How-To Geek

Another Desktop Cube for Windows XP/Vista

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The Desktop Cube effect for Linux is extremely popular because people love eye candy, but the choices for Windows are much less interesting. The latest utility to give this effect for Windows is surprisingly fast, and works on both XP and Vista.

Of course, Keyboard Ninjas prefer keyboard shortcuts to snazzy desktops, but that’s not the point is it?

Here’s the screen in action, which is surprisingly fast on my Vista laptop.


The system icon in the tray conveniently gives you access to everything, and even tells you what the keyboard shortcuts are.


The options page gives you a lot of options, and I’d recommend enabling the misspelled “Blendding” option, because it makes the effect look a lot nicer on a faster machine.


Here’s the coolest part, the Screen Manager, where you can move windows around between screens by just dragging and dropping.


I’m sure this won’t be the last of these utilities, but at least this one is still free, unlike the Yod’m 3D one we wrote about before.

You’ll need to make sure that your system has drivers that support OpenGL.

Download Shock 4Way 3D Desktop Utility

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 09/26/07

Comments (34)

  1. jambarama

    Open source software is often accused as non-innovative, stealing ideas from MS/Apple, and even that OSS is just open source doubling the effort already made by MS/Apple.

    I think this is a terrific example that it goes both ways – both worlds borrow the best ideas of the other world – and that is what makes the best total packages!

  2. jmarko

    so why doesnt the mouse show up on screens two and three? it works on 1 and 4 but the other two i have to use keyboard shortcuts for everything.

  3. allan

    where can i get openGL ICD for NVIDIA geforce 5500. I am running Vista with core 2 duo 2.00ghz and the application wont run

  4. Lens.

    why cant u get an option to change the bit where it says blennding??

    please help

  5. im

    Well, now it is not freeware anymore. It ask for email and serial, even that a their web site says is freeware

  6. Innuendo

    Just downloaded and it’s still freeware. It didn’t ask for an email or a serial from me. I suggest you try again.

  7. Andy

    Looks like version 1.0 needs an email and serial. Problem is, the site to get a serial number doesn’t work…

  8. The Geek

    I changed the link to point to the download page… drives me crazy when sites change their link structure.

  9. Ben Shittu

    Looks cool but unfortunately doesn’t work properly on my vista. The cube runs slow & looks white as a ghost!

  10. Pavlos

    Guys it works fine on my machine! Vista started getting interesting now! Although it could be a bit more customizable it’s a descent piece of software!
    Nyways, enjoy!

  11. jrjr

    works great on XP SP! I gave up on Linux but Beryl was very cool there…. I wish Rocket dock could be a global program as well…..or maybe have the choice of programs.

  12. ChaseVoid

    It would be better if this cube technology could be implemented in the vista’s default switch windows. It would look good as a cube

  13. linuxguy

    … or you could just start using Linux instead ;)

    download Ubuntu and run it as a live CD. if you like it and want to start using it regularly then click the “install” icon. it will install itself in addition to your existing windows installation. it will boot into ubuntu by default unless you press esc during bootup and choose windows (you can change the default OS by modifying a simple text file).

    Ubuntu Linux is 100% free, just as easy as windows to use, and and has a much better looking desktop cube interface built-in. once you start using Linux you’ll wonder why you spent so much time trying to find an affordable way to make windows exciting, when almost everything for Linux is free.


  14. freecall

    yodm3d is still free on 1 or 2 sites…keep searching.
    I find vista feels much freindlier since I got rid of the “cancel or allow” question. Makes it much less frusrating now. I also find ace explorer or accoo browsers more compatible with IE 7 than Firefox.

  15. RandyHood

    Sorry, but this doesn’t cut it after Beryl, or Compiz Fusion which now comes as part of Ubuntu Gutsy. Even without those, I still wouldn’t use it, since I see no conceivable benefit except for a split second of fancy animation. That’s all it is…pre-determined animation. There is nothing appreciably dynamic about this program. It has some potentially useful elements, such as 4 desktops, but they are not put together in a way that makes me want to use them.

    It’s the same problem with Vista’s “3d switch between windows” effect. It’s annoying and redundant, because you still have to cycle through the windows just like you can already do with Alt+Tab….and Alt+Tab does it better. I never use it when i’m trying to get work done. On the contrary, the Mac OS X Expose effect I use all the time…because it is actually useful and dynamic. You can dynamically select any one of the windows arranged on the screen.

    So you see, it’s not just about eye candy…it has to have some hook…something at least as productive as not having it, otherwise it is just a one-time cool animation. I can go to YouTube for that.

  16. Tim

    Any free cube desk tops for xp available???

    Please help

  17. Helf

    CubeDesktop is better!!

    check it at

  18. Jones

    I have tried the program, it works fine except when I switch between the sides, on the 1. side you can see the mouse, but on the other three sides you can’t…. Why?

  19. dipanjan

    Its really cool and really fast……..

  20. Anonylimus

    There’s actually some people who’ve used Ubuntu just for the effects, saying “TIIIIIGHT”.

    When they come back to Windows, being their illiterate selves, they come here after Googling for the cube

  21. freecall

    Hmmmm, I think the only ones using the word “illiterate” are so themselves ! I won’t even try to figure out what youv’e said but have a great day .

  22. Thomas

    Does anyone know if this program works with the 64 bit vista. I have been running into alot of things that do not work with it at all

  23. speedbiird9

    3D desktop should work in the windows vista 64 bitrate, but if it doesnt try searching on google for a patch.

