Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Or any other version of Windows for that matter
Published on November 24, 2003 By Draginol In OS Customization

One of the things that has made me so excited about DesktopX is just how easy it is for "regular users" to be able to make interesting stuff.  Normally, desktop enhancements require a high degree of sophistication.  As a result, customizing Windows was pretty much divided into two types of people: Users and Creators. Creators were the tiny elite group of people who had mastered the arcane way of making a skin or a theme or whatever.  And users were everyone else who just downloaded what the creators had made.

With DesktopX 2, now more users can master their own desktop destiny.

Last week I made my own animated wallpaper.

And speaking of animated wallpapers, you wouldn't believe how easy those are to do. I did one where snow falls on your screen. All I did was make a little snow flake picture. Then I wrote 3 lines if VB Script into the object (1. Create a timer, 2. Have the object move down by 3 pixels when the timer is called and 3. have the snowflake go back to the top of the screen when it reached the bottom).


So let me give you a guided tour on using the performance monitoring features of DesktopX. People love to keep an eye on what's happening on their computer and this is a way to do just that.

For my example, I'm going to make a 3 state light. Green, Yellow Red. This will check my Drive C disk space and let me know the status. My first step is to draw my lights.

I'm using Corel Draw but this might as well be MS Paint. I put my 3 states in a "strip" like this. This is called a bitstrip. As long as each item in the strip is equal size it can then be divided up equally.

Then I save as PNG. This is important (for me anyway) because PNG files will automatically handle the "alpha channel" which is techie talk for taking care of the parts you want transparent.

So now I go over to DesktopX's little tray icon and choose "new object" by right clicking on it.

Now once I do that, it will bring up the properties of that object. Down by additional abilities, choose ADD. Pick "Performance Meters 2". For the Performance Meters.

Then when you configure this, you will want to switch to BIT STRIP since that's what we picked. Also, it has only 3 frames so make sure you pick that too.

On the next tab, make sure you've chosen Drive C.  What's really cool though is that if you wanted, you could pick any number of things to monitor. I can, for instance, monitor the CPU use of a remote machine on the network. Or have it display the number of GDI objects that are in use on a local or network machine. It's really complete.

At this point I'm done. But I'm going to add one more thing. I want the light to also have a text component that will display the percentage used.

So I have to go and create a second object and then I go to the summary page to give it a name.

Then go to appearance and turn it into a TEXT object (it defaults to image).

Then go back to your street light ball here and have that object set the text of your new object. I also added header and footer stuff there to make it make more sense.

End result. Now this is obviously very simple stuff. But think of what you could do with this kind of thing. You could have them be animated or be spinners. You don't have to use bitstrips, you could have it be a bar graph or a historgraph.

And that's just if you want to do some sort of performance monitoring. I'll create more tutorials soon.

Have fun!

DesktopX is a free download at


on Feb 19, 2004
on Dec 24, 2005
on Dec 24, 2005
see xp woow
on Dec 24, 2005
see xp woow
on Dec 24, 2005
see xp woow
on Dec 24, 2005
see xp woow
on Dec 24, 2005
see xp woow