Neowin Review: Fence your desktop with Stardock Fences

Windows Desktop - A place where every installed application likes to place a shortcut and also a place to hold all your shortcuts and favorites. Things can become very messy when you have lots of desktop icons, like mine below:

Well, there's not that many on my desktop, but I still place them in categories. Microsoft Office Apps all reside together and Windows Live Apps reside together. Each time I bring a new shortcut to my desktop, Windows places them in a separate order which it thinks to be right and then I move that shortcut icon to its appropriate group. For example, If I install a new game, I would place a shortcut where all my games shortcuts reside.

For a start, this arrangement looks simple - not a big job - but as days pass by and my number of shortcuts increases, this becomes very hard to find where my shortcut belongs.

Stardock's Fences exactly addresses this issue. It allows you to organize your desktop icons and create fences. Visualize fences as blocks of icons (shaded areas) grouped together. Now it becomes very easy to organize my icons using Fences according to the categories I had arranged earlier!

To create fence, you can just right-click on your desktop, drag it to draw a rectangle and release. Your new fence is now created and you can group your icons to that fence. Fences can be re-arranged anywhere on my desktop and are also re-sizable.

And what about those so many icons issue? - They are still there, except that they are now fenced. I really like to see my icons only when I use them. Using fences, it is very easy to hide & show all your icons with an easy double-click on an empty space in your desktop! Now, this is one such shortcut which I think anyone would love to have!

You can also exclude fences from this quick hide behavior

And here is my fenced desktop

You can download the community-preview of Fences here. Fences runs on all of Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. On Vista and Windows 7, both 32bit and 64bit versions are supported.

Remember, Fences is just an add-on to your desktop and does not replace your desktop

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Looks good, but I'll stick with RocketDock and me Stackdock Docklets I think - I have it configured exactly as I want it. Thanks for the review though!

I personally think Stardock Fences makes a good productivity tool.

If the use of desktop icons is a necessary tool for an individuals need for productivity, then at least there should be some means to organize them in an intelligent or logical manner.

I remote in to dozens of different client machines...
Some desktops are tidy, but most are a total mess. After discussing the "cleanup", a quick download and installation of Fences makes most of my clients thrilled to keep organized. Sometimes I even download a wallpaper (archived on my hosting server) to match a theme for them.

I've attached a "dual monitor" image set to show you what I mean.
Here's a 22" monitor set up as monitor #2.

And a 19" monitor as monitor#1.


As you can see, the real estate looks a lot less like a jungle.
Stormmaker

I'd like the ability to create a fence that would act as a virtual folder and display the contents of any folder in the shell. And the ability to have a different icon view mode for each individual fence.

That would make it a completely different program though, I guess; what it looks like it does now is just moves icons around on the desktop and draws the fences behind them.

Looks cool but I still find Objectdocs with Stack docklets 2.0 plug in the best for me with it this way i have no "icons" on the desktop (except the dock)

@Magallanes my god man how do you navigate through that desktop that would make me throw the pc out the window

It's quite rare to find a utility that a) does just what you were hoping for when you went Googling for something like it, b) has a simple, intuitive interface, c) is alone in its field, and d) comes entirely free! What's to criticize? OK, I'd like to be able to sort items by name, size or whatever, within a fence, but that's a small improvement for a later release maybe. Features like instant hiding and adjustable hue, transarency, brightness, etc. are cool, and I love the way unfenced icons drift aside to let fences move, while fenced icons and folders auto-rearrange in a very slick manner.

Give the inventor a medal, I say, and send him a contribution by way of thanks. This tool must represent many hours of programming and testing, and it's vital to encourage freeware developers to improve their projects.

And the "hide the icons" feature has become my second-most-used feature in Fences. Like most of us that have kept it, Fences starts when Windows (Vista Ultimate 64-bit in my case) does. However, I have Fences start in hidden-icons mode by default. (Other than my programs that launch on startup, all of which are in the Tasktray, there's the taskbar, QuickLaunch bar, and the desktop wallpaper, with not a desktop icon (not even the Recycle Bin) in sight.)
But what if I want to start something from a known desktop shortcut? I double-click to bring my Fenced-in icons back, launch the app from its shortcut, then double-click any open area to hide the icons again.

