Fully Customize the Menu / Interface of Your Sony Ericsson (P1i, G900, etc.) or Nokia phone (e61, e71, etc.)

Know another way to customize the interface of your Sony Ericsson UIQ3 (P1i, G900, W960, etc.) and Nokia S60v3 (e61, e61i, e71, etc.) besides Themes.

For most of us, the good old-fashioned way of spicing up the menus and interface of either our Sony Ericsson or Nokia phone is to download a “Theme” and installing it to our phone. But if you already have a smartphone like the P1i or the e61, downloading a theme just isn’t enough.

With the open source application named GDesk, you could fully customize the menu / interface of your Sony Ericsson (P1i, G900, etc.) or Nokia phone (e61, e71, etc.)

GDesk is an application that is installed in the phone to fully customize the look of your menu. It almost replaces your default menu style which is in your phone. I said “almost” because the default menu is still there and you can access it anytime if you want to. It also doesn’t just replace your menu; it also replaces the desktop or initial view of your phone.

Replace this normal look of our phone with GDesk..

Some examples of phones customized by GDesk can be found at the official GDesk website designs page. Fully customized right?

What phones can use GDesk?

Since GDesk is an application, it relies and only works on certain operating systems (OS) of mobile phones. Simply put, GDesk is for UIQ3 (mainly Sony Ericsson) and S60v3 (mainly Nokia) mobile phones only.

Here is a list of Sony Ericsson phones which I have tested supporting such OS and are thus compatible with GDesk.

Sony Ericsson – P1/P1i/P1c , M600/M600i/M608 , P990/P990i/P990c , W950/W950i/W950c , W960/W960i/W960c , G700, G900

Note that there are other phones out there with the UIQ3 platform like the Motorola Z8 and Motorola Z10 but I haven’t tested them personally. So if you have those kinds of phones and you’ve successfully installed GDesk on them just tell me, and I’ll include them in the list and quote you as the one who personally tested it.

The Nokia version of GDesk however, was just recently made as GDesk was originally for UIQ3 only. Examples of s60v3 handsets are the Nokia E61, E61i, and the E71. You may use this link to view all s60v3 mobile phones.

I had tested GDesk for s60v3 only on the Nokia E61, E61i, and the E71. I have not been able to test the s60v3 version of GDesk on the other handsets (too many of them!)

Note that since the s60v3 version of GDesk is “unsigned”, you have to make sure that before you install GDesk to your phone, that you set Software/Program Installation to “All” or “All Applications” and Online Cetificate Check to “Off”. Both can be found at the Application settings or Program Manager (usually located at Menu, Tools, Settings, Applications then Application Manager). If you don’t do the settings above, when you install GDesk, you’ll get a “Certificate Error” message and you won’t be able to install it.

If your phone doesn’t have this setting you’d need to have it Symbian signed.

(The UIQ3 version doesn’t seem to have this problem as I installed GDesk without any problems.)

UPDATE 3/4/2009: The certificate of GDesk 0.32a expired last 2/25/2009, so when you install GDesk, a certificate error would appear. For you to install it correctly, you need to set the date of your phone before 2/25/2009 (for example 1/5/2009). Once you’ve successfully installed GDesk, just set the date to the correct one.

You can download GDesk in the GDesk Versions page. Just click what type of version you would like to download. Just remember, pick the one that is for your type of phone (UIQ or s60).

You can install GDesk by either using the PC Suite software of your phone (connecting your phone via a USB cable and running PC Suite), or by transferring it to your memory card (transfer the GDesk installation file to your memory card and launch it from your file manager). You only need to install the GDesk core file to make GDesk work (ex. GDesk.0.32a.sis). The other plugins like GDesk Shortcuts and GDesk Taskman are optional only.


How to use GDesk

I’ll be showing you the basic methods on how to operate GDesk. Screenshots shown here are from the UIQ3 version and s60v3 version of GDesk.

After you install GDesk, launch the application. You should now be able to see something like this. 

