Dropcloth will instantly blank out your desktop and all of your running apps. DRopcloth is a Windows copy of the Mac-only app Backdrop.
Dropcloth is a simple application that overlays a solid colored window on top of your desktop. Especially handy for clearing your desktop for screenshots and screencasts, or just getting rid of all the distraction in front of you so that you can focus on just one application without closing out of anything or clearing off your desktop.
After the jump, download Dropcloth for free and clean all the ugly and distraction off your visible desktop in one fell swoop.
What it does: There's really not much to it. When you run Dropcloth the first time, everything on your desktop will disappear behind a black overlay. Through the Dropcloth Preferences, you can adjust the color and opacity (I'd recommend sticking with opaque, since it performs much better) of your Dropcloth window.
Depending on your tastes, you can also choose whether or not you want Dropcloth to show up in your Windows taskbar. If the Dropcloth is enabled to be visible in your taskbar, you can work with it like any other app - switch to it with Alt-Tab, etc.
The handy part about hiding Dropcloth from the taskbar is that you can take advantage of Windows' desktop shortcuts in interesting ways. For example, hitting Windows-D (show desktop) will minimize all of your windows, including Dropcloth, so that you can access your actual desktop.
Alternately, hitting Windows-M (minimize all windows) will minimize everything except Dropcloth, giving you an instant, blank backdrop.
You can also set up a customizable shortcut to toggle the visibility of Dropcloth.