Wallpaper exists for a reason - to be LOOKED AT. A plethora of shortcuts cluttering the desktop takes away from that. However, I'm not anal-retentive enough (or neatness-freak enough) to spend what extra time I have organizing my icons. Fences tackles the organization problem (or even lets me banish the icons altogether), while being hyperminimalist in terms of resource-usage and costing nothing in terms of money. Epic win, no matter how you slice it.

Very light and not bloatware or a 3rd party secret labratory built into the software. I just installed it and it seems to be a nice organizational tool for framing your icons into categories on the desktop. And you can use colors for your frames and transparency.

this is straight up junk/bloatware. to be honest, this is like trying to put a wallpaper on a trashcan to make it look less cluttered or look better.

Just gave this a go sheerly out of curiosity; my desktop isn't so cluttered that I need that level of organization. I like it, maybe more than I should. Here's what I'd like to see in future builds: shortcuts in fences do not show shortcut arrow (some people will want it, of course, so it should be an option in the preferences). You should be able to dock a fence to an edge and have it autohide. By autohide I do not mean completely disappear, but to hide the fence and leave the titlebar area showing, then have it expand when you mouse over. Yeah, I know, what I'm asking for is basically another dock, and there is Objectdock, but this is different in that it's a lot more lightweight, and there aren't any zoom effects (don't get me wrong, I like zoom effects, but now with Windows 7 I'm no longer using a dock app, and I'm becoming accustomed to a simpler, less flashy yet elegant view). Plus it organizes actual files instead of just being a fancy shortcut to them. Also, it would be nice if you could associate certain extensions to automatically be added to a fence. For example, I should be able to create a fence called Videos, specify that I want it to hold all .avi, .mkv, .ogm, .mp4 etc., and then any files I put on my desktop with those extensions should automatically go into that fence.

I really don't see how an app like this is necessary. It really isn't that hard to organise a desktop without having to installing and run an extra app. I feel People want it just for the thrill of having something different on there desktop.

But why would you want to hide icons?

Why not just have a few items on your desktop and then everything else put in the start bar?

On my desktop I have very temporary files, recycle bin and a link to a hard drive where i keep all the junk that's there for a while. My "to sort" folder.

That's pretty much how I use my desktop, too, with the exception of my Live Sync share, which stays there for convenience. It bugs me when I see desktops full of nothing but shortcuts. FFS, why?

Excellent! The double click auto-hide had me immediately sold, I constantly hide and un-hide my icons. I like how swish it makes things look aswell :).

Looks like Stardock has ripped another feature from linux. In this case it's KDE 4.2's desktop plasma widget which organizes your desktop icons into a single box. Fences just adds a bunch of them and gives them names.

Ender2070 said,
Looks like Stardock has ripped another feature from linux. In this case it's KDE 4.2's desktop plasma widget which organizes your desktop icons into a single box. Fences just adds a bunch of them and gives them names.


Fences has been in development long before KDE had anything like that. That's because doing what Fences does on Windows is a massive massive undertaking.

There have been semi-public betas of Fences since 2007 and it's been been in internal development years before that.

Saying Fences "ripped" off Linux is the same kind of nonsense we got when Mac users tried to say DesktopX ripped off Konfabulator.

Frogboy said,
Fences has been in development long before KDE had anything like that. That's because doing what Fences does on Windows is a massive massive undertaking.

There have been semi-public betas of Fences since 2007 and it's been been in internal development years before that.

Saying Fences "ripped" off Linux is the same kind of nonsense we got when Mac users tried to say DesktopX ripped off Konfabulator.

This first beta of KDE 4.0 was in Aug 2007 so yes it's still possible that it was copied. KDE 4 was on the drawing board years before that.

Ender, please bother reading above, the exact thing I commented on earlier.