UIQ S60v3
customize menu interface Sony Ericsson (P1i, G900, etc.) Nokia phone (e61, e71, etc.) graphic2 customize menu interface Sony Ericsson (P1i, G900, etc.) Nokia phone (e61, e71, etc.) graphic2-1

By launching GDesk you now have what replaces your Desktop or Menu View. What you get initially is a blank desktop. You haven’t modified anything right?

Now let’s try to design the blank desktop or menu that we have. For the UIQ3 version, tap the background/screen (if you have a touch screen phone), or press the “Ok” button to bring up the menu. For the s60v3 version, press the right menu button (usually the button assigned as “back”) to bring up the menu.


UIQ S60v3
customize menu interface Sony Ericsson (P1i, G900, etc.) Nokia phone (e61, e71, etc.) graphic3 customize menu interface Sony Ericsson (P1i, G900, etc.) Nokia phone (e61, e71, etc.) graphic3-1


Tap or use the keypads to choose “Design”. By choosing “Design” you are now in Design mode and again presented with a blank screen.

Just tap the screen again or press the “Ok” button on your keys (or press the right menu button for s60 version) to bring up the menu for the Design mode just like below.

UIQ S60v3


If you choose “Set Desktop”, you will be presented with options on how to customize the look of your desktop. Here is where you can set an image as the background of your desktop or just set a plain color as your background.

UIQ S60v3


Be careful though when you set an image as your background. It will display it in your background in its original size and pixels. If it’s too large, your phone won’t be able to display the whole picture and may even hang if the file size is really too big. So it is better that what you set in the background is more or less the same resolution displayed by your phone.

You may use the screenshots I displayed here as a guide when you want to make a background image as they are actual screenshots from a P1i and E71. They may look slightly larger than the screen of your phone but they actually are a perfect fit.

Now comes the bread and butter of GDesk, which is adding an application to the desktop. Go to “Add App”. 

UIQ S60v3


When you choose “Add App”, you would be able to choose any application like the Call Log, the Camera, Calculator, Messaging, etc. When you choose an application, a shortcut to the application would automatically be placed in the desktop. When you exit design mode (which I will show you later) and click on the shortcut you made, the application would launch/open. So go ahead and add as many applications as you want.

Now by using “Add App” what you just have is the default icon. To replace this icon with an icon that you like, just select the icon and choose “Set Icon” 

UIQ S60v3


When you choose “Set Icon”, your phone’s file manager would launch and you just need to choose a picture you would want as an icon for your application shortcut.

I’m pretty sure you don’t have any icons right now, so it’s better that you search Google for icons or icon packs as there are a lot of sites there offering them for free.

If for example you run out of space in your desktop and you’d still like to add other items or applications, you can add another page to the Desktop through the “Page” menu. This means that you now have another blank page to work on.

UIQ S60v3
customize menu interface Sony Ericsson (P1i, G900, etc.) Nokia phone (e61, e71, etc.) graphic7 customize menu interface Sony Ericsson (P1i, G900, etc.) Nokia phone (e61, e71, etc.) graphic7-1


When you want to switch between pages and design that page, it is also done under the “Page” menu.


UIQ S60v3


Now if you’ve designed 2 or more pages, you would need a way to switch between these pages when you’ve exited the Design mode. The “Add Other” menu provides a way to add a Page Link.

UIQ S60v3


You can also add Control Panel shortcuts (which is not available in Add App) to the desktop through the Add Other menu. Note that you can also change the icons of Page Links and Control Panel shortcuts. Just select the shortcut and choose “Set Icon”.

UIQ S60v3
customize menu interface Sony Ericsson (P1i, G900, etc.) Nokia phone (e61, e71, etc.) graphic10 customize menu interface Sony Ericsson (P1i, G900, etc.) Nokia phone (e61, e71, etc.) graphic10-1


Notice on my right screenshot that you can assign a shortcut for the Keylock? The Keylock shortcut is only available for the s60v3 version of GDesk and is not available for the UIQ3 version. However, UIQ3 phones usually have a keylock shortcut at their taskbar which is also easily accessible.

