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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: 483
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

Unreal Engine 4.8

Free Full Commercial Software

Unreal Engine is Epic Games' game engine, a powerful suite of tools for developing anything from basic 2D games to professional RPGs, first person shooters and whatever else you like.

Wide standards support - DirectX, OpenGL, JavaScript/ WebGL - means your projects can be targeted to almost any platform: consoles, iOS, Android, Windows, OS X, Linux, HTML5 browsers and more.

There's a vast amount to learn, of course, and that's even before you start building your game. But there's plenty of documentation, tutorials, demos and sample projects to point you in the right direction.

The package is now entirely free, too - no annoying limitations, nag screens or anything else. Epic now only requires that you pay a 5% royalty after the first $3,000 of revenue per product per quarter. And even then, you "pay no royalty for film projects, contracting and consulting projects such as architecture, simulation and visualization."

8.48 brings:
    - Optimized grass rendering and procedural foliage system preview
    - Plugins available in Marketplace
    - Improved accuracy for motion blur
    - New Tone Mapper
    - Support for all the latest VR hardware including Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, Steam VR and HTC Vive, Leap Motion, and Sony's Project Morpheus for PlayStation 4
    - "Scrubbable" network replays with rewind support and live time scrubbing
    - Visualize the memory footprint of game assets in an interactive tree map UI

[...]
Value:
Free
Rating: