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The Beginner's Customization Thread


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#1 Aqua Structure

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 07:02 AM

As was suggested in another thread, this is the official WinMatrix beginners' customization thread - for all discussion of skinning apps and tips for those new to the customizing community. Post all tips, links and such that might help out newbies, as that is the purpose of this thread. It should hopefully help with the problem of loads of people coming in and starting new threads about the same subject which has already been discussed twenty times. :rolleyes:

The tutorials below have been written by various members of WinMatrix for your convenience, and merged into one post for maximum readability.

I'll start it off with a question probably asked more than any other:

How do you get your windows to look like that?
By Aqua Structure

There are two main methods of customizing the appearance of Windows' windows. These are known as Visual Styles (or msstyles) and WindowBlinds. In order to install Visual Styles on your computer, you will need a program such as TGT Soft's $19.95 StyleXP or the free UXTheme patcher, developed by the good people at Neowin. WindowBlinds themes, on the other hand, require Stardock's $19.95 WindowBlinds application, which is free to try but with reduced features (the most glaring being the inability to skin scrollbars). Themes can be downloaded from many different sites (a few links are below, and be sure to check Google for more).
Some advantages/disadvantages of each:

Visual Styles
advantages:
:bulletblue: Free (unless you go with something like StyleXP). You can't beat the $0 price tag.
:bulletblue: A large community of skinners. Many popular themers, such as KoL and Schmoove, frequently release beautiful Visual Styles. They are ported to WindowBlinds later, or sometimes not at all.
disadvantages:
:bulletorange: Not as complete as WindowBlinds. Mac themes, for instance, must have buttons on the right side, which can be frustrating for those used to a real Mac interface.
:bulletorange: Completely incompatible with WindowBlinds files, and there is no "quick 'n' dirty way" to port them.

WindowBlinds
advantages:
:bulletblue: More complete and attractive skinning of windows.
:bulletblue: Allows for different layouts, such as the left-sided buttons in Steve Grenier's excellent Tiger theme.
:bulletblue: Purchase includes full access to WinCustomize, an excellent site for skin downloads.
disadvantages:
:bulletorange: Incompatible with Visual Styles. WindowBlinds can use Visual Styles, but they must first be ported with SkinStudio, which costs extra.
:bulletorange: It is constantly being updated, which forces you to frequently download new versions of the WindowBlinds software.
:bulletorange: It costs money.

Installing WindowBlinds themes is simple: once you have downloaded the WindowBlinds theme you want, double-click it and it will show up in the preference panel.

Installing Visual Styles is a bit trickier. Once you have the UxTheme patcher installed and the themes you want downloaded, you will need to drag them to the following folder: C:\WINDOWS\Resources\Themes Make sure you have dragged both the theme (if there is one) and its entire respective folder containing the .msstyles file, or else it will not work! Then you can apply the theme from the Display control panel.

Links:
WinCustomize: An excellent site for theme and wallpaper downloads. As WinCustomize is owned by Stardock, the creator of WindowBlinds, it only includes WindowBlinds themes and not Visual Styles.
deviantART Skins & Themes: An excellent gallery of both WindowBlinds and Visual Styles. deviantART also includes a spectacular wallpaper gallery, and new submissions are added literally every second. However, please note: because of the fact that deviantART does not screen content when it is first submitted, some content may be objectionable to some people.
ThemeXP: Another theme site. Includes many impressive Visual Styles.
Playboy Visual Styles: Don't let the name bother you, Playboy (the skinner) has nothing to do with Playboy (the magazine). Just great Visual Styles.
StudioTwentyEight Visual Styles: Very nice themes. Mostly Visual Styles, but there are now a few WindowBlinds themes as well.
WinMatrix Visual Styles & Theme Suites: Okay, so maybe it's a bit cheap to throw in a self-referral. Still, WinMatrix has an excellent Themes page, with many new threads posted all the time.

What's that icon thing on the bottom of your desktop?
By Aqua Structure

The application which many people use to have an attractive icon-based toolbar on the top or bottom of their desks (as in the screenshot below) is called a dock.

