Organize your Desktop with Fences

Most modern operating systems feature similar “desktop” paradigms. Windows is no exception to this. However, as many users notice, the desktop quickly fills up with icons and other shortcuts that you don’t really need. This leads to an organizational nightmare, and the purpose of the desktop, providing quick access to the files, folders, and applications you need, is defeated.

Furthermore, organization is limited to the grid system. There is no way to really “group” certain items together, and no organization beyond making separate sections for your groups. This can lead to confusion and it takes longer to find the things you need. This is where Stardock Fences comes into the picture.

Overview

Stardock Fences can fix organizational problems by creating “fences”, defined regions where your icons can be dragged, dropped, and moved as groups. Unlike most other desktop organization software, “fences” creates a physical overlay on your desktop and overcomes the basic restrictions of the system, as opposed to simply sorting your icons.

Fences creates shaded regions on your desktop that are movable and resizable containers for your icons. You can sort your icons into separate categories (called “fences”) and use this to organize and space out your desktop. You can drag and drop icons into and out of these areas, then move the groups as entire headers. The interface is simple, easy to use, and attractive.

Fences creates virtual boxes for more organized storage

Fences comes in two versions: free and professional. The free version is fully functional and ad-free, and is enough for most people. For commercial use, or for power users, the professional version is required. The difference between the two versions is outlined below with the use of a chart, as displayed on Stardock’s website.

Both versions are ad-free and offer enough features to be useful.

The features listed above summarize the scope of the software. One killer feature is the double click to hide all the icons on your desktop. Once launching an application, all your desktop icons can be hidden, leaving a clear, clean view of the desktop background.

Using Fences

You can download Fences for free from the official site, and install in a few minutes. After installing, the software will offer to automatically organize all your desktop icons into pre-made fences, including “Documents”, “Quick Links”, and a few others. This option is useful for new users to get the hang of Fences. You can always refuse this option and draw your own fence.

By right clicking a blank space and dragging, you create a fence. You can give the fence a title, then drag and drop icons into it. You can choose to organize by file type, interest, importance, or any other criteria you feel important. Once you’ve created the fences you need, you can move the entire fences to different places, resize them, and organize them on your desktop. Even a large number of icons can be organized.

A large number of icons still look good in Fences

Alternatively, new fences can be made by selecting icons or highlighting a region of icons with the right mouse button, the clicking “Create new Fence from these icons”. This allows for even easier creation of fences, and is a nice feature to have when adding new icons to the desktop. Blank areas of the desktop can be highlighted to create empty fences as well.

Creating a new Fence using the selected icons

Fences can be excluded from the quick-hide, allowing for them to remain once all the other fences have been hidden. This allows to hide specific fences when required. It can be used to hide away distracting icons when you are trying to work, or quickly hide icons from onlookers. Another feature of Fences is the ability to take snapshots of your desktop. If, after making changes to your configuration, you decide to restore and old desktop layout, you can do so with Snapshots. Snapshots allow you to save configuration whenever you choose, and later restore the icons and layout. All this is done from the Fences options window.

A simple options window lets users quickly access the features they want to use.

One more killer feature of Fences is the ability to colour the fences to match your desktop background. You can change the hue and saturation, transparency, and brightness using sliders to any colour you want. This lets you match the fence to your desktop background and retains the look of your background even when the fences are visible. You also have the option to show or hide the labels that appear over your fences to math your preferences.

Performance

Fences works on all versions of Windows from XP onward (XP, Vista, and Windows 7, both 32bit and 64bit) and the performance is consistent throughout. Lightweight and smooth, it is unlikely to interfere with the performance of weaker computers such as netbooks. However, when there is a large number of icons, Fences does take some time upon start-up (it is a bearable length of time), but is fairly consistent after that. With the latest release, the quick-hide fade transition is much smoother, and overall, Fences gets a strong performance rating.

Conclusion

Overall, Fences performs very well, and is a useful desktop software that anyone can find productive. If you’ve tried other software, such as BumpTop, you might read this and wonder what makes Fences better. The low processor footprint, combined with the extensive features and intuitive interface, Fences is sure to be a hit with anyone who needs to organize their desktop.

Fences offers easy desktop organization for free, is an easy way to stay productive and it is a joy to look at. The eye-candy is no small feature, and many are sure to enjoy the software. Head over to the Stardock Fences website and give it a shot!


Summary

Fences helps you organize your desktop and can hide your icons when they are not in use. Intuitive, polished, lightweight, and useful, Fences is a must-have for any messy desktop.

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