OS/2 Desktop Enhancements
Note: I no longer develop this page. It remains as a legacy resource.
The OS/2 desktop is functional, but not pretty. Windows 9x improved the looks of the desktop without having either OS/2's functionality or its stability. In Warp you can have the beauty without sacrificing the stability of your system by using the add-ins on this page.
This native flexibility in OS/2 means that you will seldom see two Warp desktops that look the same. Once you get used to tweaking the looks of your desktop with the various tools mentioned on this page you will wonder how you ever got along without them.
Be sure to back up your system before applying any add-ons since testing may not have included your hardware and software configuration. The program could impact one or more of your existing programs and your desktop in a way that neither yourself or the author envisioned. It is better to be safe than regret your hast later. With that caveat, try some of these excellent programs.
I've listed the offerings in the freeware, shareware and commercial categories since all have their place in creating your enhanced desktop. You will find programs that do similar things in more than one category.
Check the readme accompanying freeware to determine the license agreement and installation of the application. Freeware does not have a fee but the ownership of the program remains with the author. While there is seldom a warranty a politely-worded problem report may result in a fix from the author.
- XWorkplace (formerly XFolder) is a collection of WPS replacement classes that improve the manipulation of folders with tools like extended context menus, sorting, status bars and even enables enhanced shutdowns with a restart capability.
- Change Controls allows you to change the default OS/2 window controls. Read the warning about backups before installing. It is listed as "donationware" but since it doesn't have a listed price it really isn't shareware. If you feel the program is worth using consider contributing money to the author to encourage upgrades and other software. Search the Hobbes OS/2 Archive for hischgct.zip.
- OS/2 IconPak is a nice freeware set of 437 icons for the OS/2 desktop. They are intended for high resolution systems with a minimum of 256 colours and aimed at a 1024x 768 desktop.
- Christian Langanke's Animated Mouse Pointer for OS/2 is a well-integrated free utility that uses SOM to seamlessly integrate the program with OS/2. Search the Hobbes OS/2 Archive for Animated Mouse Pointer for OS/2. Try Dierk's List of Animated Cursors for a huge number of cursors.
- Search the Hobbes OS/2 Archive.
Shareware's try before you buy mandate allows you to test the usefulness and stability of software on your system before actually laying down your cash. Read the license agreement and installation instructions for the application.
- Dialog Enhancer fixes the problems associated with poor display of some OS/2 Warp program dialogues and those of several popular shareware packages. It can replace the standard OS/2 font with the new Warp Sans that comes with Warp 4.
- DragText lets you select and drag text like an object.
- 9 Lives creates "virtual desktops" so that you can avoid "window clutter" on your desktop. 14 day free trial. It was listed in the Hobbes OS/2 Archive as 9live121.zip.
- Search the Hobbes OS/2 Archive.
While commercial packages are often more expensive than shareware and freeware they generally (but not always) have better support if things go wrong. With so many different programs and utilities in use these companies often have access to a larger range of beta testing environments.
I encourage you to support OS/2 commercial vendors. They are struggling to support OS/2 in an environment that is currently heavily weighted towards the Windows market. The good vendors deserve our support and our dollars!
- Stardock ended sale of OS/2 products February 1, 2001 and ended free support on June 30, 2001. Unfortunately, this includes Object Desktop for OS/2 and Plus Pack Themes for OS/2 — both excellent products. (They've been focusing on the Microsoft Windows desktop since.)