Posted Image
desktop screenshot by CI-Hoshi

A dock is basically a more attractive and customizable shortcuts toolbar. The original dock was created as a part of the original Mac OS X (version 10.0), and has been included with every version of OS X since.

Posted Image
A screenshot of Mac OS X 10.0, courtesy of Ars Technica.

The dock allows many things, including zooming icons and support for both PNG and ICO filetypes - the two most popular types of icons. The zooming icons is something that must be seen to be appreciated. Icons in your dock can link pretty much anywhere - they usually are shortcuts to applications, documents, or folders, but through use of docklets they can also function as Start Menu shortcuts, working clocks, and more.

The most popular applications for using docks on a PC are Stardock's ObjectDock (free, "plus" version with tabbed docks and more is $19.95), MobyDock (free), and Y'z Dock (free).

ObjectDock is probably the best-known dock software for the PC. It is created by Stardock, who also make the WindowBlinds window skinning software. The interface is drag-and-drop easy - just find the program or a shortcut to it, drag it to the dock, and you've got a shortcut. Icons can be added to the ObjectDock program folder (usually C:\Program Files\Stardock\ObjectDock, unless you installed it somewhere else) in different folders for different icon sets.

While the dock effects are very beautiful and well-animated, ObjectDock takes up a lot of processor performance and tends to be slow on computers with older or poorer video cards.

I have never personally used MobyDock, so hopefully someone else from WinMatrix can review it. All I can say is that it's another application which attempts to emulate the OS X dock.

Y'z Dock, unfortunately, never even made it to 1.0 stage. The developer, M. Yamaguchi (creator of the also popular Y'z Toolbar and Y'z Shadow), was issued a cease-and-desist order by Apple's extremely aggressive copyright lawyers. While Y'z uses less resources and is snappier than ObjectDock, it is also a bit glitchy and harder to use, due to the fact that it is no longer supported.

Links:
The Iconfactory: While the Iconfactory is first and foremost for Mac users, there are also many Windows icons available for download as well.
FOOOD's Icons: FOOOD makes many attractive icons, mainly in the Windows XP style. Be sure to check him out.
David Lanham: Lanham's icons are simply incredible, and that's all I really have to say.
RAD.E8 DESIGN: The studio of the extremely talented Sascha Höhne, developer of the unbelievable MINIUM icons. Check his site out now.
Everaldo.com: Everaldo Coelho is probably the best-known iconist in the Linux community. He created the original "Crystal" icon set, which is now included with every new version of KDE (the K Desktop Environment for Linux). But his icons aren't limited to Linux - all the different designs on his site are available for Windows as well.
deviantART Icons: An excellent gallery of all types of icons. New submissions are added literally every second. However, please note: because of the fact that deviantART does not screen content when it is first submitted, some content may be objectionable to some people.
WinCustomize: Check out the ObjectDock gallery for many beautiful icons. OD Docklets are also available here.
WinMatrix Icons & Cursors: Okay, fine. The self-referral thing is cheap. But WinMatrix's Icons & Cursors gallery is among the best sources for icons. Only the the finest are added here.

Be sure to check out WinMatrix's Favorite Icon WebSites thread for more great links.

This is a tutorial, how to use AveDesk 1.2 at your desktop.
By Faneramx

At first download AveDesk 1.2 and AveDesk 1.1
:download: AveDesk 1.2
:download: AveDesk 1.1 (link dead)

After downloading extract the AveDesk 1.2 files into a folder what you named AveDesk 1.2.
You can put this folder everywhere. I put it under C:/Program Files/

Posted Image
After that open the AveDesk 1.1 from the zip or rar archive and put the Drive, Folder, Recyclebin and Shortcut into the Desklet folder. C:/Program Files/AveDesk 1.2/Desklets
You can delete now the AveDesk 1.1 rar or zip archive because you don’t need it anymore.

