What You Said: How You Customize Your Computer

By Jason Fitzpatrick on April 13th, 2012

2012-04-13_115154

Earlier this week we asked you to share the ways you customize your computing experience. You sounded off in the comments and we rounded up your tips and tricks to share. Read on to see how your fellow personalize their computers.

It would seem the first stop on just about everyone’s customization route is stripping away the bloat/crapware. Lisa Wang writes:

Depending on how much time I have when I receive my new machine,I might do the following in a few batches, starting with the simplest one. Usually, my list goes like this:
1.Remove all bloatware and pretty much unneeded stuffs.
2.Change my wallpaper,login screen,themes, and sound.
3.Installing my ‘must-have’ softwares-starting with fences and rocketdock+stacks plugin
4.Setting taskbar to autohide, pinning some apps there
5.Installing additional languages
6.Tweaking all settings and keyboard shortcuts to my preferance
7.Changing the icons(either manual or with TuneUp Styler)

Interface tweaks like the aforementioned Fences and Rocket Dock made quite a few appearances, as did Rainmeter. Graphalfkor writes:

I’ve got rainmeter 2.3 with some Tony Starkish stats blaring out weather, showing latest emails, etc. Randomly changing desktop wallpapers I made in photoshop mostly photographic scenes. Have custom logon screen and other odds/ends crafted via tuneup utils.

I use winAutomation to automate usual routine jobs – it handles everything from chkdsks, stealth downloading antivirus updates, set to scan my downloads folder whenever new files are added, and with scheduled times throughout the week to perform defragging. I even set it to log into google voice and shoot my phone a txt msg if need be so its quite useful.

I have to say I’m really ♥ win 7 speech recognition, sometimes to navigate or to blog (as I thought this would be a one time deal just to test out it works surprisingly better than simply typing).

Most of the time my friends-especially the non tech savvy ones would ask,”What OS do you use?” though it’s the same stock Win7 Pro they have.

Blackknight22 is more of a case modder than an OS modder:

I personally love doing case mods. If one of my computers looks like just a box I can’t help but hack it to pieces and turn it into something a little easier on the eyes. Preferably something that doesn’t look like a computer at all.

I started with just custom paint jobs (sanding the texture down and painting old putty cases piano black and such). I soon graduated to adding plexiglass sides as well as lighting to my cases and have been trying new things ever since.

My two latest projects are both servers. A dedicated Minecraft server made to look like a Redstone block from the game, complete with pulsing/glowing Redstone bits in it, As well as a “fish tank server” with UV reactive fish in it.

I’m also partial to most of the basic OS customizations, like replacing the Logon screen background in 7, object dock on my media center machine, as well as theming my browsers and my laptop which runs XP.

A custom Minecraft server mod and you didn’t include pictures? For shame, good Sir.


For more great tips, tricks, and app recommendations, hit up the full comment thread here.

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 04/13/12
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