"maetrix66 - thanks, but Fences is in no way a KDE 4.1/4.2 clone

Citation, July 9 2007: http://forums.wincustomize.com/157218

I think that article talking about our future-tech [July 2007] nicly pre-dates KDE4 ; and if you'd like a unrelesed prototype version I have from *2002*, you're welcome to have it. Doesn't work on Vista though...I'd say probably does on XP though. Fences was started in 1999 as "Desktop Icon Organizer", as the About page notes."

Ender2070 said,
This first beta of KDE 4.0 was in Aug 2007 so yes it's still possible that it was copied. KDE 4 was on the drawing board years before that.

or they were developed around the same time, as people realised the need / user desire?

Ender2070 said,
This first beta of KDE 4.0 was in Aug 2007 so yes it's still possible that it was copied. KDE 4 was on the drawing board years before that.

Might want to look at post #49... (which I doubt you did)

ir0nw0lf said,
Might want to look at post #49... (which I doubt you did)

You might want to READ what I typed up. KDE 4.0 BETA 1 was out Aug 2007. They started their design in 2005 between the release of 3.4 and 3.5.

Even if Stardock thought of the idea back in 1999, it took them 10 years to make something functional from it? LOL.

Even if they were first, they at least hijacked the look of it. I run KDE 4.2 on my workstation here and thought of KDE the first time I looked at fences.

Ender2070 said,
You might want to READ what I typed up. KDE 4.0 BETA 1 was out Aug 2007. They started their design in 2005 between the release of 3.4 and 3.5.

Even if Stardock thought of the idea back in 1999, it took them 10 years to make something functional from it? LOL.

Even if they were first, they at least hijacked the look of it. I run KDE 4.2 on my workstation here and thought of KDE the first time I looked at fences.


Fences has looked like it does since the earliest betas.

And making something like this is non-trivial. It's not like we were working on it full time but it has been in the works a long time. There's lots of things like this.

Can you possibly just concede that KDE is not an inspiration for fences? Good grief.

Great, yet another Stardock project that looks good, gives good functionality, but do you really need it?.

Stardock do good things, I like their suite but I don't use it after I found it bloated my system too much. Shame all the themes for windows explorer are bloated too

I don't like windowsblind mainly because the "bloated" factor, but this application fit perfectly for my needing (check my latest post on this thread).

This is certainly not for people who like minimilistic desktop (Me :P), although if installed on Office PC's the users will LOVE it.

desktop shouldn't need any icons at all, if any they should be temporary which shouldn't need an application to organize them in windows 7 it's what the "super bar and start menu" is for.

Digix said,
desktop shouldn't need any icons at all, if any they should be temporary which shouldn't need an application to organize them in windows 7 it's what the "super bar and start menu" is for.

Exactly my thoughts

I like the application but I had to uninstall it, it has some bugs I cannot tolerate, first off after installing it the first thing I noticed was that after logging off Windows and then back in the icons on my desktop which were at the lower edge of the screen were relocated to the upper area of the desktop, the only way to fix that was by disabling "Align icons to grid" then after rebooting the PC the windows Gadgets would not show up, I'm in Windows 7 x64 build 7000 with an i7 processor and 3GBs of RAM. Hopefully they will fix these issues soon so I can use it again.

Back in the early ninties there was a destop utiltie put out by, (I think, thu not sure) Norton which allowed you to arrange you desktop in a similar manner. You would setup a box similar to fences, then drag and drop the icons for the applications you want in the box, and at the same time you would name the box (i.e., Office, graphics, etc.).

I do like the idea, hence, it is on my desk top, though I use the double click to hide the fences. As others have stated I too, like to have a clean desk top. Still there is "Right Click" my favorite add on.

Without thought downloaded and ran the program. Within five minutes I removed it.

I removed it because it made "right click" inaffective. Now for those who do not use "right click," and have a good deal of icons on the desktop it is a great application.

Understood, well thanks for posting back. No harm no foul - KDE does have a great piece of software on their hands - definitely innovative as well! We're just bringin yet more to the table. Go technology :)

And yeah, we do have more that we have planned to get to, wanted to keep it simple at first though. Folders on the desktop (vista-only), details-view, etc will be available at some point.

