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Stardock DeskScapes 8.00

Jazz up your desktop and screensaver with this customization tool

by Nick Peers

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License: Trial Software
Operating Systems: Windows 7 (32 bit), Windows 7 (64 bit), Windows 8
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Languages: English
Software Cost: $9.99 (Windows)
Date Updated: 27 February 2013
Watchlist: Add download to my watchlist
Downloads To Date: 2086
Developer: Stardock
RSS News Feed:
Twitter Feed: http://twitter.com/#!/stardock
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/official.stardock
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Stardock DeskScapes 8
Spruce up your desktop with Stardock’s DeskScapes 8.

Many of us stick with the same desktop wallpaper and screensaver, happy with our lot. But if you’re the kind of person who gets tired of seeing the same old image day in, day out, you’ll have no doubt experimented with different wallpapers in an attempt to find something that grabs your attention.

One of the frustrations of the desktop background can be how static it is, which is where Stardock’s DeskScapes 8 comes in. Not only does it provide you with a host of static and animated wallpapers to select for your desktop background or screensaver, DeskScapes also allows you to apply special effects and animations to them too in order to give your desktop a more interesting look, from a slowly rotating Earth (which shows day and night in real-time) to vintage drive-thru with flying birds and animated girl and boy in his car.

It’s incredibly simple to use: once installed, right-click the desktop and choose Configure DeskScapes to get started. A list of available wallpapers – including those already present on your PC – are shown, with a link to downloading more from WinCustomize.com at the base. Pick a wallpaper, then use the Adjust, Effects, Colour and Settings tab to tweak it to your satisfaction.

The Effects tab is of most interest, providing you with dozens of ways to transform your existing wallpaper, from blur effects to colourizations and other filters. You can also create your own effects by combining up to four existing effects too.

Animated wallpapers are called “Dreams”, and while only a handful of provided in DeskScapes itself, you’ll find loads more at WinCustomize.com. Fancy creating your own? DeskScapes ships with Stardock DreamMaker 3, a free standalone tool that allows you to take an image and animate it yourself. It’s not the simplest to use, but there’s plenty of information online.

Deskscapes 8 is a new release, adding full Windows 8 support and access to a Windows 8-ready Dream Library on WinCustomize.com. It also debuts a brand-new user interface.

Verdict:

Produces impressive results, but do you really need to pay $10 just to animate your desktop? We’re not entirely convinced.

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Spotlight: Free Full Software

Ashampoo Burning Studio 2013 (v11.0.6)

Free Full Commercial Software

Ashampoo Burning Studio 2013 is a compact, simple, but surprisingly feature-packed disc burning suite.

The program makes it easy to create simple data discs and audio CDs, for instance: just drag and drop your files onto the list area and you'll be burning the finished disc in a couple of clicks.

That's just the start, though. Burning Studio 2013 can also create data discs with customised, interactive multi-page menus, perfect if you'd like a more professional way to share and present the disc contents.

A built-in backup tool allows you to create backups which may be encrypted, compressed, and span several CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays.

And there are modules to create VCD or SVCD video projects; burn video DVDs or Blu-ray discs from prepared folders; create, browse or burn disc images (ISO, CUE/ BIN and Ashdisc formats are supported); copy discs, erase them, design and print disc covers, labels and booklets, and more.

The focus throughout is on ease of use, though, and so Ashampoo Burning Studio 2013 remains very straightforward, whatever you're doing. Most disc projects are created via the same simple interface, and for the most part all you have to do is drag and drop the necessary files. But experts will find more advanced options are only a click away, and if you need to then you can set ISO and UDF version, enable Joliet, make a disc bootable and more.

Note the download here will take you to the Downloadcrew Software Store where you can download Burning Studio 2013.

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