- Faster and more convenient access to colorization options.
Clicking the arrow symbol at the bottom of the Themes tab in Preferences now slides the colorization options in. This allows quick experimentation with the settings and instant previews without having to constantly open and close the Color Settings dialog.
- New and improved colorization options.
Added alternative hue shifting colorization method and text can now be optionally colorized as well.
The old Tint colorization method first converts an image to grayscale then applies a tint to the image. Blacks remain black but Whites become tinted with the new color. Original color information is lost.
The new Hue shift alternate colorization method first determines the dominant color of the image then shifts the hue of the whole image so that the new color becomes the dominant color. Unlike the tint method, Whites are also preserved along with Blacks, but all other colors are shifted as well.
Which method will work best for you depends on the theme and your own personal preferences, but at least now you have a choice!
- Wallpaper hot-track now works with the Windows 7 wallpaper slideshow.
The option to automatically colorize themes based on the dominant color of the current desktop background was introduced with v15.9, and just got a lot better with the new Hue colorization method.
Unfortunately it did not work with the way Windows 7 changed wallpapers in slide-show mode. Now it properly detects when Windows has changed the wallpaper and automatically adjusts the theme's colorization accordingly.
- If Theme Integration is enabled, colorizing a theme in WorkShelf now also colorizes it in NextSTART and vice-versa.
- New Battery module customization options.
The battery in the Battery Information dialog now displays using the currently selected style and glows with the dominant color of the module.
Charge percentage and run time can now also be optionally displayed outside the battery image itself, which allows the use of customized multi-state images such as the one below:
If you like the cartoon look above and would like to use it for your battery module, here is what you need to do:
1. Download the multiple-state PNG strip from HERE.
2. Unzip the PNG file.
3. Open WorkShelf Preferences and navigate to the Modules tab.
4. Select the Battery Monitor module.
5. Change the module style to vertical.
6. Click the Change Icon button.
7. Browse to the cartoon-battery.png file you extracted above (optionally, if you still have the containing folder open, just drag & drop the PNG strip to the icon preview panel).
8. Press OK to close the dialog and click on the 'Battery Monitor Settings' button.
9. Unselect the 'Overlap information on battery icon' setting.
- New 'Auto Backup Settings' internal command.
Internal commands are special commands that you can add as shortcuts to docks, the Shelf, NextSTART menus, hotspots and taskbar: Hibernate, Power Off Monitor, Empty Recycler, Show Start Menu, Language Bar, CD Control, Lookup IP address and over 80 more!
You can add shortcuts to internal commands by right-clicking a dock, Shelf or NextSTART menu, and then selecting 'Insert New Item' followed by 'Internal Command' from the context menu that pops up.
All the new 'Auto Backup Settings' internal command does by itself is make a backup of the settings without prompting the user for a filename. The filename is automatically generated based on the date and time, and the backup is stored in the default Backups folder. The internal command also sends a message to the other components of the suite to backup their settings (i.e.; if you run the internal command in WorkShelf a message is sent to NextSTART and vice-versa).
So, by itself the new internal command is just a convenient way to backup everything with a single click. It's when you combine it with the Alarm Manager introduced in v15.9 that it truly becomes useful:
The Winstep Alarm Manager is not a simple pop-up of reminders with audio abilities. It is, in fact, a full blown task scheduler with very flexible scheduling abilities.
Besides normal alarms, you can also make it run programs and/or internal commands at specified times. And it's this ability we will be using to our advantage.
So, open WorkShelf Preferences, go to the General tab, click the Manage Alarms button. Now click the 'New Alarm' button and add a new alarm looking something like this:
Up to you which schedule to use, but you should NOT make this a daily event, since 1) it would be overkill and 2) the Auto Backup internal command does NOT delete older backups automatically. You would soon have hundreds of backup files lying around.
So set it to run once a week or once a month. You should also disable the 'Wake the computer up if it's sleeping or hibernating' alarm setting, since this is not a critical operation that must be performed at that specific time. If the computer is sleeping or turned off when the Alarm fires - or would have fired - the event will simply be run as soon as possible.
- NextSTART taskbar is now also high-DPI aware.
With ever increasing screen resolutions and the arrival of 4K monitors, high-DPI systems are becoming a lot more common. Version 15.9 made Winstep applications fully high-DPI compatible, and since then we have been tweaking the existing high-DPI support to make it perfect.
Even though in previous versions you could adjust the size of the taskbar by increasing the size of the tasklist icons, this was not a perfect solution because things such as the spacing between icons and size of other taskbar items did not get proportionally increased, which made the taskbar look a bit 'cramped' on high DPI systems.
The NextSTART taskbar now automatically adjusts itself properly to the current system DPI by default. This is, of course, optional: you can always turn off this behavior in Preferences, if you prefer.
Taskbar at 100% DPI settings.
Taskbar at 150% DPI settings.
- Improved NextSTART taskbar overflow protection.
The NextSTART taskbar holds several individual elements (Start Button, Quick Launch icons, Running Applications, WorkShelf modules, System Notification icons, Clock button, etc...) and automatically resizes itself so everything fits... but there are, obviously, limits.
Automatically increasing the size of the taskbar on high-DPI systems also meant that the space available for all the elements in it became proportionally smaller. This can become a problem when you have lots of Quick Launch icons and/or start attaching WorkShelf desktop modules to the taskbar - a problem that only got worse with the new taskbar high-DPI awareness.
Version 15.9 began tackling this problem by limiting the size of the Quick Launch area to a user-defined percentage (30% by default) of the taskbar's width, automatically adding an expansion button whenever this limit would be exceeded.
Version 16.5 further improves on this by automatically decreasing the size of Quick Launch icons if and whenever necessary.
Taskbar at 100% DPI settings with Quick Launch section expanded.
Taskbar at 150% DPI settings with Quick Launch section expanded.
- Deleted Windows Quick Launch shortcuts are now automatically removed from the NextSTART taskbar.
- Added new 'Delete Quick Launch Shortcut' option to the right click context menu of Quick Launch hotspots that point to actual Windows Quick Launch shortcuts.
- Grouped task icons on the NextSTART taskbar now display the number of running instances on the icon itself rather than on the task button label.
- Pseudo-3D dock backgrounds like the Leopard theme no longer appear heavilly distorted at certain icon/icon reflection sizes.
- Always on top docks set to auto-hide for maximized applications will now only do so if they are not reserving screen space (maximized applications would not be overlapped by the dock in this case anyway) and will only auto-hide for full screen applications.
- The dock would keep bouncing up and down if 'Auto hide for maximized applications' was enabled and the user tried to drag a shortcut from a maximized window into the dock.
- The 'Auto Hide at Startup' option could sometimes fail to hide the dock, leaving it visible and in an unresponsive state until you activated it with a screen edge bump.
- The Capture Desktop feature can now save screenshots in either JPG or PNG formats.
This is a head's up to Tom McNamara, a Senior Editor at Cnet's Download.com who felt the inability to save screenshots as PNG files was important enough to mention it as one of the few Cons on his review of the Winstep Nexus dock. Here you go, Tom, you can scratch that one off now. :)
- Themes are now validated when restoring from old backups so the user doesn't end up with a blank theme if the theme used by the backup was deleted in the mean time.
- URLs dragged from all Internet browsers will now use the web page title as the shortcut's label instead of the web site address.
- The Winstep Update Manager failed to download updates with a 'File Size Mismatch' error on East Asian systems.
- ... many other performance and stability improvements! Please see complete change log below...