Fences: Clutter-free desktop in no time

Our desire to keep everything close at hand, often results in messy desktops, loaded with shortcuts, documents and other files. This makes it harder to find what we need but it’s also visually unpleasing. Fences is a unique desktop customization tool that provides a simple solution of keeping your desktop clean and organized, through its powerful settings and intuitive use.

Installation & Requirements

Fences installs quickly, with no complicated settings. However, you should pay attention to the setup windows, as it comes bundled with adware, which will also be installed unless you opt out. At first run, a welcome screen provides the options of launching the application as a trial version, buying it or unlocking the program if you’ve already purchased a license.

To make things easier for new users, a Getting Started screen follows, offering to apply a layout automatically or access to the program’s settings for creating a custom one. Fences works on Windows 7, 8 and 32-bit versions of Windows XP, with no additional requirements.


The program lets you organize all of your desktop icons by placing them into shaded areas called “Fences” you can draw using your mouse. You can create as many of them as you like and resize or move them like any regular window.

Fences smoothly integrates into Windows, so you can find the program’s settings under the “Appearance & Personalization” Control Panel category (in Windows 7). Of course you can get there faster from the program’s desktop icon or by selecting “Configure Fences” from the right-click desktop menu. The settings are straightforward, even for beginners. The homepage displays links and information for all of the features that can also be accessed from the sidebar menu.

The automatic layout offered by Fences at first run and also available under the “Layout and snapping” category is a great way for novice users to see quickly what the program can do. Nonetheless, creating your own Fences is resumed to drawing rectangle shapes on your desktop, selecting the “Create Fence here” option, labeling it and dragging & dropping icons into the newly created Fence.

Further customization of your Fences can be done from the menu of individual Fences or from the program’s settings. The Fence menu allows the user to rename it, change the opacity of the Fence, sort its icons and define rules for icon placement and auto-organizing, such as where do new icons go, sending new data to specific Fences based on its type (folders, documents, images, music…etc.), name, time, size and even creating custom rules with multiple criteria. All of these options combined make a powerful way of creating a truly customized automated desktop organization. Spending time to choose/define these rules is surely worth the effort in the long run.

By default, Fences are grey and semi-transparent, thus they blend smoothly into any desktop, regardless of the theme or wallpaper. Even so, their look can be personalized in many aspects, as a whole or individually, such as show/hide labels, adjusting the labels font, size/color, the icon transparency/fading and the Fences color/transparency/saturation.

Fences comes with a few other useful features, specifically hiding all desktop icons with a simple double-click on the desktop, Folder Portals and Desktop Pages. Creating a folder portal is done the same way as creating a Fence, except that after drawing the rectangle, you must choose the “Create Folder Portal here” option. This basically allows the user to quickly create a Fence with the contents of any folder. Desktop Pages is a feature that enables an unlimited number of desktop layouts. This enables users to create different desktops for different purposes, such as office, school, home…etc. Switching the pages can be easily done in a different number of ways like pulling the edge of the screen with the mouse or dragging the mouse on the screen with both left and right buttons pressed.


– Simple and fast installation.

– The Settings panel provides comprehensive information to guide new users.

– The Fences integrate seamlessly into any desktop.

– Simple mouse-based controls allow the user into creating, resizing and moving Fences.

– Powerful rules for automated organizing and icon placement.


– Even though Fences is a commercial application, the installer is bundled with adware.


Winstep Nexus


– RocketDock


As of the latest version, Fences is not free anymore (it costs $9.99). Even so, the elegant and simple solution for desktop organization it offers is fully worth paying this modest amount of money. The way it naturally blends into Windows is especially appreciated by people who are looking to keep their desktop sleek-looking and tidy without the bells and whistles of most similar applications but with powerful functionality.