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Winstep Xtreme v18.5 Released!

June 1, 2018




An integrated workspace environment, Winstep Xtreme is a powerful suite of applications that merge incredible usability and performance with breathtaking eye candy.

Windows 10 Ready Xtreme runs on the 32 and 64 bit versions of Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8.x and 10.

v18.5 is once again a massive release, focusing on both eye candy and on adding lots of new functionality. The user interface has been reorganized, making finding settings more intuitive and the selection of mouseover, launch, attention and delete effects easier because effects can now be visualized immediately.


What's New? Highlighted Features:


  • Docks can now be accessed from NextSTART.

  • You can now conveniently open and activate WorkShelf docks from icons in the Quick Launch area of the NextSTART taskbar, from NextSTART hotspots and even from NextSTART menus.


    Because the taskbar is normally always visible and takes very little space on the screen, instead of (or besides) categorizing applications into sub-docks of the main dock you can now open individual docks directly from Quick Launch buttons in the NextSTART taskbar with a single click - or you can have your main dock always hidden and pop up only when you click a Quick Launch button, which virtually eliminates accidental dock activations.

    The first step to access a dock from NextSTART is to create it first in the Docks and Shelves tab of WorkShelf Preferences. You should also give it a meaningful name so you can easily identify it later in NextSTART. Docks can be named either directly in the Docks and Shelves tab, in the Contents tab of the dock's properties dialog or by renaming the dock's control icon.

    The second step is to decide whether you want this new dock to be always hidden in WorkShelf or not. WorkShelf will show all active docks when it starts up, so if you only want your dock to pop up when you click on a Quick Launch button in NextSTART and remain hidden at all other times, then you should disable it by clearing the 'Enabled' setting.


    There are several ways to add a new Quick Launch button that invokes your new dock. The quickest is to right click on the Quick Launch are of the taskbar and select 'Add New Quick Launch Item' from the context menu that pops up, then 'Dock'. This will open a sub-menu showing all the available docks in WorkShelf, identified by name (which is why it is so important to properly name your new dock first).


    You can now click on the new Quick Launch button you just created to show or activate your dock. What happens next depends on whether the dock is enabled in WorkShelf or not.

    If the dock is enabled, then clicking on the Quick Launch button will be the same as bumping the screen edge to activate that dock - it will either open it, if currently hidden on a screen edge, or bring it forward if already visible. You can make the dock show if hidden and hide if visible by enabling the 'Activation acts as a toggle' setting in the Behavior tab of that dock's properties panel, and you can make it ignore screen edge bumps when docked (i.e.; only activate from NextSTART) by setting the dock's hotkey to 'NextSTART Only (disable edge activation)' in the Activation Settings dialog of that dock.

    If, however, the dock is disabled in WorkShelf, then it will now pop up right above your mouse pointer and act like a sub-dock. Just like sub-docks, you can make it close automatically by clicking anywhere else on the screen.

  • Media Player enhanced functionality.

  • The Media Player internal command first introduced in v18.3 adds a very quick, convenient and unobtrusive way to listen to your favorite musics at the click of a button without having to open a full blown media player. It became such a popular feature that is now part of the default dock on new installations.


    Unfortunately the handling of playlists for both the Media Player and the built-in Alarms was complicated and cumbersome. This new release solves all this: playlists are now automatically saved and support drag and drop of .m3u files, media files and even of folders containing audio files. You can drop these directly on the Media Player icon too, and it will play them automatically.

    The Media Control bar now displays the current volume level and support for multimedia keys was added to the Media Player - you can even use the built-in multimedia internal commands to control the Media Player. The music being played and respective playlist now also appear in the icon's label and balloon tooltip.

  • New Delete Item effect category and effect animations.

  • A new Delete Item category was added to the already existing Mouseover, Launch and Attention effect categories.


    Previously when you deleted an item it would play the explosion animation by default. This effect could be customized with an animated icon, but now you can select one of 22 cool predefined effect animations to play when you delete an item from a dock or the Shelf.

  • Immediate Effect visualisation in Preferences.

  • Rather than selecting an effect using mostly meaningless names (effectively forcing you to click Apply each time), the Effects tab in Preferences now gives you a visual preview of what each effect looks like.


    You can press the arrows to browse/select the different effects one by one or you can click the icon to open the Effects Panel and visualize them all at once.

  • Set all effect categories from same panel.

