2 Neat Windows 7 Hacks to Transform Your Boring Desktop (Includes a Metro UI Hack)

Herbert Lui

Windows 7 is an awesome operating system. Coming from an old Mac user, I can definitely say it has been easy to adapt to and it’s a pleasure to use. That said, I found the Windows interface to get a bit stale after a while, so I decided to find some ways to make it look more awesome.

1. Change your Start Orb

Sick of that boring old Windows Start orb? There’s a program literally called Windows Start Button Changer that changes your start orb into a myriad of other shapes and images (in case you couldn’t guess). Firstly, you’ll have to Run As Administrator in order for you to have the ability to change this file. When you first run Windows Start Button Changer, here’s what you’ll see:

Windows Start Orb Changer Overview

From here, you can choose to either change your Start button, or restore your original one in the case you don’t like the new crop of Start buttons. Here is my personal favorite — #6 of the orbs that Windows Start Button Changer comes with.

Windows Start Orb Changer

If you like what you see, have a look at Windows Start Button Changer.

2. Experience the Windows Phone 7 or Metro UI in Windows 7

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past couple of months, here’s a news: Windows 8 is bringing the Metro UI to the personal computer. If you’re a huge fan, and can’t wait for Windows 8 to come out to experience the Metro UI on your Windows 7 PC, have a look at what you can do with Rainmeter.

Omnimo Overview

The beauty of this Rainmeter skin called Omnimo is that it is fully active and responsive to your commands. For example, the program detects where your computer is located and refreshes weather accordingly. Similarly, it refreshes RSS feeds that you choose to subscribe to.

There are three subthemes that Omnimo allows you to select from:

Omnimo Subthemes

The one on the left closely resembles Windows Phone 7, the middle one Windows 8’s Metro UI, and the one furthest right is a blank theme where you can customize your panels and what not. I selected the one that looked closest to Windows Phone 7. There are two main aspects to it, the Panels and the Text Items.

Omnimo Panels

Omnimo has a huge variety of Panels to choose from clocks, PC info, shortcuts and launchers, internet apps, media controls, and social networks.

Omnimo Panel Selection

There is also the main text area, where by default the Bing feed is displayed. This replicates what Microsoft would do effectively, as I assume they’d want to support their own services. You have the option to choose from a variety of different services though, which is the beauty of Omnimo.

Omnimo Textarea

Here’s an idea of what you can select. Omnimo allows you to select a maximum of seven items, with a wide range of services that it can connect to. It’s really quite remarkable what the creators of Omnimo have done, in aggregating all these services and integrating them into a Rainmeter skin.

Text Area Options

Whether it’s something as simple as changing your Start Orb or tweaking your desktop so it looks more like Windows Phone 7 or Windows 8, you have a variety of options to choose from. Those panels could potentially replace your icons! (Just an idea.) Have fun and enjoy these tools. 🙂

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