Extremely Beautiful “150 Free Christmas Icon Sets for Graphic and Web designers”

If you are into graphic design, these Christmas themed icon sets may be for your liking…

These Christmas Icon design sets are Extremely beautiful and very detailed. This collection contains Santa Claus, Christmas Bells, Christmas Gifts, Snowman Toy and Christmas Tree Icons. Availiable in PNG AI EPS SVG and ICO formats. I hope you will like these christmas icon design sets.

Christmas Icon Design

Source: 150 Free Christmas Icon Sets for Graphic and Web designers

How To Auto Hide Icons On Your Desktop

I am real particular when it comes to the organization of icons (if any) on the desktop of my computers. What I have found over the years from assisting others (especially at home) is that people do not remove the icons on their desktop; thus, disorganization and clutter results. I truly believe, for most folks, it is out of fear of not knowing what is OK to delete and what is not OK to delete. Typically, most icons are shortcuts and are safe to delete; however, there are those occasions where you may have saved an important file to the desktop (which I would not do); where if you delete it, it will go to the recycle bin (for future permanent removal). Usually in that case, you need to move the file to another folder on your computer (such as your document folder).  If you want to learn what is safe to delete and what is not I encourage you to read this article from Microsoft — CLICK HERE — titled “Add or Remove Icons From Your Desktop…

If you are someone that adamant about not removing the icons from your desktop or you use the desktop as a launching point for the programs that you use on a regular basis, I encourage you to look at the small utility called AutoHideDesktopIcons.

AutoHideDesktopIcons

This utility, after a period of time it will auto-hide the icons on your desktop so that you have full view of your wallpaper. If you want the icons to show, all you have to do is left mouse click on the desktop and icons will reappear. I typically use AutoHideDesktopIcons on my notebook computer to make launching of my programs easier when using the touchpad. Another feature in the program is that you can set the program to auto-hide the taskbar with the exception of the start button…

AutoHideDesktopIcons is a Windows based program that works on all Windows OS platforms from Windows 98 to Windows 10.

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Free Icon Resources For Graphic Editing Purposes, Blogging, Program Launchers, etc…

I really get into program launchers and avoid the Windows Start menu altogether. Right now, my program launcher of choice is XLaunchPad. What I like about XLaunchPad is that it gives me the ability to customize and change the program icons that are used to launch my programs. As a result, this leads me to looking for good quality icon resources…

As the title of this post suggests, icons can be used for a variety of purposes including graphic editing, desktop publishing, PowerPoint presentations, blog articles, etc… Choosing the right icon can make all the difference in the world in the final product.

There are currently four sources that I use to find that special icon and I thought I would share those sources with you…

SoftIcons

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IconArchive

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Free Icons Web

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Icon Finder

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[GEEK SQUEAKS’] – Super HP Monitor, Restore Icons, FREE PC Protection, Awesome Wallpapers, and Questionable Password Strength

HP 2311x 23-Inch LED Monitor
My Main Monitor – Full HD 1920 X 1080 resolution

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DesktopOK 2.69
Save and restore the positions of icons.

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Free PC Protection

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If You Love Icons…

If you love icons, then you need to add We Love Icons to your collection. An icon is typically used to serve as a quick, intuitive visual representation to identify a software program or web site. We usually click on icons on our desktop or menus to launch programs or to get to a web site. Icons can also be used for presentations, blogging, desktop publishing, etc…

Approximately a year ago I featured an article, An Icon Search Engine That Helps You Find FREE Icons. Recently, I did some follow-up to determine if there was anything new out there and this is how I came across We Love Icons.

We Love Icons

The sole purpose of We Love Icons is to provide you with ONE place to go to find links to the BEST freeware desktop icons on earth. Not only does the site feature icons, it also features a How To section which is a collection of articles and apps to help you work with and learn about icons.

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FREE Software to Organize and Cheer Up Your Desktop

The computer desktop, the main graphical user interface that we see when we start our PC’s… The desktop is harbor for icons, windows, toolbars, folders, files, wallpapers and the occasional widget. I have found that many people keep numerous icons on their desktops as a convenient launching point for their favorite programs. Personally I like to keep my desktop completely clean (no icons).

