My LiteStep

Date: 2008-11-02 11:52:02 Created: null

This is imported from my old site, so now is actually quite some time ago ...

This is my personal LiteStep setup, completely customized by me to suit me and confuse temporary users of my computer :-) ... To make things a bit clearer and easier to follow, here's a screenshot of what my desktop looks like right now (100 kb gif, 1280*960 pixels, opens in new window).

The Wharf

So, the wharf is the collection of buttons to the top right. Starting from the top, first comes the LiteStep system menu button. This one pops up a menu offering mostly shortcuts to edit various system files (step.rc most importantly). Next comes the essential buttons for 2xExplorer, the wonderfully improved Explorer replacement, and Opera. Since I can't be bothered to convert to something better, a button for Outlook Express follows. The next button toggles the console at the top left on and off, I don't use this one much but sometimes it's handy. Next comes the bottom part of the wharf, which doubles as recycle button. The recycle command in LiteStep make any changes to step.rc take effect and redraws the interface in case of corruption, so it's always good to have spare buttons for that lying around. The same can be done with any Windows folder by the way.

Then comes the Virtual Windows Manager. It's really part of the wharf too even if it doesn't look like it. As you can see I've got four virtual desktops at my disposal, ordered in two lines of two. The white squares represent open windows.

Taskbar Replacement

Below the wharf are icons for each running application, working just like those that appear on the windows taskbar. This one shows popup windows and stuff too though, something I really like (so annoying to lose one under lots of other windows and have to minimize them all to find it).

This task is handled by a module called Tasks and, like most modules in LiteStep, has tremendous amounts of customizability built in. You can have it anywhere, any size, make the icons any size and appear in any direction and even make the icons movable if you like.

Systray

And on the bottom right we find the dutiful systray replacement, Systray2. Highly configurable, closely mimicing the function of the Windows systray, not much more to say ...

The Console

This is a real goodie! As you can see, when it's got nothing else to do it shows the date and time in just about any way you want it to, but there's so much more to it. It works like the Run prompt in Windows, but also accepts LiteStep !bang commands, performs internet searches, takes user-defined shortcuts (I type Opera to start Opera), works as a calculator and it scrolls Winamp song titles too! The module behind all this is called LSXCommand, and you soon forget how you could live without it :-) ... Using Alt-F to focus the console and then just type opera and hit enter is so much cooler than pointing and clicking, and with the auto completion of input it's much faster as well.

There's actually a theme built completely around LSXCommand. It's called DOS2000, and all you see when you start it is a black screen with a prompt at the top left :-) ...

The Popup Menu

This is LiteStep's start menu, and it too has some more features than the standare Windows boredom. Sure, you can have it attached to a start button if you really have to, but right-clicking anywhere on the desktop to bring it up is just so much more convenient. Oh, and it auto-sorts newly added items much better than Explorer does. Apart from changing the skin, the popup menu is probably the thing I've changed the least since I got LiteStep, the version I installed came with all the options I needed configured. And the programs item points straight to the start menu programs folder, so anything added there appears automagically here too.

What more?

Well, using LiteStep frees you from all those accidental Windows key presses and leaves the Windows button for better uses (like shortcuts to focus LSXCommand for example). I used this a lot until I got my new old keyboard without windows keys, so now I've switched to using Alt instead.

At the time of writing, I'm inside LiteStep for the first time in a long while, and I realize I like it as much as ever. Time to look around and see if there's been any new and exciting updates, there should have been a few ...