BumpTop: Your Desktop in 3D


BumpTop is a cool little addition that can make your Windows desktop a little more organized and add a bit of pizazz to the experience. It adds physics and depth to your normal, boring desktop. You can slide files and icons around on the “floor” or pin them to any of the four walls that BumpTop creates. It makes for an impressive desktop and is somewhat comparable to Compiz on Linux, but is there much practical application for it?

You can focus on a wall by double-clicking it. This will cause you to fly-in so you only look at that wall. You’ll be able to see the edges of the adjacent walls and the floor while you’re focused on one wall, so you can double click on the edge to move from one wall to the next. Don’t worry! The four walls and the floor makes your desktop seem more like diorama than another cubicle. You can throw icons on to the wall to hang them there or slide them across the floor and they’ll bump into other icons.

You can use this to throw files to the recycle bin or into some of the desktop widgets that integrates E-mail, Facebook, or Twitter. These widgets will allow you to throw a file into them and then start a new message with the file attached. You can also pin sticky notes to the walls so you can write down notes to yourself. You’re limited to two (2) notes in the free version. Double click to edit a sticky note or right-click to add one.

Your normal right-click context menu is replaced with an easy to use circle menu where you can choose different features of BumpTop. You can still access the normal right-click menu (with some additions) under the More… selection. All of these selections, as you can see, also come with keyboard shortcuts so you can really work how you do.


One great feature of BumpTop is the ability to increase or decrease icon size. If you use something frequently, why not make it bigger so it’s an easier target to hit? You can increase the size of icons to make them easier to access. With the physics that are implemented by BumpTop, this also increases their weight and they won’t get bumped out of the way so easily. It could also make the Recycle Bin an easier target if you want to throw files away.

Some of the practical uses of BumpTop include searching and piling. You can search your desktop for a file just by typing and any matching icons will be highlighted. You can also access the search through the right-click menu. You can also pile icons together to tag them as related and to keep them physically together. To pile icons, you just highlight them and go to the pile icon. This will move all the icons on to a stack and you can then double-click on the pile to spread them out in a separated grid or right-click and fan them out.

Your mileage may vary, but BumpTop measured in as a 60-75 MB process for me and was a 10.7MB download for the installer. You can optionally configure BumpTop to start with Windows. Otherwise you can start it manually and close it with a system tray icon. It will remember your icon layout each time it starts up.

I used BB Flashback Express to record a video of going through the opening tutorial, so you can see some of the animations in action in the below video.

You can configure a number of settings: icons physics, photo frame cycling, and the desk widgets which allow integration to e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter. You can also change some of the visuals and graphic card usage. If you have multiple monitors, it looks like BumpTop can only be used on one desktop at a time. You can change the theme that BumpTop uses or just specify individual images for each wall/floor. You can have your current Windows background be the floor and then specify images for each wall or leave it with the theme defaults. You can see how to install a theme and browse the growing number of themes to really customize it to your liking. There are some really cool themes out there!

Another cool thing that BumpTop adds to your desktop comes in the form of Photoframes. Photoframes allow you to run a slide show from a local directory or an online source like a Flickr RSS feed. They can be configured with how frequently they update their source and how often they change images.

If you’re curious for more info you can watch a TED talk on the software.

Version tested: 1.0 build 3038

Compatibility: A 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7, with latest service packs. Intel 915 integrated graphics or Nvidia GeForce 6200 or ATI X300 or better with updated drivers. OpenGL 2.0 driver support required (may require additional drivers available at the bumptop drivers page).

Go to the program page to download the latest version (approx 10.73 megs).