If you are a desktop junkie, currently with 15 or more icons on your desktop, and you want to add some pizazz to your desktop, then take a look at MyCoolDeskTop. As I mentioned, I maintain a clean desktop interface; however, I ran across MyCoolDeskTop, installed it, loaded my desktop up with icons, tested it and found it does work; therefore, I thought let me put it out there for somebody’s use.  My conclusion on this was, use a small icon setting and you should have more than 15 icons on your desktop in order to get the full effect of the shapes.

MyCoolDesktop

What is cool about this FREE application is that it will automatically take your icons and arrange them in many different shapes and styles.  As a matter of fact you can select from 27 different shapes in 5 categories with the ability to save and restore your selected layouts at the click of the mouse.

MyCoolDesktop

My Cool Desktop key features :

  • 27 different shapes grouped in 5 categories
  • save and restore multiple desktop layouts, save and load with 1-click

Full control of your desktop layout :

  • set height and width of selected shape
  • set space between desktop icons
  • move your icons layout anywhere on the screen – includes auto-centering
  • increase/decrease the size of your shape
  • minimization to system tray
  • opening on system Start Up (starts with Windows)

Important: You have to Disable Align to Grid and Auto arrange for Desktop icons in order to let My Cool Desktop control your desktop items position :

For Windows XP users: Right click on Desktop, select Arrange by and uncheck Align to Grid and Auto arrange, if they are checked

For Windows Vista/7 users: Right click on Desktop, select View and uncheck Align to Grid and Auto arrange, if they are checked

System requirements

IMPORTANT: At least 15 icons on desktop required, more than 25 recommended

Windows 2000/ME/XP/Vista or 7 operating systems

400 Mhz processor

64 MB of RAM

5 MB of Disk Space

1024 X 768 or higher resolution

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An Icon Search Engine That Helps You Find FREE Icons

No it is not National Icon Week… I know this is my second article about icons within 2 days but a really nice icon search engine was brought to my attention as a result of yesterday’s article (titled: How To Find Icons Hidden Inside of Files) that I want to share with you. Following yesterday’s article the author of the blog, Word Dreams pointed me to another source for icons called FindIcons.com. I initially thought I had done a review on this site; however, I discovered FindIcons.com was a new one to me.

Find Icons

FindIcons.com has a largest free icon collections, a better search filtering & matching system and more output options. Also, we track every search query and manually adjust the results according to the average ratings set by the search results from other users. And we understand that by searching you can’t categorize every icon you found. So we created a handy User Set tool to allow you group frequently used icons in your personal Favorites box which can be accessed 24/7 from anywhere. Now you will have an alternative option to having to put favorite icons into folders on your hard drive.

Another nice feature that I have not seen at the other icon sites is the ability to browse icon packs (batches of icons designed with a specific interest in mind).

Icon Packs

Some other features are a converter, ability to upload icons, search by tag and an “Excite” me link that will surprise you with a random listing of icons. Findicons.com claims to maintain a database of close to 300,000 icons. A BIG THANK YOU to Word Dreams for this one!

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How To Find Icons Hidden Inside of Files

image Icons are like eye candy… Without icons we would have a difficult time navigating our computers. Icons provide us with the ability to relate a function with a small graphic. Once that “function to graphic” relationship is established and stored (in our brains) we can quickly carry out the function by mouse clicking on the icon without having to read any text. Whomever came up with the icon concept on computers should be applauded.

When we start up our computers, icons are visible everywhere; on the Start Menu, on the Desktop, in the System Tray, etc… Did you know there are icons on your computer that are not visible and are actually packed inside file types such as EXE, DLL, OCX, CPL (to name a few). For whatever reason, this always fascinated me and I actually know of ways to pull those icons out of these files to use for other purposes. I am not going to go into those “ways” due the explanation would be quite lengthy and boring; HOWEVER, I will tell you of a very small program that you can run that will do all of the work for you. The program is called IconsExtract.