On the left screenshot, there is a GDesk Clock, GDesk TaskMan, and GDesk Shortcuts. When you install a GDesk plugin, it shows up in the “Add Other” menu.


Using Another Person’s Design

If you want to use another person’s design to fully customize the menu/interface of your phone you can do so by first downloading any of the designs in the GDesk Designs page. Once you download the design you want (which would have a file extension of .gdd) go to Design mode and choose “Load Design”.

UIQ S60v3


Your file manager would then launch and you just need to find and then open whatever GDesk design you downloaded.

Note however that some of the designs there are phone specific. Some of the designs even have an application that you don’t have. So when you download a design, you would probably have to modify or edit it a little bit more.

Once you’re done designing, save your design (see the screenshot above on Loading a Design) and just click “Done” and you’ll be ready to use the design you made!

UIQ S60v3


Now everytime you restart your phone, you just need to open GDesk to use the design you’ve made! It’s pretty easy actually and I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it once you play with it for a while. GDesk still has many features which I haven’t discussed here but I’m sure you will discover it as you use GDesk.


I hope I have helped you understand how to fully customize the menu / interface of your Sony Ericsson (p1i, g900, etc.) or Nokia phone (e61, e71, etc.) If you have any questions, comments, or reactions, please feel free to post it at the comment section below.

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  1. vii says:

    my p1i doest reconize .gdd :S it wont let me install it, how can i fix that problem ?

    • Ige says:

      Hi vii,
      .gdd is a file which can be opened by GDesk. Download and install GDesk first. After that load the .gdd file inside GDesk when you have opened the application.

  2. Judy says:

    Oh goodness, thank you for posting this information on GDesk for G900.

    I have had so much trouble understanding how to customize it and everything but this really helped!

    Thank you SO much!

  3. snazarin says:

    i tried install GDesk.0.32a.SIS but its come out error told me the certificate expired..

    can some one help he..i tried already all version and its still the same thing come up

    i tried it on my P1i

    • Ige says:

      Hi snazarin,
      The certificate of GDesk 0.32a.sis expired on Feb 25, 2009 (2/25/2009). To install it to your phone just change the date of your phone before 2/25/2009 (e.x. 1/5/2009) and then install GDesk. Once successfully installed, you can return your date into the correct one.

      • Fabio says:

        Thank you so much man !!!!! i’ve been trying for 3 days to install Gdesk 0.33e!I could install only Gdesk0.24 then i tried with v031 ,v 032 v033d v0.33e ! And now i did it with your advice!
        God bless you ! My Sony Ericsson P1i looks great !

  4. xian says:

    which gdesk version should install for g900?
    thanks for help

    • Ige says:

      The UIQ version of the GDesk should be installed for the G900. I’ve checked the versions page and the latest is 0.32a UIQ version.

  5. Hadi says:

    where do i find GDesk downloads

  6. alvin says:

    hello, can u help me how to use the gdesk v0.33e? coz i am having difficulty on how to make it slide after i design it, what i need most is the help on how to use the SCROLL in designing ;) thanks alot, hoping for ur positive respond

    • Ige says:

      I suggest that you just make different pages and access the other pages through an icon. Scrolling (like in the case of the iPhone) I think is still not possible in GDesk.

  7. Hackademic says:

    Damn, found this s-b-s tutorial after I’d learned GDesk the hard way!! But good work mate,


  8. rofeo says:

    man i have a problem i have nokia e63 and when i add a new app. the icon comes in the centre of the screen i want to make it left raight in athe corner how can i change the place of the icon

  9. Thedy says:

    Can u help me? how to add new Tap in my G900?? I want to add/move “Note Menu” in Tap..

    Thanx in advance..

  10. Sanny says:

    Thank u so much for ur article.. u hv done gud job and explained in very simple way.. hey Please let me know the link where to get the icons and how to install it..

