Dane. Designer.

Old Blog

It's all about the Bling Bling

You know you ain’t gettin’ any of da ladies any more… You just ain’t got da bling bling anymore. What you need is a fresh GUI.

By popular request (well one anyway…) – Here it finally is, the complete guide to why my GUI looks the way it does and links to the files you need to make yours look the same.

Here running Firebird 0.7 (With it’s brand spanking new Milk skin which was rather hard to come by. Currently browsing WordPress administration), showing some album covers from my soundtrack selection (recently finished collection covers for all of the 195 folders… phew!), Trillian 2.0 Pro with its Milk skin (which I quite frankly don’t like at all, too restrictive) and an explorer window currently parked in my D:/Files folder, which is basically my master archive.

Here’s the contents of My Computer (notice the CD and DVD drive icons, they’re a bitch to change!). The music player is Foobar with a component (foo_remote, get it here) that allows it to dock the start bar as a toolbar. I use it because it’s about the most non-intrusive music player ever (and it plays .mod, .xm, .s3m and so on as well!). In a twist of irony I chose to call my C drive ‘Brain’ as my computer’s name is Zombie. My computer has a tendency to eat my main drive and leave little for me… :|

Ah, tranquility. I hid the desktop icons even though I only have 3 of them; but really it’s just as easy for me to go to the dock to pull up those folders, so… The calendar on the desktop is Rainlendar skinned with Moderna Blend. It’s really nice, looks stylish and integrates with Outlook.

Though I agree that it has a sembleance with OS X that wasn’t actually what I was styling for (Or I could’ve come as close as these guys). But of all the thousands (not kidding) themes and icons that I have browsed through these are by far the best I’ve come across. The theme is Milk Redux for StyleXP (also available for WindowBlinds) and the icons are SnowE. I do apologize for the Apple on the start button, but seeing as this is a port of a custom skin for OS X I just sort of have to accept that until I bother with starting up Photoshop…

In answer to Morten’s query the other day, yes it is just as fast as a normal desktop. The skin itself doesn’t take up any processing power at all as it uses XP’s internal skinning engine. The icons were replaced with IconPackager which is probably the best such tool out there today. That said however there are a lot of minor touches that can’t just be replaced quite that easily, and so I had to replace various DLL’s and EXE’s (get the shell style here, appreciate it as it took me a long time to dig it up!) with hacked equivalents with the appropriate icons in them (which you have to do from safe mode). Also the toolbar buttons in explorer and Internet Explorer (figure) are from the Milk skin (stored locally as it’s only available from one site which you have to register to download from, problem is they don’t accept new registrations at the moment, so I had to get to know someone on the inside to get this sucker!) for Y’z Toolbar (Also stored locally for the same reason. I bundled Milk with this package).

Incidently the dock at the bottom of the screen is run by Y’z Dock and is my primary means of navigation. I’ve got a few docklets at the right end of it that allow me do a various things. One allows me to change the wallpaper at a whim which suits me just fine as I have trouble staying with just one (the ones currently in line). Another takes screenshots with various options. There are lots of other docklets available as well.

Finally, but as the all-important finishing touch; WindowFX. It adds shadows of varying sizes and what not to your windows as well as little nifty things like fading your windows in and out. It’s very flexible and can accommodate to the kind of CPU power you have available rather easily. I would use this even if I hadn’t skinned the shit out of the rest of the UI. You can however also use Y’z Shadow for this, though I personally don’t like it due to it’s lack of flexibility. Again, stored locally because it’s so damn hard to find on the net.

I hope I linked to all the things, if not just throw a comment and I’ll get on it. Here are come further links to investigate:

  • DeviantArt – It looks a bit intimidating at first, but it’s by far the best online art resource. I also have a (neglected) profile on there.
  • Customize.org – Oh momma come help me babysit these mutherfuckers!
  • AquaXP – Though it centers a lot around skinning Windows like OS X, it does have more than that. I recommend checking out the forums and their monthly desktop threads.
  • Iceman’s Emulation Page – Lots of good stuff, mostly OS X but it transfers great across other skins since it looks so stylish.
  • Florian Freundt – Cool wallpapers, some of which I use in the screenshots.

That’s a little to get you started. Feel free to call on me if you need any help. And let me answer the first one for you:

Q: Isn’t it unstable as hell?! I mean messing with core files, exchanging system files with hacks and what have you?!
A: No… I haven’t crashed a single time yet, no problems at all.

And there you have it.

PS: Does anyone know if it’s possible to remove the menubar from Firebird?