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Adding informative icons to your desktop
Published on February 8, 2007 By Bebi Bulma In Customization Software
AveDesk is a nifty little program that can be used to replace or add icons to your desktop that function as shortcuts to drives, folders, or files on your hard drive. You can set the size of the icons to almost anything you like, default is 128x128.

Below is example of what AveDesk can do (the large icons on the desktop).

There is a tutorial available here at Aqua-Soft on how to get the program setup, though it was made for 1.1 (1.3 is the current version). So I will be creating a little tutorial of my own here.

First you'll need to download and install the program from the link I provided above. After you've installed it, run the program. An icon should appear in your tray (highlighted in red), double click the icon to bring up the control panel.

After you've brought up the control panel, let's setup the default settings. Click on Settings > Default Desklet Properties. There will be 3 tabs of settings: Appearance, Label, and Advanced. You can look around in the settings to change them how you want. I've left mine as default for the Appearance tab. In the label tab you can set the font for the label, sublabel, the background for the label, and a few other settings. For mine I'm using the font Segoe UI, size 14 for the label and size 11 for the sublabel. For the background I used SL6 (may not be the same as in screenshot). For the Advanced tab I've left things as default.

Next we can setup the global settings. Click on Settings > Global Settings. I've left all of these as default as well. You can poke around to set them up to your own preference.

Moving on...time to add some desklet icons. Click on Desklets > Add. The desklet you want to use for the shortcut icons is the PidlShortcut. There are 2 shortcuts available already in the settings, My Computer and Recycle Bin. Let's start with those.

Click on My Computer and then Add Item. The icon should now appear on your desktop, then click on the Close button at the bottom of the add desklet control panel. Right click on the icon and select Desklet Properties. This is where you can name the label (which is already designated as My Computer) as well as set other options. The first tab is the Appearance tab. Here you can rename the caption and set the size of the icon. However, if you wish to change the icon from the default system icons, you should first change it in the Icon tab. Check Use Custom Images, then click on Set Image. Now just browse your hard drive for the icon you wish to use. You can use either an .ico or .png file for the icon image. I recommend Aqua-Soft or deviantART for some good icons.

The Label and Advanced tabs should be using the same settings we set earlier from the Global Desklet Properties. You can change any of the settings here if you wish to do so.

The Label Format tab is responsible for the information that is displayed in the sublabel. For mine I have just entered in the CPU and RAM stats.

When it comes to other shortcuts, like the Recycle Bin, hard drives, folders, etc you can display more information in the sublabel. Go ahead and go back to Desklets > Add > expand the PidlShortcut menu > click on Recycle Bin > then Add Item. It should now appear on your desktop. Right click on the icon as before and select Desklet Properties. You can follow the same steps as before to change the caption if you want, the label properties, etc. For the Recycle Bin shorcut, you will need to set the full and empty images separately in the Icon tab. You can use the system icons if you want, or check Use custom images and then click on the Set Image buttons. Most full icon sets will include full and empty recycle bin icons.

For my label format I am using the following which will display as X file(s) - X bytes (you can see how it looks in my screenshot above):

%n file(s) - %s

To add other desklets that you plan to use for a drive, folder, or file, just go back into the add desklets control panel and click on PidlShortcut, then Add Item as before. Another My Computer icon should appear on your desktop. Right click again to get to the Desklet Properties. Let's try a drive desklet. In the Appearance tab, set the caption to what you want (I just used C: Drive). Go ahead and find the image that you want to use for the Set Image. Once again the Label and Advanced tabs should already be setup for you. The Label Format that I used for my C: Drive desklet is as follows:

%f free - %t total %# %s used (%pU %%)

Once again you can see how it will turn out in my screenshot.

In the Icon tab, go ahead and set the image as the same one you used in the Appearance tab.

The Shortcut tab is important when creating your own desklet (as compared to the given My Computer and Recycle Bin desklets). For my C: Drive desklet I use C:\ for the shortcut.

Examples of other shortcut paths would be:

C:\Mp3's - The shortcut to my Mp3's folder. The label format I use for a folder like this: %s %r - %f%r files
C:\Documents and Settings\Stephanie\My Documents - My Documents folder (of course change the username to your own for the correct path). Label format: %f%r files - %d folders %# %s

Hopefully now you should be pretty familiar with setting up the PidlShortcut desklets. After you've gotten them setup and positioned the way you want, save the theme by going to File > Save Theme As > call it whatever you want. It will default save to the Docs and Settings\username\Application Data\AveDesk\Themes folder. When you restart your computer, AveDesk should load at startup and your theme will be loaded as well.

Don't be afraid to try playing with the other desklets AveDesk has to offer. For example, I'm also using the StickyNotes desklet for my ToDo lists. Just try adding it the same as the Pidl shortcut and play with it.

For other information and help about AveDesk, visit the AveDesk forum at Aqua-Soft.

on Feb 08, 2007
Looks good!
on Feb 09, 2007
Screenshots are broken here.
on Feb 09, 2007
Seem to be working fine here and for other people I've asked. *kicks crappy hosting*

Edit: I've uploaded the images to imageshack, hopefully they'll work now.
on Feb 09, 2007
Nice. I've always had a problem with the pidlshortcut refreshing the stats. When I add or delete something to a folder or recycle bin, sometimes it updates and sometimes it doesn't.

Other than that, AveDesk uses very low resources, and is easy to set up.
on Feb 09, 2007
I've always had a problem with the pidlshortcut refreshing the stats. When I add or delete something to a folder or recycle bin, sometimes it updates and sometimes it doesn't.

I've had that happen too, usually reloading the theme or switching and switching back jolts it to update.
on Feb 11, 2007
Nicely written, thanks.

I've found that AveDesk 2.0 smoothed things out considerably and some little issues have disappeared. FYI in AveDesk 2.0 pidlshortcut's are now AveIcons.