Windows: SharpEnviro takes your Windows desktop and remixes it beautifully. It's not as minimal as the Windows 7 default, nor as data-heavy as many alternatives. Everything — the launcher menu, the taskbar, system tray and desktops — gets some work. Take a look.
The first thing I should note, and the developers themselves are upfront about, is that SharpEnviro is very much in beta at the moment and is a work in progress. The current unstable version available for download is 0.7, while 0.8 versions are with private testers. Still, as Lifehacker reader rkrueger11 has found, and I've concurred with after a morning of testing, it's a pretty stable product for something that makes such deep changes to Windows.
You can click on the image up top for a larger view of my own SharpEnviro deskop, with what I believe is the default wallpaper, and click on a few of the images below for a larger view. Where possible, though, I've sized my screenshots to fit this column width.
One big thing to note about SharpEnviro — dubbed "SharpE" in many of the interface menus — is that it doesn't, by default, change your Explorer, the app Windows offers to navigate directories and manage windows. That's fine with me, but you can, it seems, swap in your own favourite file manager — and maybe pick from our five favourites.
In the upper-left corner of your new top toolbar, you'll find, from left to right, a toolbar configuration menu, a "SharpeE" launcher that substitutes for your Start Menu, a more general SharpE configuration tool, a sticky note launcher, and then tools for launching a command window, running a command from the "Run" dialog, and then system monitors for CPU usage and RAM. As you can see, the SharpE menu is extremely minimal and actually condenses the Start menu's functions into a single menu offering. If your program list is so long that it would extend beyond a suitable screen length, SharpE offers a "Next Page" roll-over menu — that's something I wish Windows did itself.
You can also get to the SharpE menu from anywhere on the desktop by right-clicking.
The upper-right corner contains a whole bunch of useful system tools, though you can swap any in or out that you'd like. By default, you get volume and player controls, along with a super-neat button that can open and switch to any of the popular media players. To the right of that is a calculator, command prompt (two of them on one toolbar?), your Task Manager and WordPad.
In the lower-left, you'll see another toolbar configuration widget, followed by two virtual desktop buttons, a notepad and file explorer launcher, and then your taskbar. SharpE breaks away from Windows 7's icon-only window condensing, but keeps the live taskbar previews — though, again, that's a configurable option, if you're not a fan. Windows calling for your attention, or being actively updated, glow green or blue.
SharpEnviro is a free download, in beta, for Windows systems only. Tell us what you think of SharpEnviro in the comments.