1 ? Great article ID and more of these need to be made...and then put somewhere that they don't get lost or buried. It would be nice to have a section with nothing but "How To" articles for people that are just coming here and are readily available to them...something that stands out and can be found without hunting. And just basic articles like this....nothing drawn out...easy to understand just to get people started.
Island Dog
Reply #3 Thursday, August 23, 2007 4:34 PM
Updated with current information and screenshots.


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