Really cool, if I hadnt just wiped my pc (clearing junk off the desktop at the same time) I would have been organising for a while. Now I should be organised from the start :D
I love Stardock, Sins is a brilliant game that simply works just like most of their apps. I just wish impulse was a little *more* then it is right now.

Looks like Windows 3.11's desktop but with transparencies......

I only have 5 icons on my desktop. What I use the most is either in the Quick Launch section of the taskbar or on the Start Menu (Not the Programs section).

Dude, re-read my comments.

I'm not (any longer, though I obviously did earlier) disputing that you may have come up with it first, I'm far enough removed from either group that I would never know the specifics of each programs development.

I'm simply standing by the remainder of my statement, that they took it the next step and included functionality that is not currently present in this peice of software. I have a feeling that this may be a part of the final plan.

My intent isn't really to knock down your work, though I admit now that it looks like I have.

I'm simply bringing to everyones attention that the functionality is currently available as part of FOSS projects.

I realize that you guys release software as freeware often, and are to be commended for that.

I'm simply trying to bring to light the fact that if you choose not to run Windows (I bet there are tons of machines at Stardock running Linux or OSX, lol), there is an option to replicate the same features in Linux.

maetrix66 said,
Dude, re-read my comments.

I'm not (any longer, though I obviously did earlier) disputing that you may have come up with it first, I'm far enough removed from either group that I would never know the specifics of each programs development.

I'm simply standing by the remainder of my statement, that they took it the next step and included functionality that is not currently present in this peice of software. I have a feeling that this may be a part of the final plan.

My intent isn't really to knock down your work, though I admit now that it looks like I have.

I'm simply bringing to everyones attention that the functionality is currently available as part of FOSS projects.

I realize that you guys release software as freeware often, and are to be commended for that.

I'm simply trying to bring to light the fact that if you choose not to run Windows (I bet there are tons of machines at Stardock running Linux or OSX, lol), there is an option to replicate the same features in Linux.


Stipulated.

However, UNLIKE KDE 4, it has auto-organize, several prebuilt groups (or fences, if using Fences), and actually includes a manual!

Also, there's another rather large advantage Fences has over KDE 4 (even a forthcoming KDE for Windows) - it's NOT an alternative desktop/OS. It's a very elegant (and supremely small) utility for my existing Windows (32-bit OR 64-bit) desktop. There are alternative desktops a-plenty. (Among them are Stardock's own DesktopX and Multiplicity, let alone the Object Desktop Suite.) Fences is like Mathematica (or a similar Win32-based program called MathCAD) in that you have no idea how useful and practically indespensible it is "until you use it yourself".

mamamamamamamama - take the time to read what was just posted about 2 posts above yours - we have public screenshots of Fences from 2007 and prototype builds from as far back as 2002. It's the other way around, if anything

#47.1 +what on 05 Feb 2009 - 19:24 maetrix66 said,Wow, this is such an original idea!

I'll have to commend the KDE group next time I see them!

People, this is merely a shadow of the functionality you can get in KDE 4.2 in Linux.
In KDE 4.2, you can actually make folder views that look almost exactly (coincidence, I think not)
as these "fences", but aren't showing shortcuts, they are showing the contents of the actual folders!
If you delete a file from the folder, it disappears from the desktop as well. You can transfer files from one folder to another by dragging and dropping between "fences" on your desktop.

For all intents and purposes, they function like having actual windows open on the desktop, but are quick hideable as well.

I find it amazing that no one here has noticed this yet..
Having it on KDE isn't much use to Windows users though, is it?

Actually, it is.....---->http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2009/01/testing-kde-42-release-candidate-on-windows.ars


Okay, I understand that the old argument of who thought of something first is hard to prove, but the obvious conclusion that can be made is, "you may have thought of it first, but they did it better"

mamamamamamama said,
It looks as if they lifted it from kde 4

It LOOKS that way too, if anything they lifted the design of it.

maetrix66 - thanks, but Fences is in no way a KDE 4.1/4.2 clone

Citation, July 9 2007: http://forums.wincustomize.com/157218

I think that article talking about our future-tech nicly pre-dates KDE4 [released 2008] ; and if you'd like a unrelesed prototype version I have from *2002*, you're welcome to have it. Doesn't work on Vista though...I'd say probably does on XP though. Fences was started in 1999 as "Desktop Icon Organizer", as the About page notes.