Start AveDesk 1.2

Double click at the AveDesk.exe icon, what is in the AveDesk 1.2 Folder C:/Program Files/AveDesk 1.2
AveDesk 1.2 is now started, but you can see that nothing happen. Because you need to load the Desklets.
You can see at the right Taskbar a small blue AveDesk icon. Double click on it and the AveDesk Desklet Control Panel opens.

Add a Drive Desklet

Posted Image

After loading the Desklets Control Panel, click on Desklets and Add Item.

Posted Image

Now, is a window open where are all your Desklets in a list. Choice the Drive from the list and click add.

Posted Image

You can see now a big icon on your desktop. On your Desklets Control Panel is now the Drive Desklet listed.

Edit your Drive Desklet

Posted Image

Right click on your Drive Desklet and go to Desklet Properties. A window is now open with the Properties of your Desklet.

Appearance
You can change the position, size, alpha, Rotation, Style, Effect and Icon of your Desklet.
It’s reconemend to use icons in the PNG format, looks much clear than icons in the ico format.

Label
Posted Image
Here you can change the font, size, position and background of your text in the Desklet.

Label Format
Posted Image
The size, file numbers, number of directories, space of the drive and total size of drive can be change here.

Drive (Location)
Posted Image
Here you can give the Drive Desklet the location. This step is the first one what you have to do.

After that save your AveDesk theme in the Desklets Control Panel under File than Save Theme.

And that’s it! Just play around with it. This steps you can do with the Folder Desklet and Recyclebin Desklet too!

Transparent Messenger? What!?
by aekiov

Miranda Instant Messenger:
:bulletgreen: Miranda-IM

Posted Image
Miranda is capable of many skins, such as this semi-transparent one.

Miranda-IM is a free messenger and requires not payment or registration!

Step One: Download a copy of the installer for Miranda IM!
This will install the messenger on your computer for instant messinging for AIM, MSN, ICQ, IRC, YIM, and many other downloadable protocols.

Step Two: Set up your profile!
Follow the instructions on how to set up your profile for the listed messengers above! This will creat a .dat file in your Miranda folder so you can back it up anytime to save your profile!

Step Three: Download the stuff!
The zip file contains everything you need to make your messenger look sleek and like the messenger for Mac; Adium! The README.TXT is included and should define everyhting for you! Here it is!

MirandAdium PLUS tutorial

This is a news tutorial to "mod" your miranda and make it looks like Adium. This version is done with a plugin and more simple to use. This tutorial is not very hard but its a good place to redirict people who wants to know how to, some sort of support.
Files in the archive
Bellow list is the files that you will find in that archive:

files/clist_nicer.dll
files/TweakUI.dll
files/miranda-im-v0.4rc1.zip

Related links

TweakUI : http://angelo-t.site....com.br/miranda
Clist thread at miranda-im.org : http://forums.mirand...p...asc&start=0
Lastest miranda beta version : http://forums.mirand...pic.php?t=22184

Installation
Step 1 : Unpack it !
First of all you have to extract "files/miranda-im-v0.4rc1.zip". Then unpack "files/clist_nicer.rar" and "files/TweakUI.zip". After that step, you just have to launch miranda and then do the folowing :

Contact List / List Background + / Import / agon.clist / Apply

Then, check :

Contact List / List Background + / Make selection shape equal to selected items
Contact List / List Background + / Blend selection with background
Contact List / List Background + / Automatically fill background with wallpaper

Step 2 : TweakUI
Check

Plugins / TweakUI / No Border
Plugins / TweakUI / Make main windows transparent, but let contact opaque
Plugins / TweakUI / Disable background picture

After doing that you will have something looking like that :
After that, you can configure your own colors and parameters in :

Contact List / List Background +


Step Four: Your own .clist!
You can play around in the Contact List > List Backround + and then figure out how to create your own personal .clist file!

Step Five: Happy Messaging!
I hope that you found this tutorial useful and easy to read!
until next time! Happy messaging and chatting!

DOWNLOAD .ZIP:
Miranda Stuff


AveTunes Tutorial
By Faneramx

You need iTunes to use this desklets.