  • The effects panel allows you to visualize all available effects at once, select one and even configure it.


    Previously you had to open a different panel for each of the effect categories. Now you can select the active effect for all the categories without having to exit the panel.

  • New Alarm overlays.

  • Variety is the spice of life, as they say. Besides the default glass reflection, you can now select between 18 different cool overlays for your alarm reminders, or even set the alarms to use a random overlay each time.


    In addition to this the alarm reminders can now also optionally feature an animated rain drop effect with associated sound effects.


    Alarm reminders can be toggled between full screen and window mode by double clicking them and changes to settings (but not the alarms themselves) can now be canceled.

  • Performance improvements.

  • Mousing over magnifying docks was made about 25% less CPU intensive by limiting the magnify animation frame rate to the refresh rate of the monitor. It works a bit like enabling Vsync for games.


    The performance of animated icons in magnifying icons has also been enhanced a bit by not rendering icon reflections when they are not visible.

  • New 'Grab focus when activated' setting.

  • User can disable this new setting, which is enabled by default, to prevent the dock from becoming the foreground window when activated. Please not that doing so also prevents from navigating the dock with the keyboard until the dock is clicked on.

  • New 'Accept drag and drop icon customization only when ALT key is pressed' setting.

  • Users can quickly customize icons in the dock and Shelf simply by dropping an ICO, PNG or TIF file into them (the icon will flash slowly to let you know what is going to happen). This, however, can conflict with the functionality of opening an image file with a specific application by dragging and dropping it into the application's icon.

    By enabling this setting, icons will only be customized if the ALT shift is pressed when you drop an image file into the icon (icon flashes slowly), and the application will open the image file otherwise (icon flashes rapidly).

  • New 'Show Minimized Applications Only' setting.

  • When enabled docks showing running applications only show applications that are currently minimized, and the buttons from those applications are removed from the taskbar. This way only 'active' applications appear in the taskbar and only minimized applications appear on the dock.

  • Hidden dock showing running applications now pop up already up-to-date.

  • When a hidden dock showing running applications is activated, the list of running applications in it now already appears up-to-date, instead of the dock re-synching only AFTER the pop up animation.

  • Fixed dropping files into running applications on the left side of the dock.

  • If 'Combine dock icons with running applications' was enabled, dragging a document over an icon on the left side of the dock (i.e.; one with a running indicator) was NOT bringing the associated window/application forward, forcing the user to use ALT+Tab instead.

  • Fixed icon text looking bad when scrolling Shelf tabs with a light background.

  • Many other performance and stability improvements! Please see complete change log below...


WorkShelf v18.5 complete change log:


