Object Desktop Desktop X

Last week on the screen savers (or maybe the week before? Was just plowing through my Tivo backlog). They raved about Stardocks Desktop X. Now I must admit. I’m all for making my desktop pretty. However I’m not a fan of making it slow and crash prone. I tried Window blinds a while back (a “free limited” version came with my 5900xt video card) and it had “issues.” Anyone have any experence with these programs?

Pretty much what you said – its like molasses.

I had a Stardock subscription for a year a couple years ago and I loved it. I’m a huge sucker for making my desktop stylish and functionally different from Windows. I had pretty much all of the desktop enhancement software running – DesktopX, WindowBlinds, WindowFX, IconPackager, ObjectBar, etc. They were all really cool and, for the most part, none of them were crash-prone.

The problem lay in that they literally took up RAM estate like nobody’s business. I had it running on my work machine at the time, and it was really nice. I didn’t use it for anything other than Office, Notes, web browsing, Winamp, and tracking tickets. Not really resource intensive apps, so I could get away loading up a system with 256MB of RAM with these apps. It ran like it was only on 128MB, but I didn’t mind.

If you use resource intensive apps, don’t bother. There’s simply too much there loaded that can kill any effective usage if you’re planning on playing games or graphical design work. It was worth the money I spent on it because, at the time, I could afford it.

I have a gig of ram. Would I see a dent then?

If you’ve got more than 512, I’d say give it a shot. One or two of the Stardock apps might not hurt with that much.

I’d suggest not loading it up with too many things, though. Check its RAM usage in Task Manager.

Performance issues is why I use alternate window shells such as Litestep or Blackbox instead of Windowblinds. Have you thought these, Rob?

I used to use ObjectX to give myself this MacOS X style dock. But I never bothered to register it, so I don’t use it anymore. It ate about 12MB of RAM. I never noticed any crashers.

Do you just want to skin your desktop? For that, I use StyleXP. It occupies 2MB of RAM as a service, and it lets me skin Windows XP with the theme of my choice (Usually a MacOSX Brushed Aqua theme)


One guy at work was using a Stardock thing with the cursor and it was really messing up in a few games (Horizons that I noticed) so he had to go disable it.

I used one or the other a few months ago and it seemed to run okay.

— Alan

Don’t buy stylexp… it’s a total ripoff. Just run the uxtheme.dll patcher and save yourself 2MB of RAM and $30.

Windowblinds from stardock is actually slightly faster and takes up less RAM than the styles engine built into XP. It also supports more features like rollup buttons, themed scrollbars, and so on. However it costs money and the themes available, in my opinion, are horrible. I’ve tried every theme under the sun and I keep coming back to Watercolor. I like it clean, uncluttered, and fast.

The rest of the stardock apps except for iconpackager, which can be convenient for replacing every icon at once, are garbage.

UXTheme patcher:


Yeah I have tried both but they caused crash problems on my system even with 1 Gig ram. I ended up going back to my plain old XP desktop (using 2000 theme of course - I hate the XP fluff).

I loved the full customizability of Hoverdesk, but sadly, it was both a total resource hog and buggy as living shitfuck. Boy, though, it sure did make my desktop gorgeous.

I’ve been using windowblinds for over a year now and I’ve very happy with it. The only slight problem I’ll have is multiple internet windows not carrying over a theme and simply reverting to the original buttons/layout. I haven’t noticed any slow down or crashes.

My biggest beef with all the themes out there is that they are all too garish. I need something simple and relatively neutral for doing art stuff. The typical Windows brain-melting blue doesn’t cut it at all, and I don’t care for the silver theme (too dull… plus, it’s tinted slightly towards the blue end of the scale, which can throw off your color perception). I’m not normally a big Apple nut, but I think they have Microsoft beat hands down for visual presentation when it comes to an OS.

www.deviantart.com has some good bright, neutral, minimalist visual styles for XP. Ultimately, however, I just ended up making my own.

If you like simple, though, it’s hard to get simpler than SOM:

Interesting that you mention that, because I seemed to have a lot worse performance with LiteStep (trying it just a couple of weeks ago).

I suppose its dependent on the type of theme you use, but using on specifc theme, the LiteStep shell was running at about 28MB, while Explorer, currently is only running at about 14MB.

Perhaps that’s not the case with the default shell theme, but that was incredibly boring.

Ok, so I went ahead and bought object desktop. Kind of neat. However has you download parts of it from stardock central, it says you should save the files to be installed later. The trick it, where does it store the downloaded files?

I’m pretty certain that its in the app’s install folder in Program Files.

Did you get a subscription for the whole package, or just the one app? I’m pretty sure you can redownload it through the Stardock Central at a later date.

Ben, for your style and other stlyles on deviantart you have to use StyleXP?

— Alan

Do you have a direct link to that SOM style? That’s gorgeous. (Deviantart won’t let a non-paying subscriber search its wares…)

You don’t have to use stylexp. Just get the hacked uxtheme.dll and reboot.

Flat out, if you buy stylexp you’re a sucker.

I’d like to second that request for the direct link to the SOM style.

My Google Fu is failing, I just find an architecture firm’s Web site when I search on “Skidmore Owings Merrill”, which I assume is the company that Ben works for?

It is quite beautiful looking, I love elegant simplicity.

No, just the uxtheme.dll hack. Although I do use TGTSoft’s StyleBuilder, which is a decent program for putting together visual styles for XP.