One thing that Microsoft has always excelled at is making its operating system customizable, and what the company does not do, third-party services make up for. Stardock is one of the premier makers and has been especially popular since the release of Windows 8, thanks in large part to bringing back the Start Menu, but it is far from the only one.
This all brings us to BetterDesktop Tool. This app is not for bringing back the long-lost Start Button and Menu, but it certainly brings plenty of functionality along.
Get the App
Head over to the BetterDesktop Tool web site and you will find two choices — there are standard and pro versions, with the Standard option being free. Both versions are contained within the download package. Commercial users must purchase a license and can try BetterDesktopTool Professional Edition free for 30 days. The app is compatible with both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows.
During the installation process you will be prompted to choose between “Private Usage” and “Commercial Usage (30 Day Trial)”. The app requires only 1.5 MB of free disk space. There are no toolbars or other software included in the app and installation is extremely fast.
Only three tabs garner the top of the screen — “Windows and Desktop Overview”, “Virtual-Desktop” and “General”. All have a rather geeky look to them, but they are less scary once you understand what each can do. The app is capable of a lot, but we will hit the highlights here to get you introduced to all of the functionality that BetterDesktop Tool brings along.
Windows and Desktop Overview
This is the first of those geeky looking screens I mentioned, but do not let appearances put you off. It is not as scary as it may at first look. First there are several dropdown menus that allow you to set options, which as Ctrl-Tab or Alt-Tab, for a range of choices, and these can be to not only keystrokes, but also mouse clicks and “hot corners”.
- Show all windows
- Show foreground app windows
- Show desktop
- Show non-minmized windows
- Show desktop
Mouse options include the usual – left, middle and right buttons. Hot corners are areas of the screen – top and bottom right and top and bottom left.
Other options on this tab include “Arrange windows in a regular grid”, “Move all windows to primary screen” and “Show top-level windows only”.
There are also two buttons at the bottom right of the screen — Exclude Window and Reset Excluded Windows. The first will propt you with instructions. “To exclude a window start window-overview (show all windows) and right-click the window you want to exclude. Select the corresponding menu item and the window will be excluded”. The latter button does the opposite.
By default, Virtual Desktop is enabled as is “Move windows between virtual-desktops by dragging them to the screen edges for a time”. Howeveryou can disable these and also choose from a number of options.
The “Show virtual desktop” option has similar dropdown menus for keyboard, mouse and hot corners. You can choose what occurs when another application on a virtual desktop gets activated — move it, switch it or make the app global.
“Direct switching” also has options for keyboard shortcuts, as well as moving and switching. Finally, there is an option forthe amount and arrangement of windows that appear on your screen. By default, this is set four – two wide and two high. However, both of these can be changed by clicking the up and down arrows to the right of each number.
The “General” tab has six options, the first three of which are enabled by default.
- Start Program with Windows
- Check for updates on start
- Disable all shortcuts when a fullscreen application is running (e.g. games)
- Disable animation for window, desktop and virtual-desktop overview
- Ask to restore applications from hidden virtual desktops before shutdown/logoff (blocks shutdown)
- Enable multitouch-gesture support for designated touchpads
Below this, there are two button at thebottom of the screen — “Check for update” and “About and License”. Both options do exactly as the names describe.
- Arranges all windows in a non overlapping layout. Allows selection of an arbitrary window to bring it to the foreground.
- Can be applied to minimized, non-minimized and foreground application windows.
- Supports Multi-Monitor setups.
- Moves all windows away from your desktop to give you access to Desktop-Shortcuts and Sidebar-Gadgets.
- Supports Multi-Monitor setups.
- Configuration of Mouse and Keyboard shortcuts for all functions.
- Configuration of Hot-Corners for all functions.
As I said back at the beginning, there are countless applications for customizing Windows. BetterDesktop Tool is perhaps one the better ones, as it allows the user to set all sorts of shortcuts using the the keyboard and mouse and even screen corners. The app is also free and comes with no malware or toolbars that attempt to install themselves in the setup process.
The company also points out that support for window selection by keyboard shortcuts will also follow soon in the next version. The company regularly updates its app, so you can expect to get regular new features and bug fixes.
In 2010, Metro 2033 redefined the meaning of silence and stillness. From impending action to lurking danger, Metro 2033 bent the perception of silence, darkness and stillness towards evil. Now, in 2013, the sequel to Metro 2033, Metro: Last Light, is in my hands and I feel the same energy in it as in its predecessor.
Metro: Last Light has been looking good in teasers and commercials, but does it actually perform? Well, after playing it thoroughly and patiently, the way this FPS is meant to be played, I can say that it almost hits the spot. Let’s find out how!