IconsExtract

The IconsExtract utility scans the files and folders on your computer, and extract the icons and cursors stored in EXE, DLL, OCX, CPL, and in other file types. You can save the extracted icons to ICO files (or CUR files for cursors), or copy the image of a single icon into the clipboard.

To use this puppy, and I mean puppy (only 52K) in size, just download and run. No install is required and it is completely portable. IconsExtract will do all of the work for you. Just point the app to a folder and this puppy will hunt. Once it locates icons, they will be displayed in a nice order where the icons can be saved to your computer (or copied to the Windows clipboard).

IconsExtract

When performing the hunt for icons, there are other options available in IconsExtract such as: Include only icons with specific image size and Include only icons with specific color depth.

Nice little app. Useful. Fun to play with. Oh, I failed to mention, IconsExtract will find and extract cursors as well.

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Backup and Restore Desktop Icon Positions

Have you ever went to the tedious task of arranging the icons on your Windows desktop to only find they lost their placement following a computer crash or as a result of a screen resolution change?

A solution to this anomaly is a little program called IconRestorer. What this little gem does is place the icons back to their original location on the Windows desktop when needed. It is basically a backup and restore program for the placement of desktop icons; and a whole lot more.

IconRestorer

IconRestorer also has the capability to: Save and restore the desktop wallpaper with the icon positions AND automatically restore icons position when the screen resolution changes.

IconRestorer

Features:

  • Windows Vista™ and Windows 7™ compatible.
  • Works on 64-bit systems (XP, 2003, Vista, 2008 and Windows 7)
  • Manage icons position separately for all screen resolutions
  • Automatically restore icons position when resolution changes
  • *NEW* Automatically save icons position when Windows shutdown or program exit
  • Multiple backups for each resolution

Note: There is a Standard version of IconRestorer and a Supporter’s version. The Supporter’s version, where a donation is accepted, provides additional options such as unlimited backups and autosave.

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Great Source of High Quality Icons and Icon Tools

I recently posted the article, “Over 31,100 Icons for Windows, Mac and Linux” ; which was very well received.  Today I came across another awesome site called SOFTICONS which offers a boat load of icons in a variety of categories from Animals to TV & Movie icons; PLUS, the site offers two awesome icon tools to create your own icons.

Softicons

The icons at SOFTICONS are of very high quality.  Here is an example of a motherboard icon (created by VisualPharm) at SOFTICONS

Motherboard Sample

The really “cool factor” with SOFTICONS is that a section of the site is devoted to icon tools.

Favicon Generator

Favicon Generator, is an online (cloud app) that gives you the ability to create a favicon for your website from a regular image (.png, .jpg, .gif, .bmp).

Image to Icon Converter

Image to Icon Converter is also an online (cloud app) that gives you the ability to create an icon from image (.png, .jpg, .gif, .bmp).

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Over 31,100 Icons for Windows, Mac and Linux

Whenever I want to customize the appearance of my PC, fancy up a document, make a powerpoint slide shine, or enhance a blog article I often use icons. Yes, the same type of icons (but only better) that you see on your computer’s desktop. Icons are excellent graphic enhancements and the professionally crafted icons often are three dimensional in appearance.

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An excellent resource for icons is the web site Icon Archive. Currently the site boasts an archive of over 31,100 icons in 1097 sets from 260 different authors. The majority of the icons I explored can be used for non-commercial purposes, such as what I mentioned previously. You will find that these icons are of professional quality and there is something there for just about any subject you can think of.

How good are these icons?  Here is an example:

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A Collection of Online Image Converters

Recently I found a need to convert an icon from one image format (.png) to another (.ico); that put me on the hunt for online image converters.  To the everyday computer user, converting from one  image file format to another, is something that you will not be doing very often; but, it is nice to have an option in the event you do need to perform this task. This is where an online converter (cloud app) can be of help and will save you from installing converter software on your PC.

In my case, I was initially searching for an icon converter to convert icons from the image file format of .png to the image file format of .ico.  I performed a quick search for an icon converter using Google and immediately was directed to Convertico.com

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ConvertICO is a Free Online Converter – fast (you don’t need to register or to install software) and easy to use (you need only 3 clicks to convert the PNG or ICO file) – able to convert PNG to ICO (Windows Vista compatible icons) and ICO to PNG format files.