JMB1984 said,
maetrix66 - thanks, but Fences is in no way a KDE 4.1/4.2 clone

Citation, July 9 2007: http://forums.wincustomize.com/157218

I think that article talking about our future-tech nicly pre-dates KDE4 [released 2008] ; and if you'd like a unrelesed prototype version I have from *2002*, you're welcome to have it. Doesn't work on Vista though...I'd say probably does on XP though. Fences was started in 1999 as "Desktop Icon Organizer", as the About page notes.

So you're saying Stardock really took 10 years to make that? LOL KDE did it in a few years while designing an entire GUI and hardware subsystems.

Ender2070 said,
JMB1984 said,
maetrix66 - thanks, but Fences is in no way a KDE 4.1/4.2 clone

Citation, July 9 2007: http://forums.wincustomize.com/157218

I think that article talking about our future-tech nicly pre-dates KDE4 [released 2008] ; and if you'd like a unrelesed prototype version I have from *2002*, you're welcome to have it. Doesn't work on Vista though...I'd say probably does on XP though. Fences was started in 1999 as "Desktop Icon Organizer", as the About page notes.

So you're saying Stardock really took 10 years to make that? LOL KDE did it in a few years while designing an entire GUI and hardware subsystems.

Yea, when you have an open source OS, it's pretty trivial to integrate features right into the desktop.

No one is claiming this was some major Stardock project. But its development has nothing to do with what KDE did and that should be pretty obvious by now.

Just Linux trolls are a lot like Mac trolls. It doesn't occur to them that other people have ideas too.

Hey, that's pretty nice actually! :D

I always thought those desktop customization tools from Stardock were just about eye candy (WindowBlinds, CursorXP,...) but I think I can find this tool actually useful! Lightweight, straightforward and it does the things exactly like you want it. :)
I just have the same suggestion like some others here: we need some way to hide shortcut labels. Other than that, awesome program!

ObjectDock is a must have too. I've been using docks since the Amiga and OS/2 days, long before Apple claimed to have "invented" it and I wouldn't use Windows or OS X without it!

Wow, this is such an original idea!

I'll have to commend the KDE group next time I see them!

People, this is merely a shadow of the functionality you can get in KDE 4.2 in Linux.
In KDE 4.2, you can actually make folder views that look almost exactly (coincidence, I think not)
as these "fences", but aren't showing shortcuts, they are showing the contents of the actual folders!
If you delete a file from the folder, it disappears from the desktop as well. You can transfer files from one folder to another by dragging and dropping between "fences" on your desktop.

For all intents and purposes, they function like having actual windows open on the desktop, but are quick hideable as well.

I find it amazing that no one here has noticed this yet..

maetrix66 said,
Wow, this is such an original idea!

I'll have to commend the KDE group next time I see them!

People, this is merely a shadow of the functionality you can get in KDE 4.2 in Linux.
In KDE 4.2, you can actually make folder views that look almost exactly (coincidence, I think not)
as these "fences", but aren't showing shortcuts, they are showing the contents of the actual folders!
If you delete a file from the folder, it disappears from the desktop as well. You can transfer files from one folder to another by dragging and dropping between "fences" on your desktop.

For all intents and purposes, they function like having actual windows open on the desktop, but are quick hideable as well.

I find it amazing that no one here has noticed this yet..


Having it on KDE isn't much use to Windows users though, is it?

As for keeping a clean desktop, that's what Fences can do:

Before:


Double click on the desktop anywhere...

After:

Rudy said,
why is the recycling bin still there?

Its probably set to be excluded from quick-hide. That would be my guess, since that's what I did with my recycle bin.

BTW, Fences makes it easy to have a completely clear desktop.

