Open up Windows

Turn this free tool loose on Windows for some really special effects.

Recent editions of Windows offer a lot more in the way of desktop customization and interface enhancement options than was once the case, but for some PC users, especially those used to relying on third-party apps to deliver what Microsoft doesn't, even Windows 7's much-touted improvements are behind the curve. For them, desktop slideshows are so Win95; they need more features and control in their computing experience.

Nimi Visuals offers both. It's a free, compact, standalone Windows effects and customization engine that bundles together more than 59 different customization effects like transparent windows, snow, jelly windows, window border skinning, and wallpapers, to name a few. It supports other third-party Windows customization software, NV plug-ins, and Windows themes, and it enables enhanced desktop organization and grouping options, including its proprietary Nimi Nici browsing component, which displays folders directly on the desktop in configurable transparent boxes. There's also a drag-and-drop, cut-and-paste quick notes feature that lets you save just about anything, including text, HTML, and images. It's controlled from the Nimi Visuals Center, a sleek interface that displays icons depicting each effect in action. It's designed to be extremely simple to operate, and assistance and updates aplenty are a click away and are automatic with free registration.

Nimi Visuals is a small download at 749K; it's accessible as soon as it's extracted from its ZIP file and doesn't use or modify the Windows Registry, which also makes it totally portable; you can install it on a USB drive and use it on multiple machines.

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