  24. Pyronic

    i agree with jrjr. i use rocket dock but every time flip to a different start up i have to restart the program. i think it would be better if they would add a feature to be able to place different icons on each desktop and be able to select default start up programs on each desktop. because other than that there is not much use for it other than it is some nice eye candy.

  25. Pyronic

    i am reposting because i feel i was not clear in the first part of my comment. i meant to say that i also use rocket dock, and since it is not a global program i have to manually start it on every desktop every time i switch screens, and that is annoying.

  26. Andy

    Is this considered a third party program?

  27. Ha3mo

    Deskpace is the best

  28. mpc

    Its funny that everyone associates this with Ubuntu….Compiz is available for all the major Linux distros
    OpenSuse is my personal favorite. It’s very useful eyecandy I use it constantly.

  29. rob

    hey linux guy! Windows is already built in when you buy a pc, whats the point of making that argument that its costly? and why scrap a 300 dollar program just to get an unsupported crappy OS, when you have brilliance at work already. I have Desktop Cube, More custimizable than Linux, I have Window Flip and application ring switcher which allows me to have multiple rings and i can customize each ring. and the cube has password protection on each desktop. I have fire writing, and water effects, I also dont have to worry about not having a supported Graphics Card, because it’s all pre-loaded in windows and ready to update without me looking for an update. or a package, or going through a terminal. Microsoft is a Multi-billion dollar industry, why wouldl i settle for something worse? i had linux ubuntu for 1 year. It is worthless! always an error at some point, it has no targeted audience because there is no GUI, it is not user friendly. So stop with the Linux Ubuntu, cause even the developers of Unix say Ubuntu is a disgrace to Linux! Windows and Mac will always be the best OS out there.Everything is a click away. If there is an error, it’s simple to find a fix.unlike ubuntu. plus i can play any game without any emulation or window loader program. Funny thing is all your software on Ubuntu, i can have on Windows. So whats the real point?

  30. alaa

    pleas help me to solve this qoustion

    Draw a 3D cube on the screen, the user can use keyboard shortcut keys to do the
    transformation (i.e., transform, rotate, scale). The translation will be by using the arrow
    keys in the keyboard (up, down, left, and right). The rotation will be 90 degrees left or
    right using the keys (L and R). The scaling will be larger (double) or smaller (half) using
    the keys (Z and S).
    The right-click popup menu can be used to change the color of the 3D cube (red, green)

  31. Duh

    “hey linux guy! Windows is already built in when you buy a pc, whats the point of making that argument that its costly? and why scrap a 300 dollar program just to get an unsupported crappy OS, when you have brilliance at work already.”

    Unless you build your own system…now where do you get windows without illegally downloading it or buying it? And it IS costly, not just in money. I have to have antivirus in Windows, not in Ubuntu. And I’ve had more driver problems lately in Windows than in Ubuntu…my wireless network card won’t work part of the time in Windows, yet it works perfectly in Ubuntu.

    And what else? I’m using XP 32-bit on my 64-bit system, so even though I have 4GB of RAM, I can use less than 3 of it in XP. But I’m also using 64-bit Ubuntu, which was FREE. How much would I have to pay to get 64-bit Windows 7?

    I have an old Toshiba laptop that came with XP, and this is really when I first dual-booted Ubuntu and started playing around with it. Ubuntu is faster, more stable, more usable, and more practical than XP every time I used it. There are some advantages to Windows: when you need software that isn’t made for Ubuntu that won’t run in Wine, and when you want to play games.

    But there are LOTS of programs for Ubuntu that don’t have a version for Windows. Actually, anything that runs in Linux will run in Ubuntu, so there are a TON of programs available for it (sometimes you have to build from source, but if you’re afraid of getting your hands dirty, stick with Windows).

    My graphics cards is actually faster in Ubuntu than Windows, and I’m using updated drivers in both. When stuff breaks in Windows, it’s usually impossible to figure out why, while in Ubuntu, there’s almost always a solution (or at least a workaround).

    Go back and play in your sandbox, Rob, because the beach is saved for the big kids…the ones who aren’t afraid to get their feet wet in the ocean. And the best part? The beach is free, in this case…it’s the sandbox that costs a fortune.

    If you think Ubuntu has no GUI, then you REALLY need to stay out of the water because you know absolutely nothing about operating systems.

  32. Ohhhh K Rob

    So, you want to compare Win-7 or Windows anything to Linux/Unix? Consider this:

    a hospital, the Govt., NASA. For mission critical LIFE situations which os type is available without a “blue screen of death,” just waiting to destroy and impede progress?

    Which keeps “ticking with-a-lickin’?” Nuff said. Rob, Point in case, other than “games” Win-7 and Windows anything… “Silly Wabbit. Tricks r 4 kidz.”

    Win7 or MAC-os anything will N-e-v-e-r outclass Ubuntu or Linux even if you pay for it! Ciao baby.

  33. Ohhhh K Rob

    I’m here about to deploy a “look like my desktop” request for those Executives that pay me to keep their networks and laptops going. I’ll run this in a virtual space on their systems (can’t afford to let a toy program to crash mission-critical software that users just happen to be comfortable with) to avail them some R&R for downtime.

    By the way, I’ve weaned 97% of Microsoft! It only took me a year! As far as “anti-virus” software, need it for the 3% stubborn ones.

    Hey Rob, when you’re playing your next game on the web, get a virus in your “look like Ubuntu” desktop, you’ll be thinking about L-I-N-U-X. Rest of the readers too…

  34. selena


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