As I indicated before, this piqued my interest and I went on the hunt for online image converters and found an array of (6)-six online options (see below).

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At CoolUtils – Free Online Image Converter you can convert most commonly used graphic image formats – BMP, JPG, PNG, GIF or ICO.  Your image image must not exceed 700Kb in size.

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At Online-Image Converter.com you are permitted to convert files up to 50 MBs in size and can do an unlimited number of files at a time.  The converter also allows you to resize, crop and adjust the contrast and brightness, which appeared difficult to understand (to me).  Once the conversion has completed, a download link to the converted images is sent to your email.

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The image converter at Online-Utility.org supports over 100 major image formats.  Ironically, the only format it does not support is the .ico format (for icons)that I was initially looking for.

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PictureResize not only features an option to resize your pictures, it also supports the conversion of over 100 different image formats.  Appears to be a good choice and easy to understand; however, it did not support the .ico format I was looking for.

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Convert Hub supports the most common (everyday) image formats.  What I liked about Convert Hub is that it did support the .ico format I was looking for and it allowed me to select the size of the .ico (icon file dimensions).

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Online-Convert.com not only supports the most common image conversions, it also has converters available for video, audio and documents.

If you know of any other online image converters, please feel free to share it with us.

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Over 33,500 High Quality Clipart Images for FREE

If you are looking for that special visual touch for that blog article, school paper, or any document for that matter; then visit WPClipart.  This site is loaded with over 33,500 high quality “public domain” images.

I encourage you to visit the “Legal F.A.Q.” page to learn how you can take these images and freely modify them to make derivative works that legally can be used for a logo, banner, etc…

The creator of WPClipart, Paul Sherman, started this online  project as a “safe” collection of clipart for his kids. Mr. Sherman we give you a thumbs-up for maintaining and compiling such a great list of clipart that will be a benefit to many! WPClipart has made it to the What’s On My PC…  “Freebies Page”.

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You can browse the collection [ here ] .

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Web Site Description:

WPClipart is a collection of high-quality public domain images specifically tailored for use in word processors and optimized for printing on home/small office inkjet printers. There are thousands of color graphic clips as well as illustrations, photographs and black and white line art. Nearly all are available in lossless, PNG format. The wpclipart server is also able to convert any image (up to 600 pixels in width or height) to a JPG, if that image format is desired.  As of Wednesday, 10/07/2009 there are 33,544 images.

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Finding Icons for that Special Project

If you are a blogger, web designer, graphic designer or someone just looking for an icon graphic for that special project I suggest you use “Iconfinder” .

www.iconfinder.net

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Iconfinder provides high quality icons in an easy, efficient and searchable way.  The database of icons, that continues to grow, currently consists of over 106,000 different icons in over 160 icon sets. You can either do a search for an icon or you can browse the icon sets.  I am sure you will find a good, high quality icon, for that special project. The majority of icons provided by Iconfinder are FREE for personal use and some of the icons are even available for commercial use.

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Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#7)

As always, this weeks’ roundup of articles by those on my blogroll (aka: Launch Pad) are absolutely remarkable.  Please note that I created a category on the blog, titled “Geek Squeaks”. You can easily preview past articles written by these authors by clicking on that category. The category listings are located on the sidebar of the blog.

If you are interested in a link exchange and to have an article from your blog featured on “Geek Squeaks of the Week, please leave a comment below and I will contact you… Thank you for another great round of articles…

Geek SqueaksGet $29.95 worth Paragon Drive Copy 9 Special Edition for FREE – AKSHAT

Oracle and Sun end of VirtualBox, OpenOffice and MySQL? – TTC Shelbyville

Social Bookmarking Buttons: 25+ Sets Of Free Stunning Web 2.0 Icons [Over 500+ Icons] – AllThatsNew

How to Remove Virus Melts – 411-Spyware.com

How To Watch TV On Your Computer – Tech-for Everyone

Learn a Foreign Language 10 Words at a Time – AskBillFirst

The Bare Minimum Processes Needed to Run Windows XP – Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts

Medical identity theft is usually not given much thought – The Spyware Biz Blog

Documents search engines – Carol’s Vault

Jellybean: Free Wallpaper Shuffler – Snakebytez

Spyware Terminator v2.5 – Crazy World of G

Samurize – flexible system monitor with DIY interface – Rarst.net

9 Earth Day Free Stuff On Internet – Piyadas World

The Pirate Bay owners found guilty – Evilfantasy’s

LinkScanner Flags Dangerous Search Results – Lifehacker

Rename EXE files to Unblock Security Programs – Free PC Security

What’s On My PC… Free Layers of Protection – What’s On My PC…

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Should I shut “OFF” my PC or leave it “ON”?

There has been a lot of debate over the years whether you should power down your computer daily or just leave it “on” all of the time. I’ve always been a firm believer of powering the computer”off” when finished using it at the end of the day. When I was managing a computer network, the standard I had in place required all users to power down their PC’s prior to going home. If I found a PC “on”, then I remotely powered it “off”. I still use this same practice at home. During the day, I turn the computer “on”, and all peripheral components (i.e. drives, router, etc…), via a power strip (surge protector); then, I power the computer “off” at the end of the day (prior to going to bed) or if I leave the house for an extended period of time. My theories and reasonings for this practice are as follows:

 

  1. A computer that is left “on” all the time, is a potential security risk and is an open invitation internally (by other people) and externally (by hackers and such). (Especially when your network is connected to the outside world AND due to the fact the majority of people, and businesses, do not keep their security software up to date.)
  2. Extends the life of the computer. (A common debate is that turning the PC “on” and “off” promotes a negative impact on the “service life” of the computer. I personally can attest that most computers, with today’s advanced technology, will reach the end of their “useful life” prior to their actual “service life”, even if you turn them “on” and “off” multiple times.);
  3. Could be a potential fire hazard. (I’ve seen computers and monitors go up in smoke.);
  4. Can save electricity. (See U.S. Department of Energy – “When To Turn Off Personal Computers“);
  5. Refreshes the memory and the memory resident programs and services in the computer when you completely do a “cold restart” of the computer. (Many people let their PC’s go into a “sleep/standy mode” or “hibernate” mode. I still prefer what is called a “cold” restart.);
  6. Will keep the internal components of the computer cleaner. (When a computer is “on”, the fans are pushing and pulling air to keep components cool; however, this air flow is a dust magnet.); AND FINALLY,
  7. Your icons on the computer screen, over the life of the computer, will start to war with each other. (Watch what actually can happen – click on the graphic, “Icon’s Story” for a demo. The demo is in Adobe Flash.)

 

DEMO – Watch What Happens to Your Icons At Night If You Leave Your Computer “ON”
(click on the logo, then wait for it to load)

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IcoFx – Free Icon Editor

The small pictograms (icons) that we see everyday on our computer are the visual launching points to our files, folders, programs, devices, etc…  Many of the windows icons are a standard with whatever operating system that you use and appear virtually the same no matter what PC you go to.  What you may not realize is that you can change these icons and that there are other icons often embedded in Windows’s executable files (.exe) and dynamic library files (.dll), that can be extracted and utilized.  If you are into visually making your Windows appealing to the eye and are interested in editing icons, a free program called IcoFX is one of best icon editors out there.  The program allows you to extract existing icons on your system, edit existing icons and actually design your own icons.

Main Features (as indicated on the web site):

  • Support for Vista icon with PNG compression
  • Create icons for Windows 98 / ME / 2000 / XP / Vista
  • Support for Macintosh OS X icons
  • Convert Macintosh icons to Windows icons
  • Create icon libraries
  • Create favicon for websites or blogs
  • Easily convert images to icons
  • Add, change or delete icons inside exe files
  • Support for transparency (alpha channel)
  • Batch processing for import, export and extract
  • Multiple language support
  • More than 40 effects + custom filter
  • Resolutions up to 256×256
  • Data types: 2, 16, 256, True Color, True Color + Alpha
  • Extract icons from 32 bit exe and dll
  • Import and export images
  • Transparent, Brighten/Darken, Blur/Sharpen tools

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