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Power8 1.4.1.569

A replacement Start menu for Windows

by Bob Thornton

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License: Freeware
Operating Systems: Windows 7 (32 bit), Windows 7 (64 bit), Windows 8
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Languages: English
Software Cost: Free
Date Updated: 15 March 2013
Watchlist: Add download to my watchlist
Downloads To Date: 2626
Developer: Power8 team
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Power8
Power8 is a simple yet effective Start menu replacement tool

Whether you’ve made the switch to Windows 8 and don’t like the way the new Start menu looks and works, or you’re sticking with Windows 7 or earlier and just fancy a change, Power8 is a replacement Start menu tool that has a neat a compact look. While it has been primarily designed for disillusioned Windows 8 users, there is no reason that it cannot be used in other versions of the operating system as it has a number of interesting features.

Power8 is a little different from other Start menu replacements in that it does not try to completely replace the existing Start menu, nor does it skin it. This is essentially a standalone program which is not reliant on any system files and this brings the added advantage that changes to Windows will never mean that the program is rendered unusable.

The program can be configured to start with Windows so that it is available from the word go. As you would expect, the Power8 provides you with access to shortcuts to launch any of the programs you have installed on your computer and you are able to pin your most frequently used apps to the top of the menu for easier access. Unlike the regular Start menu, Power8 allows for very easy navigation of your files and folders – the Computer link enables you to browse through the entire contents of your hard drive with folder contents opening up in sub-menu after sub-menu.

Interestingly, it is possible to use Power8 alongside the existing Start menu. This is nothing to stop you from running both at the same time and reaping the benefits of the best of both worlds. You can choose where on screen Power8 should appear and both this utility and the regular Start menu can be accessed by clicking much the same area of the taskbar – you can just pick and choose which one you want to use depending on what you are doing.

Verdict:

This is not the most advanced Start menu replacement, but it is still a solid performer.

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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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