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How to dim the Windows desktop except the active window

Busy and cluttered desktops can be a real hindrance on productivity. With Le Dimmer for Windows, you can dim everything on the desktop except the active window to help you achieve greater focus.

A cluttered computer desktop can be distracting and have a negative impact on productivity. You can take the time to close all the windows or maybe even use a program in full-screen mode, but that's not always practical or feasible. An alternative solution is dimming everything on your desktop, except for the window that you're working in. Le Dimmer, a small Windows program, can help you focus on the active window by creating a distraction-free environment. Here's how:

After you download Le Dimmer, extract the program to your hard drive. There are only two files in the compressed file: LeDimmer.exe and Readme.txt. Double-click on LeDimmer.exe to launch it. Once it's launched, your desktop and other programs will dim, leaving only the active window and taskbar brightly lit.

Le Dimmer
Dimmer on transparency of 150. Screenshot by Ed Rhee/CNET

The transparency can be configured to a setting between 0 and 255, with the default set to 150. However, the transparency can only be set from the command line. The easy solution is to create a shortcut, then modify the shortcut to include the command line switch. For example, to change the transparency to 200, add "-alpha 200" to the end of the command. A shortcut is also convenient in case you want to copy it into the Startup folder so that it launches automatically when Windows starts.

Le Dimmer transparency to 200
Dimmer on transparency of 200. Screenshot by Ed Rhee/CNET

If you right-click on the Le Dimmer icon in the system tray, you can quit the program or select "About" to see the other command line options.

Le Dimmer usage
Screenshot by Ed Rhee/CNET

That's it. If you find yourself easily distracted by all the windows you have open on your desktop, give Le Dimmer a try and see if it helps you get your focus back.

(Via Addictive Tips)