How would you like to have a taste of the future today? In this week’s blog post, we’ll show you a very unique way to transform your entire Windows desktop into the more modern and intuitive Metro interface, which is already being used with Windows Phone 7 and will likely be a part of 2012′s Windows 8.
What is Metro?
Microsoft speaks a very new design language these days—Metro is a move towards a more elegant and less cluttered interface. The first major product that incorporated the Metro User Interface (UI) was Microsoft’s Zune, an iPod competitor that didn’t do well on the market; today, it is on the more successful Windows Phone 7— Microsoft’s totally revamped smartphone operating system.
Metro UI feels alive with its larger fonts and live tiles. Best of all: it’s simple and easy to navigate. This UI works well for touch-based devices like tablets, and even Microsoft adapted this look-and-feel on its own website.
Interestingly, Metro will play a big part of the upcoming Windows 8 operating system, which is allegedly featuring two UIs: one for the desktop and one for mobile devices that support touch-input. Windows specialists Rafael Rivera and Paul Thurrott recently revealed two Windows 8 features that sport the new Metro look and are optimized for tablets.
Modern Reader: A built-in PDF reader optimized for tablets
Internet Explorer: Microsoft’s browser will focus entirely on content (e.g. websites). All unnecessary elements, such as menu bars, address bars and icons, will be hidden. The moment you touch the interface, these elements will become visible.
Get Metro for Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 – TODAY
If you like the new Metro interface, then you’re in for a treat. We’re going to show you an exciting way to apply this new look to your desktop. Here are four examples of how your Windows could look after the update (which is totally free!).
Here’s what you need to do. The transformation you see above is actually a very elaborate theme from Rainmeter. Head over to the website, and download the latest release. There’s no need to launch Rainmeter now. Instead, go to Omnimo.co.cc or head over to DeviantArt to download the theme “Omnimo 3.1″ theme. Extract the ZIP file, and double-click on “Omnimo.rmskin”.
This will extract the Omnimo theme into Rainmeter—then hit “Install”. On the welcome screen, select your country references and your screen resolution.
Now, watch as your desktop is transformed into the Windows Phone 7 look-and-feel.
As you can see, your desktop icons and taskbar are still clearly visible. If that’s distracting you or you want to use Omnimo UI to launch your applications, you can switch back to the desktop, right-click on it and select “View”. Uncheck “Show desktop icons”. All of your icons will then be gone. To make your taskbar fits nicely with the new theme, you need to apply a new theme (read below for how to do this).
Now, let’s move on to customizing Omnimo. You’ll be dealing with a handful of default tiles; each of which represents a different feature.
Move over a title, such as “Weather”, to reveal additional information.
By clicking on the little tool icon in the upper left corner of each tile, you can easily change the preferences. For example, you can configure the “Images folder” tile and specify your personal images folder.
By hitting “Set”, you’ll save the changes. Since there are dozens and dozens of tiles, we can’t really explain all of the settings—but you’ll quickly get the hang of it!
Did you also notice the little arrow that appears when you hover over a tile? By clicking it, you’ll get a different view or a totally different function of the tile. Take the “Browser” tile, for example.
By default, it launched Internet Explorer. If you click the arrow icon, you can actually set it to launch Opera, Chrome, Safari or Firefox if you have one of these other browser options installed.
The default tiles are somewhat limited. But prepare to be stunned! Click on the rounded arrow icon to see a huge gallery of pre-defined tiles.
This will give you access to not just application shortcuts but a whole arraw of gadgets and system information tools. To add a tile you like, click on it once. It’ll appear in the upper corner of your screen.
Use drag & drop to place it anywhere you like. Add as many tiles as you want (or as many that can fit on your screen). Here’s what my personal Omnimo desktop looks like.
By the way: To add new application shortcuts, you need to select the “Programs” tile (it’s clearly visible on your desktop) and customize it. Here you will have a chance to add your own paths, text labels and icons. This step is a bit complicated, but in the end, you’ll have all of your applications under the cool Metro UI.
If you want, you can disable the default news and RSS reader. To do this, simply open up the gallery, and click on the “text items” category.
Check or uncheck all of the feeds you like to see on your desktop. There are also items that let you take notes, show all of your libraries, and give you the current weather or even a world clock. Obviously, all of these customizations will take you a lot of time—but will look fantastic on your Windows desktop!
Adapt your Windows theme to fit the new Metro UI
The Windows taskbar is still necessary to switch between applications or open the Start menu, for instance. I personally couldn’t live without it. Instead of completely disabling it (which I don’t think any user should actually try to do), how about using a different style to make it blend? The makers of Omnimo UI included a unique theme that makes the taskbar fit nicely. It’s called “Clear”! Compared to the default Windows “Aero” style, it offers a more transparent look of the task bar (see below for more on that).
Here’s how you can apply this style. Download and install TuneUp Utilities 2011 (if you haven’t done so already). Launch the product and go straight to the “Customize Windows” category. From here, fire up TuneUp Styler by clicking on “Personalize the appearance of Windows”.
Click on “Add” and “Load visual style from a file”. Next, browse to the Omnimo UI folder and go to the “Clear taskbar theme” directory. Inside the “Clear taskbar” subfolder, you’ll double-click on the “clear.msstyles” and hit “Apply”. This will enable the new look. Depending on your personal taste, you can either go for a completely transparent look or choose the same solid colors of your Metro UI interface. To adjust the transparency, fire up “Control Panel” and go to the “Personalization\Window Color and Appearance” category. Now, move the slider all the way to the right (for a solid color) or all the way to the left for a completely transparent look.
Hit “Save changes” when you are satisfied with the results.
How do you like it?
I personally think that the new Windows Phone 7 interface is beautifully designed; it feels more modern than the classic, icon-dependent Apple iOS or Google Android. This is why I fell in love with this unique Windows theme. What do you think? Did you check out any of the other tile packs and add-ons available on http://omnimo.co.cc?
4 Responses to “Transform your PC into Windows Phone 7”
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