Home  |  Distractions  |  Project Iceberg  |  Salon  |  Weblog  |  Email


Modding the GUI

We can begin the metamorphis with a couple of quick downloads:

Desktop Wallpaper
In the process of transforming Windows XP into a Mac OS X lookalike the easiest change we can make is to the desktop wallpaper. The wallpaper used in our model is available here (use "Display Properties" in the "Control Panel" to change your desktop wallpaper).

Windows Media Player - iTunes
Many of today's modern applications support the use of "skins" to customise their cosmetics and, sometimes, their operation. Microsoft's Windows Media Player 9 is no exception. Want your WMP to look like OS X's "itunes"? An "iTunes" skin for WMP is available here (you can preview the skin here). When the download is complete you will need to unzip the skin before you can install it.

Mozilla is a web-browser (like Microsoft's "Internet Explorer", only much, much better). The browser can be completely customised with skins, as can its associated applications. The very best skin we have found is "aquaMoz", which maintains the look and feel of the OS X environment (preview).

We can change our screensaver to one with an OS X "feel". This screensaver bounces a simple, graphite Apple logo around the screen (over a white background). It supports multiple monitors.

The Shell
Many other applications support skinning but, in order to get as close to OS X as possible, we are going to have to customise the Windows "shell" - the backbone of the user interface. Hitting the shell is the only way we are going to be able to bespoke the icons, menus, windows and widgets of Windows XP.

What we need is an application that allows us to modify any element of the Windows GUI. What we need is Object Desktop!

Object Desktop is a toolkit for the GUI builder/modder. A suite of powerful applications, OD consists of the following:
  • WindowBlinds: Integrating completely with Windows XP, WindowBlinds gives you total control of the windows, title bars, scrollbars, push buttons, the Start bar, icon text, radio buttons, borders, dialog backgrounds and much more.
  • IconPackager: Customise your icons and cursors/mouse pointers either selectively or all at once.
  • ObjectBar: A program that allows you to create your own custom Start bars, finders, pop-up menus, program launchers, wharfs, docks, etc. It is completely customizable.
  • DesktopX: A revolutionary new program that makes it possible for users to build their own desktops. Use it to create more productive, more useful, more secure or just plain cooler looking desktops.

    Rather than replacing the Windows shell (Explorer), it extends Windows giving it new object-oriented abilities. Users can easily create their own DesktopX objects or download from the thousands available on the Internet. DesktopX allows users to secure their desktop and access COM objects installed on their system as if they were natively part of the desktop. It brings next generation object technology to your desktop today.
  • WindowFX: Add drop-shadows, transparency, morphing and more to Windows.
There's much more to Object Desktop, but those are the highlights. Better still, compared with the costs involved in hardware modding, Object Desktop is incredibly cheap at just $50 (includes one-year's worth of updates).

So with Object Desktop in place, we're now able to take huge steps towards the perfect OS X clone...

Exploring "My Computer" is transformed when the Object Desktop is running...

Internet Explorer benefits hugely from a makeover...

Which idiot decided that the menu serves us best when it's at the bottom of the screen?

Where the heck's my window gone?

Last Modified:  Tue 08-Apr-2003
Page:  1 [2] 3 4