No Reason For The Cat To Die
What you are about to read is of no practical use. It sure is fun, but there is no reason to effect the changes to your system described in this article other than pure curiosity. Of course, we all know that intelligent and virile alpha men and women maintain a healthy curiosity about all things as they go through life. Curious people are measurably more handsome, have nice cars and well proportioned ears too. Government studies show that non-curious people have smelly feet and excessive nose hair. So if you are the curious type, read on. If you aren’t, then go wash your feet. Please.
There are more ways to modify your Windows GUI than there are bald guys at a singles party. And like bald guys, they range from simple, readily available color choices to wholesale modifications of how the user interacts with Windows. I’ll touch on both ends of that spectrum in this article, but mostly I’ll share straightforward methods for making cosmetic changes to Windows that go beyond what you can do by just right clicking the desktop and selecting Properties. I’ll turn you on to an entire array of small freeware and a few shareware utilities that you probably didn’t even know existed, which will allow you to make remarkable modifications to your GUI with relative safety. More advanced users know that anything that can be done with these utilities can be done manually, but most of you aren’t Registry-Gods, and neither am I, so we’ll work through this stuff at a non-geekazoid level of comprehension if you don’t mind. All you need is a fundamental understanding of the structure of Windows. In other words, this is an article for normal people. All two of you out there should get a real kick out of this stuff. I certainly do.
Prudence Is The Better Part Of Tweakery
Before you start hacking away at your pride and joy there, please take the time to read these articles about backing up and restoring your Registry and system files. Save yourself grief and spare me the e-mails full of woe that your system is properly boogered now that you did this or that. There is nothing, not one line of instructions in this article that cannot be easily undone by restoring your Registry and other system files if you backed everything up before you started. Just do it. Kindly refrain from snivelry if you don’t.
Aside from a complete back-up, you should prepare your system for these modifications as you would for any program installation. Clear out your Recycle Bin and temp files, and then run Scandisk and Defrag your partitions. Next I would suggest some basic set up to help you keep things organized. As icons are a big part of the appearance of Windows, much of what is covered here deals with creating and manipulating them. Therefore it would be wise to create one central location for all the icons you plan to use. As a habit, whenever I’ve just finished a clean install of Windows, either Windows 9x or Windows 2000/NT, I create a new folder called icons in my System folder. The System folder is a standard in all 32-bit Windows directory structures, so it’s a good base point. Assuming your first partition, the C:\ drive, contains your Windows installation, the complete path would be C:\%WINDIR%\System\icons, where %WINDIR% is your Windows folder. In Windows 9x it would be C:\Windows\System\icons, and in Windows 2000 and NT4 it would be C:\Winnt\System\icons.
Next I suggest creating a new folder called Utils or something similar, in your root directory in which you can install each of the little programs I’ll be discussing here. Use an individual sub-folder for each utility of course. The idea is to keep them in one central location in order to keep track of and use them easily and quickly.
Well, they don’t actually suck, but I prefer not to use “canned” themes. Themes aren’t customizations, they’re just another factory supplied set of sticky-graphics, usually quite hideous. When I’ve customized the appearance of my GUI, I feel a much greater sense of satisfaction than when I click one button to load something that Microsoft thought most of us would like. Nice of the gang in Seattle to supply the stick-ons, but I’d rather paint my own pinstripes, that’s all.
Go Forth And Download The Tools Of Tweakery
This is by no means a comprehensive list of utilities available for tweaking your GUI. These are however, my favorites. Most, but not all are freeware. Those that aren’t free are definitely worth the investment. Each utility comes with instructions for installation and use and all are relatively simple programs, so I leave it to you to become familiar with their usage. I’ll be referencing these programs later on.
The first group are all directly related to icons. There are editors, extractors, manipulators, mutilators, grinders and binders and other implements of destruction and woe.
This next group is a list of tweaking utilities. These generally will do more than just modify your GUI, however as they fall within the scope of this article at least in part, they’ve been included here. The trick to safely using tweakers is to be conservative. Make only one change at a time and run things for a while. Be ready with that back up just in case.