Object Desktop And Conclusion
There is another company totally dedicated to keeping the Windows desktop cleaner and neater than its basic default tiled icon setup, and that's Stardock. The maker of ObjectDesktop has a number of utilities, all very affordable, that let you wrangle some control over Windows, and they go nicely with Rainmeter, too.
Stardock began life as an OS/2 developer, and made the transition to Windows development soon after. It started as a game studio but the primary focus is on its Windows customization apps, lead by ObjectDock. ObjectDock is a Windows task bar replacement that looks similar to the Mac OS dock.
ObjectDock comes in free and paid ($9.99) versions, and a free 30-day trial of the full version is available. It includes more links and shortcuts, tabbed docks, easier app switching and more advanced organization features.
Other Stardock apps include Start 8/Start 10, a $4.99 Start menu add-on for Windows 8, since it didn't have one, and a replacement for Windows 10. It's a Windows 7-like replacement that offers more versatility in app placement and skinning, a more powerful search and support for desktop and Modern apps in one place.
Fences is a nice utility that lets you organize your desktop icons better than Windows' default of top down, from left to right. You place a "fence" anywhere on your desktop and put the icons in there you want, and can label them. So games can go in one fence, productivity apps in another and utilities in a third, and anywhere on the desktop.
To pretty up Windows, there is WindowFX and WindowBlinds. WindowFX adds more than 30 animations to when you open and close windows or the Start menu. This is entirely for show and really doesn't offer new functionality or features, just amusing open and closing animations that can add some life to your OS.
WindowBlinds, however, is a keeper for me. I consider Windows 10 to be hideously ugly in spots. The interface components are too flat and simplistic for my tastes. WindowBlinds, however, gave my apps back the deeper Windows 7 look, and the application borders are nice and thick again, making them easier to see and grab. See the before and after below.
For a minimal investment, you can give your generic Windows desktop quite a makeover. Rainmeter is free and most of the individual Stardock apps are less than 10 bucks. After that, let your imagination go nuts.