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Start Screen Unlimited Lite 2.0

Add much-needed functionality to the Windows 8 Start Screen

by Nick Peers

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License: Free, for personal-use only
Operating Systems: Windows 8
Requirements:
Languages: English
Software Cost: $19.95 (Windows)
Date Updated: 08 July 2014
Watchlist: Add download to my watchlist
Downloads To Date: 471
Developer: Greatis Software
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Twitter Feed: https://twitter.com/Greatis
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StartScreenUnlimited
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Start Screen Unlimited 2.0
Add missing features back to the Windows 8 Start screen.

Microsoft has had a hard job convincing people of the merits of the Windows Modern UI, so any help it can get to make the Start screen in particular more useful has got to be a good thing, surely? That’s the reasoning behind Start Screen Unlimited, which adds a customisable taskbar to the top of your Start screen packed with useful features.

These include handy shortcut buttons to the power, key folders and settings, a status panel, direct Search box and clock. After installation, leave both boxes ticked and click Finish to access the configuration screen, where you can choose exactly what options are available, letting you streamline the taskbar to include only those tools you need.

The default options are a good place to start – the taskbar will appear on the Start screen and within any modern app for easy access, so click Go! and you’re off and running. Better still, once you’re at the Start screen you’ll see you can drag and drop the different elements – clock, search and shortcut buttons, and drive info – around the Start screen to the perfect spot.

The search box defaults to Google, but you can choose from nine different engines from Twitter and Wikipedia to Ebay and Bing by clicking its dropdown menu. If the icons are taking up too much screen real-estate, return to the configuration screen via the main menu (click the ‘i’ button) and choose Compact Mode. Untick “Glossy style” for less flashy icons that blend in better with the Start screen’s flat look.

The free Lite version is limited to personal use only, but has pretty much all the functionality you could need or want. A Deluxe version removes this restriction, adds 3D menus and promises early access to future features.

Verdict:

Start Screen Unlimited fills a hole that leaves you wondering why Microsoft didn’t think to add these features in the first place.

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Spotlight: Free Full Software

WhatsApp Messenger 2.12.1

Free Full Commercial Software

WhatsApp Messenger is the world's most popular instant messaging app for smartphones.

You can use it to send and receive text and voice messages, photos, videos, even call your friends in other countries, and because it uses your phone's internet connection it might not cost you anything at all (depending on whether you'll pay data charges).

It's easy to set up and use. There's no need to create and remember new account names or pins because it works with your phone number, and uses your regular address book to find and connect you with friends who use WhatsApp already.

You can talk one-to-one or in group chats, and because you're always logged in there's no way to miss messages. Even if your phone is turned off, WhatsApp will save your messages and display them as soon as you're back online.

There's plenty more (location sharing, contact exchange, message broadcasting) and the app is free for a year, currently $0.99/ year afterwards.

Version 2.12.1 brings:
 - WhatsApp Calling: Call your friends and family using WhatsApp for free, even if they’re in another country. WhatsApp calls use your phone’s Internet connection rather than your cellular plan’s voice minutes. Data charges may apply.

[...]
Value:
Free
Rating: