A Dive into Classic Stardock Software - Part 1

Let's take a look at KeepSafe, BootSkin, and Tweak7

Thursday, February 11, 2021 by Tatiora | Discussion: Stardock Blog

Stardock has been around for a long time - for more years, in fact, than the age of our youngest employee (I’m writing it this way because I like to make the long-timers feel old. ). I’ve been around for a little over five years now, and sometimes I have fun diving back into history and looking at things we’ve done in the past. I’ve mapped the history of WindowBlinds, dove deep into the evolution of PC icons, taken an ‘over the years’ look at the Drengin from GalCiv III, and now I’m going to do it with some retired Stardock software. 

We are always adapting and updating our programs to better serve all of you and keep up with the world and technology as it changes. But, sometimes, a product outlives its usefulness and becomes discontinued. We’re going to take a look at a few of Stardock’s today!

KeepSafe

KeepSafe was a file protection and restoration system for small or mid-sized companies. It would keep backups of each file version of a specified file type or folder location. For people who worked on contracts, legal documents, graphics files, and so on, something like this would have been absolutely critical to ensure you didn’t lose valuable confidential work. 

When I go looking at older software to learn the history, I use the “Wayback Machine”, which takes snapshots of web urls over a period of time. I had to laugh - apparently, it took a snapshot of KeepSafe while it was in the process of being developed. It seems whoever was working on it didn’t want to use boring old lorem ipsum as a placeholder, haha!

From what I’m able to tell, we started selling KeepSafe somewhere around April 2005 and stopped selling it sometime in 2015. There will always be a need for backup software, but obviously our time and energy went elsewhere as we moved away from “ThinkDesk” and onto Object Desktop and other great programs. 

Need some backup protection for your PC? Our partners over at Ashampoo have you covered with Backup Pro 15.

BootSkin

BootSkin was a program that popped up sometime around 2003 and allowed Windows users to change their boot screens on Windows 2000 and XP (and, later, Vista). I’ll be frank here and say that I had no idea something like this was ever even a thing; I’d never felt the need to change the look of my boot screen, personally. 

Apparently there was a market for it, though, because BootSkin exists - and, at the time at least, it changed boot screens safely by not patching the Windows XP kernel or requiring the user to download replacement kernels.

There were a couple of advantages to BootSkin. First, boot screens that used it were typically under 20K compared to other boot screen programs whose files were usually over 2 megabytes. Additionally, there was no risk of having your system unable to boot because of a corrupted file or service pack.

Also, BootSkin was completely free. There isn’t really a program to replace it in our catalog because it’s not needed anymore, but it maintains an honorary space on our software landing page with a few other older programs.

Speaking of which, let’s cover our last one for this week!

Tweak7

Tweak7’s tagline was “Optimize the performance and behavior of your Windows 7 machine!” I’m guessing I don’t need to explain why we don’t see this one anymore, haha! Tweak7 launched sometime back in 2009 and stuck around as long as Windows 7 machines were mostly relevant. 

The program was designed to be the ultimate “one stop tweaking utility” for Windows 7 users. You could adjust security features, hunt down and turn off unwanted programs that started when you booted your PC up, check that your display drivers were up to date, and more.

Unlike other tools, Tweak7 automatically prompted recommendations for enhancements and offered easy one-click updates to configuration changes that were usually rather complex. It was designed to be completely safe to use and easy to roll back changes in case you didn’t like it.  The idea was to let users freely experiment with different settings without disabling their computers.

The software programs above aren’t the only ones that we’ve retired; I have plenty more to talk about next time! 

How long have you been using Stardock software, and did you ever try any of these?

TheRealFEI
Reply #1 Wednesday, March 3, 2021 12:30 AM

I thought BootSkin died out because StarDock couldn't figure out a way to change the boot background on Win 7 (and that it was free/was not monetized)? I would still love to use something like this to add the final touches to a fully customized system if it exists for Win7 and later.

Anybody have links to these programs?

Edit: Linkage here to program list but no downloads

 

 

zoobabe
Reply #2 Wednesday, March 3, 2021 7:45 PM

I used Bootskin and Tweak 7 absolutely. I've been a subscriber for, since 2002, I just looked.

I liked B.U.G.S too, would love to see that updated to run in w10. Yeah I know I can emulate it but I've gotten lazy in my old age, I don't root and rom my phone anymore either.

All software dls are in your account for individual sw.

FWIW , I have never had SD manager do a very good job of keeping stuff updated, it just never works for me.

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