:download: Download AveTunes: AveTunes

Extract

Posted Image

Extract the files from the downloaded rar file to the AveDesk 1.2 Desklets Folder. C:/Program Files/AveDesk 1.2/Desklets

Start AveTunes

Posted Image

Open the Desklets Contol Panel. Go to Desklets and than add. You can see that the Add Desklet window is open. Open the iTuneDesklet tree, and choice a skin what you want to use.

Edit the AveTunes Skin

Posted Image

You can see now a AveTunes skin on your desktop. Right click on it and go to Desklet Properties.

Posted Image

A Desklet Properties window is now open. If you don’t like the text under the AveTunes skin, go to the label tab and choice: no label, in the type box.

Use the album jpg. In your AveTunes skins

Posted Image

You can use here artworks for a preview in the AveTunes skins. You need to put a 300x300 jpg (smaller or bigger, but not to big) in to you musik folder. Give your pic the name “folder”.
AveTunes can use now your albumart previews.
Go now to iTunes interaction tab and click in the “If there is no artwork, try to use folder.jpg”
Box.

Change the AveTunes skin

Posted Image

Go here in the Desklet Properties window to the skin tab. Here you can select your skins what you have in your C:/program files/AveDesk1.2/Desklets/AveTunes/skins, folder.

AveTunes Skins location

Posted Image

Under C:/program files/AveDesk1.2/Desklets/AveTunes/skins, you can drag and drop your downloaded AveTunes skins.

Here is a list of some AveTunes skins


Album Cover: http://www.aqua-soft.......8943&page=1

7 a.m.: http://www.aqua-soft...ead.php?t=23929

BZ Skin Changer: http://www.aqua-soft.......9610&page=1

Green Glas: http://www.aqua-soft...ead.php?t=23640

Alienpod: http://www.aqua-soft...hlight=avetunes

The Magic Marble Project 2.1: http://www.aqua-soft...hlight=avetunes

AveTunes Shuffle: http://www.aqua-soft...ead.php?t=23970

AeroTunes: http://www.gfxoasis....showtopic=10758

icover: http://www.gfxoasis....h...=12223&st=0

FlipTunes: http://www.aqua-soft...hlight=avetunes

Louiemantia: http://www.louiemantia.com/?page_id=9

AeroTunes: http://www.deviantar...ation/15484539/

iPod Photo: http://www.aqua-soft...2821#post272821

S2: http://www.aqua-soft...ead.php?t=26474

Milkbar: http://www.aqua-soft.......5686&page=1

Mythzva Minitunes : http://www.aqua-soft...ead.php?t=25705

#2 Faneramx

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 07:50 AM

yeah very good aqua structure!!! thank you!

#3 Power User Z

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 10:59 AM

Great job Aqua Structure (Y)

#4 iqbal0786

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 05:01 PM

wow plenty of information

#5 garonshanks

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 05:17 PM

This is good.

#6 Aqua Structure

Aqua Structure

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 05:55 PM

Well, come on. You guys have to add some yourself. Simply discussing the skinning of windows is not enough.

I might do a segment on docks later.

#7 WinstonGFX

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 06:10 PM

Thank you AS... you want us to add? I thought this was going to be where noobs could ask noob question.. not where noobs read all...

#8 Aqua Structure

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 07:04 PM

Thank you AS... you want us to add? I thought this was going to be where noobs could ask noob question.. not where noobs read all...

Well, some links wouldn't hurt.

And yes, this is where noobs can ask their questions, but if the information is already there, they won't have to.

#9 Aqua Structure

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 08:19 PM

post moved by Areus, thanks

Edited by Aqua Structure, 21 June 2005 - 05:43 PM.


#10 Faneramx

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 02:54 PM

Post moved thank you ;)

Edited by Faneramx, 21 June 2005 - 05:09 PM.


#11 Aqua Structure

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 02:55 PM

Spectacular tutorial, dude! :D

#12 Areus

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 03:37 PM

Thank you both so much for doing this. I put the other two tutorials in the first post.