  • Updated Greek language file.
  • Updated Indonesian language file.
  • Updated Chinese Simplified language file.
  • Updated Portuguese language file.
  • Updated Portuguese (Brazil) language file.
  • You can now drag & drop multiple .m3u playlist files into the Audio Files listbox in the Audio tab of the Alarm Manager and the Media Player Settings dialog. The audio files in the playlist are automatically retrieved and added to the currently selected playlist in the Playlists listbox.
  • You can now drag & drop multiple .m3u playlist files into the Playlists listbox in the Audio tab of the Alarm Manager and the Media Player settings dialog. This automatically creates equivalent playlists in the Playlists listbox.
  • You can now drag & drop multiple folders into the Audio Files listbox in the Audio tab of the Alarm Manager and the Media Player Settings dialog. The audio files in the folders are automatically retrieved and added to the currently selected playlist in the Playlists listbox.
  • You can now drag & drop multiple folders into the Playlists listbox in the Audio tab of the Alarm Manager and the Media Player settings dialog. This automatically creates playlists with the name of those folders in the Playlists listbox and adds to each of those playlists the audio files inside each of the respective folders.
  • Removed 'Save' and 'Save As' buttons from the Audio tab of the Alarm Manager and the Media Player settings dialog. Playlists and their contents are now automatically saved. When clicking the New button, the application immediately asks for the name of the new playlist.
  • Clicking on a Playlist in the Media Player Settings dialog now selects that playlist for playing.
  • Clicking on the Media Player icon when the audio is paused now automatically restarts the audio without opening the media control bar.
  • Increased the horizontal size of the Playlist and Audio list boxes and moved the control buttons to the bottom in the Audio tab of the Alarm Manager and the Media Player settings dialog.
  • The Media Player icon in the Media Player Settings dialog doesn't glow when playing audio if the 'Glow when playing' setting is disabled.
  • Added another layer of redundancy to initial Weather module GEOIP localization by adding suport for Weather.com's Search API.
  • Added new user definable URL for Weather.com's Search API to the Advanced dialog of the Weather Settings panel and also a warning not to change those values unless requested to do so.
  • Volume slider in the Media Player Settings panel now affects the volume in real time if the Media Player is currently playing audio.
  • The Media Player no longer resets the audio after pressing OK in the Media Player settings dialog, unless changes have been made to playlists or another audio file has been selected.
  • Mouseover, Launch and Attention effects can now all be selected and set in the Effects panel without having to close the panel first.
  • The Effects tab in the Dock and Shelf Properties dialogs now display a visual representation of the currently selected Mouseover, Launch and Attention effects. Different effects can be selected and visualized by clicking on the arrows or through the Effects panel, accessible by clicking on the icon itself.
  • Moved the 'Edge Bump Settings' and 'Edge Swipe Settings' buttons in the dock and Shelf Behavior tabs to the Activation Setttings dialog.
  • Added the 'Show Balloon Tooltip...' settings to the 'More Options' dialogs of the dock and Shelf Behavior tabs.
  • Moved the 'Blur Settings' button from the Effects tab to the Appearance tab.
  • Added 'Disable dock scaling on hight DPI settings' and 'Disable menu scaling on high DPI settings' options to the Appearance tab.
  • Moved the 'Edge Bump Settings' and 'Edge Slide Settings' buttons from the Behavior tab to the Activation Settings dialog.
  • Moved the 'Full Screen Exclusion List' button to the Activation Settings dialog.
  • Moved the 'Auto-hide for maximized applications wehn always on top' from the Position to the Behavior tab.
  • Removed the 'Bring dock forward...' settings from the Position tab since they are duplicated in the Activation Settings dialog.
  • Added new 'Grab focus when activated' setting (enabled by default) to the Activation Settings dialog so users can make the dock NOT grab the focus when activated.
  • Changed the timings of the 'Duration' setting for the Sonic Boom effect.
  • The Unhandled Exception Manager now lists nested exceptions and offers more information for Access Violation errors.
  • Added new 'Playlists' right click context menu option to the Media Player internal command, allowing an existing playlist to be selected and played without having to open the Media Player Settings panel.
  • Speeded up a bit the rendering of animated icons on magnifying docks with icon reflections by not rebuilding the reflections when the icon is magnified (since the reflections would never be seen anyway).
  • Added new 'Delete Effect' category, with 22 different effects available to play when an icon is deleted.
  • Added new 'Delete Effect' category to the right click 'Effects' context menu.
  • Added new 'Accept drag and drop icon customization only when ALT key is pressed' setting to the 'More Options' dialog of the Behavior tab in Preferences. Normally dropping a PNG, ICO or TIF file into a dock item will customize the icon of that item with the dropped image, but because documents can also be launched with a specific application by dropping them into an item, enabling this setting allows the opening of PNG, TIF and ICO files instead unless the ALT key is pressed.
  • Added new 'MoonZodiacSignColor' setting to set the color of the zodiac sign displayed on the desktop moon module.
  • Added new 'Show Minimized Applications Only' setting. When enabled docks showing running applications only show applications that are currently minimized, and the buttons from those applications are removed from the taskbar. This way 'active' applications appear in the taskbar and currently minimized applications appear on the dock.
  • When a hidden dock showing running applications is activated, the list of running applications in it now already appears up-to-date, instead of the dock re-synching only AFTER the activation animation.