Just double click on the desktop and all the icons on it go away. Double click again and they return.

MY question: everytime I install new video drivers and reboot, my 1680x1050 goes back to a lower resolution until I increase it back, it causes all my icons to scatter all over the place and out of order. Will this program keep that from happening? If so, I am so on this like Bill Clinton on an intern!

I have no icons on my desktop and haven't had since the days of Windows 98 when I first found a program that put icons in a menu on the toolbar. Now I have Object Dock, which slides out of sight when not in use -- it has 13 icons. Other than that, I'd much rather click two or three times to access something than to look at a junked-up desktop all day. Yes I am a neat freak...

I too rely more on the start menu and keep my desktop clear of pretty much all icons. I use the desktop area as more of a temporary working folder, and items that land on it are sorted into folder later.

Still, this looks cool and I may give it a try anyway.

wow!! ... very nice!!

I used to edit my wallpapers with photoshop years ago to do something similar to this,,, back when I had that thing they call "free time" xD ...

This tool overrides my wallpaper setting in Ultramon. With Fences installed, I no longer can have a single wide desktop spanning both monitors.

I don't have that problem and I use Ultramon, John's Background Switcher, and DeskScapes/DreamScenes to change my very wide three monitor background all the time. You might want to try JBS for wallpaper btw instead of Ultramon. I just switched and it's free.

As mentioned previously, it reminds me of Program Manager, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Personally I wouldn't use this as I like to have bare desktop, and the start menu completely suits my needs.

I suppose this is good for people who like icons on their desktop, personally I use the quicklaunch bar / superbar.

i would find it more useful if, when you created a new folder, doc, whatever, it automatically put it in the proper fence.

excalpius said,
How would it know that? Seriously.

You can have a "default" fence where new icons are placed.

Also it could use the classifier that it already has in the Auto Layout feature to automatically place icons into fences.

Wow! This has to be the most useful utility I have installed in years! I love the way it remembers the positions of the fences per resolution. Now if it would do the same for the icons. One thing that has always been a pain in the but is the way windows pushes you icons to the center when you run a lower resolution but doesn't put them back when you switch back to the higher resolution. For example you have a laptop with a 1280x800 screen but when your in the office it is connected to a 1680x1050 monitor. Or another example is having a computer in you office connected to a 1680x1050 monitor and then from the house you use your 1280x800 laptop to connect to your desktop at work via RDP. When you connect the icons get move all over the place. Another example is roaming profiles. Logon with your user at one desk with a big monitor, then later logon at a computer with a small monitor.

Icon positions per resolution is something MS should have built into windows a long time ago.

It looks sort of like KDE 4. :S

Anyway, this is not really for me. I disable my Windows desktop these days. (right-click -> View menu -> Hide icons)

Just a plain background, heh. I get all I need from about 10 Quicklaunch icons, and the instant search feature of Vista's start menu. I often just need to type the first two letters or so; much faster than looking through a cluttered desktop IMHO.

Was waiting for someone to say that, this was what I thought immediately! Looks useful though, but I have no icons on my desktop...

I know some people that would love this. I try to keep my desktop clean though, so wouldn't have enough icons to warrant using this.

LOL @ Magallanes, that's crazy.

I tended toward the same thing, but I have too many things going on. So I made some nice fences to organize things and then I...double click...all the icons and fences away. I found this combo gave me a win-win between the cleanest desktop and a nice temp/active storage area (the desktop).

This reminds me of Windows 3.11. I had all my windows/groups of shorcuts layed out in boxes/windows on my screen.

But I dont have many icons on my desktop. Every app I use the most i have an icon in the quick launch...works great.

You gotta be kidding me! This has got to be the most useful program Stardock has made to date! Not that the other ones are bad (because they aren't! ) ... but this is ace. /cheer

I don't really see how this is that necessary... or that helpful. It really isn't that difficult to keep windows organised without having to use more applications.

acies said,
I don't really see how this is that necessary... or that helpful. It really isn't that difficult to keep windows organised without having to use more applications.

Choices, choices , choices. There you go

acies said,
I don't really see how this is that necessary... or that helpful. It really isn't that difficult to keep windows organised without having to use more applications.


Except that most users don't friggin BOTHER. (I know I don't, and I go back to Windows/286.)

Worse, if you actually DO organize your desktop, you're regarded (by your fellow co-workers) as VERY anal-retentive (or worse, they wonder where you get the time to organize your desktop).

Also, when was the last time there has been such an elegant icon-organization utility for ANY UI/OS (leaving the Eternal Win/Mac/Linux/UNIX Battle out of the picture)? The closest I've seen to Fences (for any UI/OS) is the plasmoids feature in KDE 4. However, KDE 4 (like everything else to date) has one flaw: it's an alternative desktop.

What most of us want is de-cluttering of our EXISTING desktops.

That's what Fences is about.

Hyperminimalist, hyper-sensible, and usable right away WITHOUT being anal-retentive (the fact that it's also free AND bitness-neutral is icing on this cupcake of a utility).

acies said,
I don't really see how this is that necessary... or that helpful. It really isn't that difficult to keep windows organised without having to use more applications.


Except that most users don't friggin BOTHER. (I know I don't, and I go back to Windows/286.)

Worse, if you actually DO organize your desktop, you're regarded (by your fellow co-workers) as VERY anal-retentive (or worse, they wonder where you get the time to organize your desktop).

Also, when was the last time there has been such an elegant icon-organization utility for ANY UI/OS (leaving the Eternal Win/Mac/Linux/UNIX Battle out of the picture)? The closest I've seen to Fences (for any UI/OS) is the plasmoids feature in KDE 4. However, KDE 4 (like everything else to date) has one flaw: it's an alternative desktop.

What most of us want is de-cluttering of our EXISTING desktops.

That's what Fences is about.

Hyperminimalist, hyper-sensible, and usable right away WITHOUT being anal-retentive (the fact that it's also free AND bitness-neutral is icing on this cupcake of a utility).

acies said,
I don't really see how this is that necessary... or that helpful. It really isn't that difficult to keep windows organised without having to use more applications.


Except that most users don't friggin BOTHER. (I know I don't, and I go back to Windows/286.)

Worse, if you actually DO organize your desktop, you're regarded (by your fellow co-workers) as VERY anal-retentive (or worse, they wonder where you get the time to organize your desktop).

Also, when was the last time there has been such an elegant icon-organization utility for ANY UI/OS (leaving the Eternal Win/Mac/Linux/UNIX Battle out of the picture)? The closest I've seen to Fences (for any UI/OS) is the plasmoids feature in KDE 4. However, KDE 4 (like everything else to date) has one flaw: it's an alternative desktop.

What most of us want is de-cluttering of our EXISTING desktops.

That's what Fences is about.

Hyperminimalist, hyper-sensible, and usable right away WITHOUT being anal-retentive (the fact that it's also free AND bitness-neutral is icing on this cupcake of a utility).

I have been part of the betas of Fences. Fences is beyond useful: I have shortcuts on my desktop organized by category. I wish it could be integrated into Windows.

Magallanes said,
It is just the tool that i was wishing for.

BTW my desktop

You definitely don't need 90% of the crap on there. Look at all the ZIPs and MSIs. Move that **** to the Recycling Bin, if you can find it.

VTSV said,
You definitely don't need 90% of the crap on there. Look at all the ZIPs and MSIs. Move that **** to the Recycling Bin, if you can find it.

Not quite true, in fact there are some installer (setup) around the desktop that i can delete but for the rest are value information.


And btw my other desktop (laptop duh).

Fence rules!.

Can you show a screenshot of what your desktop looked like after you fenced it?

I suspect with that many icons, it wouldn't fence the icons properly at all.. as it doesn't have the space to organize it properly

I quite like it so far, I don't have many icons on my desktop but it's nice to have them organised so I can find them easier.

Bug
I have 3 fences - in the middle of my desktop. But i have 4 folders in the bottom right of desktop, i cant get 2 of them to stay down there. when i move them they whiz back to the top again!!! Very annoying

Chaks said,
There is a free and a pro version. The pro is not available yet. The Stardock site has more details of it.