Very thorough and appreciated. :D

#13 Aqua Structure

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 04:02 PM

I put the other two tutorials in the first post.

w00t. Excellent.

*adds "by" credits*

#14 Faneramx

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 05:07 PM

great thank you!

i delete than my tutorial from my post to spare space and image loading time!

systat and avetunes tutorial are coming soon!

Edited by Faneramx, 21 June 2005 - 05:10 PM.


#15 Aqua Structure

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 05:54 PM

Also deleted my tutorial from the post, because it was merged.

#16 Areus

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 06:13 PM

*adds "by" credits*

How could I have forgotten!? :blink:

Thank you both.

#17 Aqua Structure

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 03:47 AM

Wow, I see we got "Featured Thread" status! How exciting! :D

#18 cmkumar2k

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 05:06 AM

the "all in one place (thread!)" for a beginner..... good efforts and gr8 job aqua structure.... (Y)

#19 Caleb

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 05:33 AM

Transparent Messenger? What!?

Miranda Instant Messenger:
:bulletgreen: Miranda-IM

Miranda-IM is a free messenger and requires not payment or registration!

Step One: Download a copy of the installer for Miranda IM!
This will install the messenger on your computer for instant messinging for AIM, MSN, ICQ, IRC, YIM, and many other downloadable protocols.

Step Two: Set up your profile!
Follow the instructions on how to set up your profile for the listed messengers above! This will creat a .dat file in your Miranda folder so you can back it up anytime to save your profile!

Step Three: Download the stuff!
The zip file contains everything you need to make your messenger look sleek and like the messenger for Mac; Adium! The README.TXT is included and should define everyhting for you! Here it is!

MirandAdium PLUS tutorial

This is a news tutorial to "mod" your miranda and make it looks like Adium. This version is done with a plugin and more simple to use. This tutorial is not very hard but its a good place to redirict people who wants to know how to, some sort of support.
Files in the archive
Bellow list is the files that you will find in that archive:

files/clist_nicer.dll
files/TweakUI.dll
files/miranda-im-v0.4rc1.zip

Related links

TweakUI : http://angelo-t.site....com.br/miranda
Clist thread at miranda-im.org : http://forums.mirand...der=asc&start=0
Lastest miranda beta version : http://forums.mirand...pic.php?t=22184

Instalation
Step 1 : Unpack it !
First of all you have to extract "files/miranda-im-v0.4rc1.zip". Then unpack "files/clist_nicer.rar" and "files/TweakUI.zip". After that step, you just have to launch miranda and then do the folowing :

Contact List / List Background + / Import / agon.clist / Apply

Then, check :

Contact List / List Background + / Make selection shape equal to selected items
Contact List / List Background + / Blend selection with background
Contact List / List Background + / Automatically fill background with wallpaper

Step 2 : TweakUI
Check

Plugins / TweakUI / No Border
Plugins / TweakUI / Make main windows transparent, but let contact opaque
Plugins / TweakUI / Disable background picture

After doing that you will have something looking like that :
After that, you can configure your own colors and parameters in :

Contact List / List Background +


Step Four: Your own .clist!
You can play around in the Contact List > List Backround + and then figure out how to create your own personal .clist file!

Step Five: Happy Messaging!
I hope that you found this tutorial useful and easy to read!
until next time! Happy messaging and chatting!

DOWNLOAD .ZIP:
Miranda Stuff

Edited by aekiov, 22 June 2005 - 08:11 PM.


#20 +mw.pmi

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 05:47 AM

I thought that this was addressed before. But, if not....hey, you could even upload this into a TUTORIAL of sorts. And even post it at other sites too. This information would be highly valuable to many beginners, and veterans alike. Allot of us that are familiar with customization aren't on a "heads-up" with the other programs mentioned in this "tutorial"/"guide".

Thanks for the excellent work of hot-links, and all of the screenshots, and mentioned. Chyeah! :woot:

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