  • You can now drag and drop m3u playlist files and audio files directly into the Media Player icon.
  • The Media Player Control Bar now also displays the current audio volume. Volume can be directly adjusted when the bar is open via the mouse scrollwheel (or now the media control keys on the keyboard).
  • Added several optional overlays to the Alarm Reminder window besides the default glass reflection: water drops, condensation, frost, ice, dirt, broken glass, flare, rainbow, christmas and halloween. Glass reflections can now also be disabled by setting the overlay to 'None'.
  • When using drag & drop the insertion point now only appears when the mouse pointer is moved into an area in-between icons. This makes opening documents by dropping them directly into an application icon and customizing icons by dropping PNG files a little less cumbersome.
  • Added optional 'Rain Effect' to LCD Alarms.
  • The Media Player icon now flashes a subtle 'Pause' symbol when paused.
  • The name of each dock can now be set in the Contents tab of the Dock Properties dialog for that dock.
  • Docks can now be invoked or activated from NextSTART. Invoking a disabled dock from NextSTART opens that dock next to the mouse pointer and makes it behave like a sub-dock.
  • The Alarm Manager now displays 'No Alarms Defined' in the alarms list when no alarms have been defined yet.
  • Added Cancel button to the Alarm Manager dialog. Only changes to settings can be canceled, not changes to the alarms themselves.
  • Renaming a playlist now automatically updates all pointers to the old file name in the alarms and the Media Player.
  • Editing an alarm with an audio file now displays the end of the audio filename in the 'Play Audio File' field instead of the beginning, to make it easier to recognize which playlist or audio file that alarm is associated to.
  • Added new 'NextSTART Only (disable edge activation)' option to a dock's activation hotkey. When the hotkey is set to this option the only way to activate a hidden dock is via a NextSTART hotspot or menu entry associated to that dock.
  • LCD Alarms now remember their initial positions when toggling between window and Full Screen.
  • A docked Shelf no longer collapses automatically if the mouse pointer is between it and the edge of the screen.
  • WsMMPlay.exe is now launched ansynchronously whenever it's not already running and the application needs to play a media file - this prevents the application from temporarily blocking while Windows is busy launching the media player
  • The dialog was not being notified when audio had stopped playing after pressing the Play button in the Media Player Settings dialog.
  • Fixed some potential form painting issues when moving the volume slider in the Media Player Settings panel.
  • Fixed issue where icon label text would look terrible while scrolling the Shelf when using a light background theme.
  • Alarms action description and activation dates in the Alarm Manager could be wrong if the alarms were not sorted by creation date.
  • The Location text box in the Moon Phase Settings dialog was limited to 12 characters.
  • Desktop Moon module was showing the wrong zodiac image.
  • If 'Combine dock icons with running applications' was enabled, dragging a document over an icon on the left side of the dock (i.e.; one with a running indicator) was NOT bringing the associated window/application forward, forcing you to use ALT+Tab instead.
  • The LED lights in the Glossy Black Alarm Bezel did not appear centered horizontally when the Alarm was resized.
  • Alarm Bezel previews did not fit entirely in the preview box when their size was set to 120%.
  • The number of days in the trial version was only being updated when the application was restarted.
  • Alarm Manager tab headers were not being translated.
  • Editing a Folder type tab in the Shelf with the Tab Properties Editor was reseting the name of the tab to 'Folder'.
  • Attention effect was not playing on some docks.
  • Fixed issues where settings existing on more than one tab in Preferences where not being carried over when switching tabs if the User Interface slide animation was enabled.
  • The application's small control window, which should never be visible, would sometimes appear on the user's desktop, perhaps by interference of a 3rd party application. It has now also been moved outside the viewable area.
  • In Windows 10 the application could crash with an Access Violation error if mousing over a tab that had not yet finished rendering all the icons - when that happend some icons would also appear as a 'blank document' icon.


NextSTART v18.5 complete change log:


  • Updated Greek language file.
  • Updated Indonesian language file.
  • Updated Chinese Simplified language file.
  • Updated Portuguese language file.
  • Updated Portuguese (Brazil) language file.
  • The Unhandled Exception Manager now lists nested exceptions and offers more information for Access Violation errors.
  • Removed the 'Force Shutdown' and 'Force Power Off' legacy settings from the More Options dialog in Preferences.
  • Added new item type to invoke WorkShelf docks. WorkShelf docks can now be invoked/activated directly from NextSTART through hotspot buttons on the desktop, Quick Launch buttons in the taskbar, and even directly from menus
  • It was possible to exceed the maximum number of allowed hotspots by using the 'Pin to Taskbar' option, which would result in an Access Violation error.
  • The number of days in the trial version was only being updated when the application was restarted.
  • The 'Notification Area Icons' option in the right click context menu of the taskbar clock button was no longer working in Windows 10 since this Windows version does not allow direct access. Under Windows 10 it now opens the Windows Taskbar Settings panel instead.
  • Fixed issue where icons and labels on desktop hotspot buttons could suddenly become misaligned.
  • Quick-Launch hotspots added via the right-click menu were not properly setting the group name to 'Default'.

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