Clean up your desktop with Fences

(MoneyWatch) If you have trouble finding files because you use your Windows desktop as a sort of free-form filing cabinet, then there's hope on the horizon. In the past, I've recommended what might well be my favorite Windows utility of all time: Fences. Fences lets you quickly and easily rope off sections of the desktop to organize files in groups that look sort of like open folder windows. You can hide all of these "fences" with a double click, and double click to bring them back again. Fences might not sound like much, but trust me: It's utterly transformational. Almost without exception, when people see my desktop they ask me about Fences, and often they try it and fall in love as well.

Well, Stardock has released a new version of Fences, and it's amazing how much they've overhauled the app without "breaking" what I love about it: Its simplicity.

Perhaps more than anything, Fences 2.0 feels like it's built into Windows itself rather than an add-on from some other company. Settings and preferences for Fences are now baked into the Windows Control Panel, for example. And like an ordinary folder, you can now sort and arrange the contents of a Fences group using all the usual criteria, and even show files in list format as opposed to icons.

That's not all. Fences now supports "pages" of Fences; you can swipe your desktop to change the Fences that appear. Not unlike the way you can browse through pages of apps on your phone or tablet. Have a folder full of files that you need persistent access to on the desktop? Rather than copying the folder to the desktop, you can turn that folder into a Fences group.

Fences 2.0 is an awesome upgrade to what was already one of the few absolutely indispensable Windows utilities. I guarantee that you'll be more organized and walk with a spring in your step after trying Fences. The only downside: Unlike the original Fences, there's no free version of Fences 2.0. After the 30-day trial, you'll need to pay a very reasonable $10 to keep the program. Give it a try, though, and I think you'll see that it's well worth the equivalent of a couple of cups of coffee.

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