In recent weeks, more and more details have been emerging in relation to Microsoft’s first major Windows 8 update known as Windows Blue. Though, with the recent influx of rumors, many are beginning to wonder what Microsoft might include inside of the next edition of the Windows family, Windows 9. The release of Windows 9 will be a critical milestone for Microsoft as they try to improve upon the negative public perception they received following the release of Windows 8.
While no operating system will ever be perfect, Windows 9 has the potential to be a very solid, competitive OS. However, there are a few specific changes that I believe should be implemented into Windows 9 if Microsoft is to win back the customers that they lost last October.
I am usually wary of sequels. I almost always have a flow of convoluted emotions when a sequel to a hugely popular, blockbuster game is announced. It wouldn’t be too farfetched to say that I dislike sequel announcements. Why? Because, more often than not, sequels are heartbreaks. They bring new hopes that send you soaring through the sky, and then shatter them with an evil grin. They fail on their promise to deliver something as good as the original and they are weighed down to the underworld by the demons of expectations.
And, no points for guessing this, I felt the same when Company of Heroes 2 was announced. The sequel to the best RTS of all times, according to popular opinion? Yep, I was wary. Now, after fiddling around with the Company of Heroes 2 Beta, I can say that not all my high hopes were shattered. Only most.
There is no end to the amount of utilities that proclaim to “help” you out with your computer, by scanning files, cleaning things up and grabbing system information. Its an area of software that is fraught with danger, though. Many are unreputable and some even pop up messages warning you of danger to your system in an effort to prompt you to purchase them. Others simply either do not work or work a little too well, giving unknowledgeable users the opportunity to harm their own system by removing a file that Windows finds essential to run.
If you are careful, however, you can find some good utilities. Pay attention to reviews and what experts have to say and, when in doubt, simply avoid the software.
One of the better apps for gathering information about what is going on with your computer is called PC Hunter, which was recently updated to version 126.96.36.199.
When I laid my eyes and lent my ear to all the hype surrounding Defiance, I was impressed. It was an ambitious concept that brought together a lot of elements together and concentrated on the marriage of these elements. A massively multiplayer, huge world; combination of RPG and FPS, just like Borderlands; A parallel TV series that will run along the game; and I was totally impressed.
However, at the back of my mind, there was a lingering thought, a possibility that, given that the game was coming from Trion Worlds, a master in MMO field given its last product ‘Rift’, had a slight chance of occurring. What if the marriage of these elements was too much and it failed? The entire game would collapse and we would have nothing out of a brilliant concept. Unfortunately, despite my finger crossing and all sorts of voodoo, the worse happened. (more…)
My name is Sydney and I’m an AppStorm writer, a freelance web designer, a beagle mom and a software enthusiast. I’m flexible when it comes to operating systems. My current setup is a Windows 8 desktop PC, a 13″ MacBook Pro running Mountain Lion, a jailbroken iPhone 4 and a decked out installation of Chrome synced between my computers. I spend a lot of time in my browser and I’m a huge fan of text expansion and shortcuts.
These are the apps that I couldn’t write without.
The best laid plans often fall by the wayside. You may start off with the intension of keep your files neatly organized so you know where everything is, but how long before you end up with folders called ‘stuff’, ‘misc’ and ‘to sort’ littering your desktop?
With DropIt, all of this could come to an end as your file organisation can be taken care of for you. Now rather than having to drag and drop file after file into suitable folders, you can define rules that sort them for you automatically. Read on to see how this tool could help you out.
The word of the day is seldom. It seldom happens that a game is outshone by its successor. It seldom happens that a virtual world feels so real that when your stay in it ends, you relive it in your dreams, you reconstruct it from the mappings of the place in your mind. It seldom happens that you fall in love with virtual characters, develop emotional bonds with pieces of codes and treat them as your companions in a journey. Seldom.
BioShock Infinite is that seldom, it is that seldom which has reincarnated how games are perceived, how games are projected and how they should be in the years to come. It is a 10/10 and, without any more seldom, let me show you why this can be 2013’s Game of the Year.
Every article which I write needs to be accompanied by images. These images showcase the app that I’m trying to explain and allow readers to understand the article easier. Most of these images come in the form of screenshots which give an exact replication of what you would see when you use the app. However, recently I became annoyed by the tireless standard process of print screening then loading into an editor to perfect and resize the image. This method was long and annoying.
Then I found LightShot, an app which makes the screenshot experience far easier. By collecting the screenshot and editor together in the same package my life became a lot easier. Read on to find out how to use Lightshot.