Reader AlbinoAsian's Myriad desktop blends custom skins, carefully styled system stats, and some well-chosen wallpaper to create one of the most drastically transformed and impressive desktops we've seen in a while.
Not only is the desktop incredible, but AlbinoAsian went above and beyond, providing a detailed history and guide to the setup:
I ventured into the realm of desktop customisation while I was on 98se and stumbled across the invaluable resource of WinT's forums. He was king of the smooth minimal look, and would hack everything that he could. Ever since them I've always tried to make my desktop look as least "default" as possible. I like change, and I can't resist a nice minimal, yet useable look. With Vista came a whole set of new challenges though as I myself haven't yet tried to make my own Visual Style. Thankfully there is some great work being done some very clever people. The artists that come to mind are invaderjohn, sweatyfish, nindijin, dimage, and MANNiEmedic.
This theme came about when I was looking back at a previous screenshot of mine when I was on XP, I was using Mirev2 - a fantastic dark minimal opensource XP Visual Style. Not long after that I discovered the BASIC (non-aero) version of MANNiEmedic's Antar VS. It was fairly close to what I was looking for. It was the first Vista VS that effectively pulled off a dark explorer window background. Invaderjohn had featured several screenshots of WIP's but he was encountering a few colour issues so they never got out of beta. This however did the job, just needed a good dose of the 3dcc to fix up some of the colors.
All the skins details are below, but I would like to especially give credit to MANNiEmedic for his great work on the VS, and to pepijnnuland & asuraci for their work on the mirev2 suite. Lastly to WinT, possibly the father of windows desktop customization.
Rocketdock + stacks docklet // Myriad by me
Rainmeter // Myriad by me
Skincalc // Myriad by me
Codepad // Myriad by me
Shutoff Myriad by me
Media Player Classic // Logo by me
Same Game // Myriad by me
3d Colour Changer // Myriad by me
Resource hacker // changed program icons to blank icon, changed power and network status icons in the systray
Other little apps running hidden to improve functionality & productivity
Hoekey // mapped winkey + (letter) to launch all my favourite little apps (skincalc, colorpad, codepad, notepad2, shutoff, console2)
Desktop Media // creates a shortcut on the desktop whenever a USB drive / cd is inserted.
Ditto // the best clipboard catcher I've used
Magic Mail Monitor // checks my Pop3 account
QTTabbar // adds tabs and a whole lot more to Explorer
Be sure to check the Flickr page for the notes on the image, which will give you a better idea of what you're seeing.