  11. Mrky says:

    Upon instalation of GDesk v0.32a (stable version from the official web page) to my SE P1i I have started the application and it worked. I switched the phone off regularly, but when I tried to switch it on again the phone did not start – it just gave the usual startup vibration and keypad started to flash on and off. Nothing came on the screen and I could not switch the phone off until I removed the battery. I hooked the phone with a PC but it was not recognised so I was unable to restore my previous backup. Now I have a “dead” P1i. Any idea what to do?

  12. lego says:

    dude how can i make my page work like the iphone’s scrolling effect?

    • Ige says:

      If I’m not mistaken, I think GDesk now has that scrolling effect feature. Just drag your screen to the left or right to see if you can put additional icons.

  13. simon says:

    hi all gdesk users! i wonder how to install gdesk on the sony ericsson g900! are you just copy the g desk files in to the phone and then install it from there??? please help me! email me :)

  14. edilaine says:

    hi can you pls help me how to change my menu icons. im using g900 and i tried it a lot but it does not work pls email me or reply on my msg thanks a lot

    • Ige says:

      Hi Edilaine,
      It doesn’t really change the icons but fully replaces the menu you are using. That way, if you still want t access the old menu with the old icons you can go back and use it again.

  15. Gborek says:

    Can you provide more details? For Example how to use “Page menu”? Or how to resize and align icons on page?

    • Ige says:

      You have to use the grid if you want to fully align your icons. And pages are just different views of the menu. It’s like having multiple menus.

  16. Hitesh says:

    Please help me to install gdesk on my p1i. I’ll b very thankfull if u send me all the steps on my e-mail id. please sir help me.

    • Ige says:

      Just download the installation file in the link above and then put it inside your phone’s memory card (you can use your phone’s USB cable). After that just click the installation file inside your phone and it should install.

      • hitesh says:

        i tryed the same thing, i changed my phone date, the instalation process completed. bt when i launch the program it says application “couldn’t be started”. please help.

  17. anonymous says:

    This mode is not help, as long as nobody can explain step by step still confused me.
    Please explain step by step so we can do it all fine, I have install all Gdesk mode but it’s hard to setup until the icon showed as yours.

  18. San says:

    dude, excellent post.. By far the best around..
    I’ve installed v0.33 on my E71, thanx to u.. I’m searching for gdd’s.. the links I’ve found don’t give much choices for nokia, leave the E71.. help? Pref not anything linking backto gdesk’s horrible site :P ..

    • Ige says:

      Haha, I know what you’re talking about. I hope you’ve tried searching for other designs made by people through Google.

      If you really can’t find one, just make a design o you’re own. I found it easier to make a design by using the icons of others as a pattern.

  19. Nasir says:

    Thank you for this step-by-step guide. Very useful!!

  20. njudit says:

    error “application couldn’t be started” when i try to run gdesk. what seems to be the problem?

  21. jay says:

    where is tab button???????

  22. iyah says:

    hey, i got the same problem with njudit.. what could be a solution for this? need your help!!!

  23. barochallo says:

    I’m using a Nokia 5800XM and Gdesk v0.35b2. In the Design Mode, the add application does not show all the installed applications/ links e.g. Call Logs, Application Manager etc. I tried using the Add Other >Control Panel option but no use. I also tried the add GDesk shortcut, but I see no way of pointing to a link in the same.
    Any suggestions?

  24. Cong says:

    Thanks for your information. I like this software.

  25. russel says:

    dude what is the latest version for g900??
    where to download it??

    • raaj says:

      Hi. Did you find the latest version for SE g900? I just dont wanna dump my SE g900. Its too good but with a slow brain. Can we do something about it?
      Pl send me if you find somthn.

  26. lazzzz says:

    Hi… I am using SE P1i and I need link download GDesk program and other GDesk applications… Please send me link on email adress…. Thanks!!!!

  27. ahmed says:

    i wanna to slide pages pleassssssssssssssse
    i have gdesk 0.32a

  28. Mandie says:

    Has anyone had success with this for nokia E71. I can download it no problem but when i go to add an Icon i can not arrange it they just stack on top of each other…

  29. divyansh says:

    hey…….i successfully installed it on ma g900…….but how to make it maaa theme……???????plezeee need disparate help……..:(((