Nearly everyone plays music on a computer, but the competition for attention and desktop real estate means you are constantly toggling between mini and maxi views of your media player just to see the song or artist name. If you use Windows Media Player and like its capability to fetch and display album cover art, you might like XDeskCover, too. It's a free desktop widget that displays the album cover, artist, song title, and time of the tune currently playing in Windows Media Player. You can also start, stop, and pause tunes from the XDeskCover interface.
XDeskCover's small, semitransparent interface resembles a CD case. By default it displays No Album Artist. Stars to the right display ratings (up to five), when available. We simply started playing a tune in Windows Media Player, and XDeskCover fetched and displayed the cover art and other information from our archive. Advancing through our music library, the program displayed the images and data of every song for which they were available. Right-clicking the program's interface or its system tray icon called up a detailed menu with full player controls, options, and Skins. XDeskCover's Skins menu offers a Skins Browser for selecting skins from our own collection, a Web-based Skins Gallery offering a dizzying selection of free skins, and a Skins Editor for creating and saving our own skins. We could also change the size, opacity, and other aspects of the main view. One of the handiest features is the Search Album Covers tool, which locates, downloads, and displays multiple versions of a song's cover art so we could choose the right one. Another neat feature is a small message that pops up in the notification area when the player switches tunes. It can even display lyrics, if available.
With song collections numbering in the tens of thousands, it's handy to be able to see at a glance what tune you're playing, and the ability to control Windows Media Player is nice, too. XDeskCover may be the most useful music widget we've yet seen.
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