Cool!

Absolutely, this really is a prettier version of Program Manager from Windows 3.1. That's not to say it's not useful of course

Rob said,
Absolutely, this really is a prettier version of Program Manager from Windows 3.1. That's not to say it's not useful of course :)

Actually it's nothing like Program Manager. Definitely try it. I wish there was something to compare it to but really, there's nothing like this.

Frogboy said,
Actually it's nothing like Program Manager. Definitely try it. I wish there was something to compare it to but really, there's nothing like this.


Actually, there is. However, the closest Fences has to competition (KDE 4) lacks Fences' auto-organization tools, and commits the *sin* of also requiring you to change the underlying operating system.

That's the thing with Fences; it's NOT an alternative desktop. It's an icon-organization tool for desktops. Fences doesn't require that you change how you work. It's an organizer, and that's all. (Albeit it's one heck of an organizer.)

Interesting..
My desktop on XP doesn't contain any icons. Only the quick launch.
Wonder if it consumes any considerable amount of system resources.

Of course not. And with today's computers, the "amount of system resources" argument is about as relevant as "I wonder what the dinosaurs would think of this?"

We all have tons of drive space and ram now. Honestly.

you may have but that doesn't mean everybody has!
The amount of system resources will always matter. Programmes should be lean and use as little system resources as possible unless of course your only ever going to use that one programme on it's own. honestly.

No, honestly, it's like people who complain about how much space Windows takes installing on a hard drive...on their 250 gb hard drive. 8P

Either way, the POINT is that this application uses almost no ram whatsoever. So even for those of you still running on more modest computers, it's worth looking into.

Exactly, many people have ample memory and disk space to go around. I agree that applications should be as lean as possible, since many people are running netbooks now. But for larger systems it isn't really a necessity to count bytes anymore.

excalpius said,
Of course not. And with today's computers, the "amount of system resources" argument is about as relevant as "I wonder what the dinosaurs would think of this?"

We all have tons of drive space and ram now. Honestly.

Using your argument, I assume we should waste the worlds resources right now because we have plenty?

Your logic is the reason vista was so bloated, and why apps keep getting bigger instead of smaller as new programming techniques are supposed to produce more efficient code. Unless you code Microsoft, which bloats all your code into it's own bytecode essentially making things the speed of Visual Basic.

Amount of system resources is a valid complain in my opinion. You need as much as you can get for games today. If you're not a gamer fine, waste your resources on stupid crap. But in reality, if you're not a gamer you would do fine with a $100 used Pentium 4 running WinXP and Firefox (it will play teh youtubez).

Chipshop said,
you may have but that doesn't mean everybody has!
The amount of system resources will always matter. Programmes should be lean and use as little system resources as possible unless of course your only ever going to use that one programme on it's own. honestly.


Fences uses fewer resources (far fewer) than most widgets/gadgets, let alone Yahoo Messenger (one of the skinnier IM clients) or even ICQ (still the skinniest single-purpose IM client of all). As far as resource use goes, Fences isn't even in the flyweight division.

I can confirm PGHammer's comment. Based on my own tests performed just now on Windows XP, Fences uses so little RAM that it was within the margins of normal fluctuations, i.e. it uses so little I couldn't tell how much it was. NB it's not easy to see since it doesn't have a process to check.

Interestingly, the Fences options window uses up to ~30mb of RAM.

And to add my opinion, system resource use is ALWAYS relevant. Apart from anything, an app will be more responsive if the code is lighter. Vista/XP is a perfect example. I'm using XP on a relatively old computer (about 6 years old) and it's far more responsive and snappy than Vista on my other computer, which has 4GB of RAM and a Quad core processor (Q9300). I do prefer Vista in terms of features, but it IS a massive piece of bloatware, and it IS slower than XP.

Do tell me why you people are all so concerned with how much RAM a program uses. If you have the RAM, then let a program use it?

Free RAM doesn't do anything for you. It doesn't make your computer "faster", it's just RAM that's not being used at the moment.