WinCustomize is a
websitethat provides content for users to customize Microsoft Windows. The site hosts thousands of skins, themes, icons, wallpapers, and other graphical content to modify the Windows graphical user interface. There are some premium or paid content , however the vast majority of the content is free for users to download.
WinCustomize was launched in March 2001 by
Brad Wardelland Pat Ford, both of whom work at Stardock. After the dot-com recession had taken down many popular skin sites, WinCustomize quickly grew in popularity due to a combination of wide variety of content, uptime reliability, and being the preferred content destination by Stardockcustomers.
The site has grown at a far greater pace than its founders had anticipated. It has managed to avoid having to put many limitations on users or having to resort to pop-up advertising because of its corporate patron Stardock subsidizing its costs.This growth has prompted several site redesigns to offer improved functionality and reliability to users.
Since launch, WinCustomize has undergone several iterations:
WinCustomize 2k5 - Launched at the end of 2004, WinCustomize was redesigned for improved stability, and added functionality (personal pages for subscribers, an articles system, tutorials etc).
WinCustomize 2k7 - Launched January 15th, 2007, WC2k7 was a from-the-ground-up rewrite using
ASP.NET. The focus was to build a foundation that was easier to maintain and, in the future, expand.
WinCustomize v6 - Planned for Late 2008/Early 2009, the WC v6 project aims be a major revision to how users navigate and interact with the site and the community as a whole. Where 2k7 was focused on the core codebase, v6 is focused on the user interface and experience.
In July 2007 the WinCustomize Wiki was launched. [cite web|url=http://forums.wincustomize.com/?aid=157328|title=Welcome to the WinCustomize Wiki!|author=Mike Crassweller|date=2007-07-10|accessdate=2007-07-16]
While nearly all users visit WinCustomize.com to download skins, themes,
icons, wallpapers, and other content for their personal computers, WinCustomize does have extensive forums and articles areas. As with most large sites, WinCustomize is not without its critics with regards to how the forums are run and the content in the articles and forums area.
The site's news contains a great deal of editorial content. As a result, some users are occasionally concerned with stories that they feel are biased against policies or issues they disagree with. For example, site owner
Brad Wardellhas written articles that are critical of Apple, European policy, commercialism, anti-commercialism, and more. One recent article criticized Norway's banning of the iPod music store and can be found here. (http://wincustomize.com/articles.aspx?aid=142193).
Another criticism of WinCustomize is the site's close association with
Stardockwhich owns the site. Some feel there is a conflict of interest in the world's largest skinning site (over 20 million visitors monthly) being operated by a software developer that sells skinning solutions.
Popular skinning programs
Programs heavily associated with Windows customization include:
WindowBlinds" - enables users to customize the look and feel of the Windows GUI
Winamp" - A skinnable media player from Nullsoft
IconPackager" - A program that enables users to change their Windows icons
Rainlendar" — A skinnable calendar and small desktop application (widgets & monitoring) program
DesktopX" — A program that enables users to build their own desktop with objects and widgets
Windows Media Player" — Microsoft's skinnable media player.
LiteStep" - A noted desktop shell replacement for Windows.
ObjectDock" — provides a dock that adds functionality to the Windows interface, similar but not an emulation of the dock in Mac OS X
CursorFX" — replaces existing cursor functionality with animated, resizable cursors and optional click effects
LogonStudio" — alters the Windows XPand Windows Vista welcome screen
BootSkin" — alters the Windows 2000and Windows XP boot screen
Xion Audio Player" — A skinnable (uses PSDs) audio player from [http://www.r2.com.au r2 Studios]
* [http://www.wincustomize.com WinCustomize home page]
* [http://www.wincustomize.com/forums.aspx WinCustomize forums]
* [http://wiki.wincustomize.com/ WinCustomize Wiki]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
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