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StartOrbz 3.1

Complete your customisation of Windows by changing the Start button

by Bob Thornton

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Based on 0 ratings
License: Freeware
Operating Systems: Windows 7 (32 bit), Windows 7 (64 bit), Windows Vista (32 bit), Windows Vista (64 bit)
Requirements:

 

Languages: English
Software Cost: Free
Date Updated: 31 August 2011
Watchlist: Add download to my watchlist
Downloads To Date: 6376
Developer: Blizo
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StartOrbz
Customise your Start button with StartOrbz

There are a huge number of ways in which you can customise your copy of Windows, but all too often there is one aspect of the operating system that is overlooked. Despite the fact that the Start button is clicked dozens of times each day, it is something that most tweaking tools leave well alone. This is not the case with StartOrbs which has been designed specifically to make it possible to change the Start button.

Start orb packs can be downloaded from one of a range of tweaking web sites, but you also have the option of creating your own from scratch. This means that you can use any image you like on the Start orb and you can use different images for the default, hover and click states.

For each image that you choose, you can use StartOrbs to adjust the glow, and shadow effects to create the look you are trying to achieve. The program can be configured to automatically create not only a system restore point but also a backup of explorer.exe - the file that needs to be patched - so you can easily get things back to normal if you change your mind.

The mere fact that StartOrbz makes possible something that so many tweakers want to achieve - and makes it so easy - is enough to make it worth installing. There are so many options when it comes to personalising the look of your operating system and this is one handy little tool that enables you to put the finishing touches in place.

Verdict:

A great tool that touches one of the parts other customisation programs cannot.

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Spotlight: Free Full Software

Spektrel Art 1.0.0

Free Full Commercial Software

Spektrel Art is a stand-alone program and Photoshop plugin which transforms digital photos into "magical art that glimmers and gleams with intersecting lines of tapered light".

What does that mean? Essentially it applies a configurable mix of effects, enhancing edges, smoothing backgrounds and emphasizing colours. Take a look at the thumbnail for one example, and the official product page has more.

Spektral Art works much like any similar tool. Open an image, click one of the thumbnails to apply a particular preset, or click a few buttons and drag some sliders to fine-tune the results.

There's surprising scope for variation, too. For example, just switching from the "Light" to "Dark" theme can transform a bright and friendly image into something dark and sinister, at least in some cases (results vary depending on the source image).

Please note, the demo version doesn't allow images to be saved.

SPECIAL OFFER: as we write, the developer is offering Spektral Art for free. The offer expires August 29th. Please note that you must provide your name, address and phone number to receive your free license.

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