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The Minimalist’s Start Menu

If you like a simple and clean Windows experience, Start11 provides the flexibility for your perfect Start Menu

Thursday, October 12, 2023 by BradSams | Discussion: Software Blog

The Windows Start menu has evolved considerably during the past couple of decades. What is typically considered the focal point of the operating system and the home to all of your apps, has gone from an app launcher to a productivity hub filled with apps, and documents, to a place that shows advertisements.

While Start11 makes it easy to remove unwanted content like advertisements, in my own use, I have gravitated to a minimalist model for my Start menu. Currently, I am running the Windows 10 style but with nearly everything removed.

Like many who are reading this post, the Start Menu has become less of a focus as I try to use keyboard shortcuts as much as humanly possible. This means that I hit the Windows key, type the app or setting that I need, and then use arrow keys to open what I need.

For those who like something that is centered on their taskbar, I have also been using the Windows 11 style but removed all apps and kept deep links to the drives on my PC and in the cloud. This makes it easy to navigate to my content stored locally or in the cloud without having to take my hand off my keyboard which means faster navigation and a better workflow.

The Start menu is a critical part of the Windows operating system and everyone has their own method for how they interact with the app hub. For some, it’s all about the customization and making it a truly unique experience. But for many others, it’s about keeping it simplified so that what is in the Start menu doesn’t get in the way of the work you are trying to get done.

Start11 is easily the most advanced and customizable Start menu replacement available today. If you haven’t experienced it yet, you can download a free trial here or if you are looking for the best value, Object Desktop has all of our popular apps included for one low price.

Groupy 2.12 Is Now Available with Enhanced Compatibility and Improved Translations

Groupy 2.12 is now available with enhancements to app compatibility, translations, saved groups, and more.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023 by BradSams | Discussion: Groupy News

Today we are releasing an update for Groupy 2 that brings with it a plethora of improvements that enhance compatibility with Stardock and third-party applications, updates to translations, and a lot more. The update is rolling out now but you can manually search for an update by opening the Groupy 2 configuration window, clicking the About tab, and then clicking Check Now.

Groupy 2 is the only way to add tabs to all of your favorite applications and with this update, there are dozens of bugs being squashed, updated translations, improvements to compatibility with WindowBlinds, Fancy Zones, and a lot more. You can view the entire changelog here.

In addition to bug fixes and compatibility improvements, a significant amount of effort has gone into how groups are saved, opened, and displayed. The result of this effort is improved consistency when opening up previously saved groups, especially when working with various web browsers.

Like all of our products, if you want to try out updates before they are released to help influence what features and bugs get prioritized – join our beta program. And if you have any feedback, you can find the Groupy 2 community in our forums.

If you haven’t tried Groupy 2 yet, you can download a free trial to experience how adding tabs to all of your favorite applications will transform your workflow forever. And if you are looking for the best value, you can grab all of our productivity apps with Object Desktop.

Join the Stardock Software Discord!

Let's talk about Windows

Friday, September 8, 2023 by BradSams | Discussion: CursorFX

As we head into the fall, Stardock Software is planning to release a couple of new experiences as well as significant updates for some of our essential apps. Getting your feedback to help shape our existing and future products is a core part of our mission to make Windows more personal and productive.

We know that many of the users of Stardock’s apps also use Discord and if this sounds like you, make sure to head on over to our server. While the server has been around for some time and is already full of Windows enthusiasts talking about Windows 11, customization, and our apps, if you haven’t ever checked it out, now is a good time to dive.

 

 

Why should you come to hang out with us? In addition to being able to provide feedback about our current apps, updates, and services, it’s the easiest way to communicate directly with our development and support team. It's also a great place to talk about the changes that are coming to Windows from the Insider program as well.

The Windows enthusiast community is a core part of Stardock’s identity and there is no better place to show off your desktop, Start menu, or your killer Fences layout. And of course, if you are a fan of our games, there is a very healthy discussion happening on Discord too.

We hope that you join us in our Discord server and if that’s not for you, you can also hang out in our very active forums or on social media like Twitter/X, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

 

A Professional Desktop is an Organized Desktop

Keeping your desktop organized is just as important as your desk.

Thursday, August 31, 2023 by BradSams | Discussion: Fences News

“The physical environment of the workplace has a significant effect on the way that we work. When our space is a mess, so are we” – Harvard Business Review

If you walk into an office and see papers, folders, and yesterday’s lunch on a desk, it leaves a lasting impression that the user may not be organized. And depending on their profession, this can have a serious impact on their bottom line. After all, if a lawyer, who is billing by the minute, has to spend time looking for your file on their messy desk, do you want to be paying for that?

Just as a cluttered desk can give off a sensation of disorganization, a cluttered desktop on your computer can create the same image. Especially today when many business interactions take place virtually, colleagues, patients, or clients might get a glimpse of your desktop during screen-sharing sessions.

And what do they see? Numerous app icons scattered randomly, dozens of files filling up the entire desktop or worse, client names that should have not been exposed. And having to tell everyone on the call “I know it’s somewhere here on the desktop” is not going to win you any favors as you drag the meeting out longer than it needs to be.

During the past few months, we have been talking with clients about how they use Fences and more importantly, why they are using Fences. Time and time again we hear a similar narrative playing out, “Fences is saving our employees time” by keeping desktops organized.

And it’s not just rank-and-file employees, it's surgeons, lawyers, and even judges who are using Fences to keep their content organized.

Fences 4 is the industry standard when it comes to organizing desktops for the individual and across your entire environment. With advanced controls that make it easy to deploy standard configurations to all desktops or a variety of configurations based on a user profile, Fences is designed for large and small deployments.

And it makes your desktop look professional – no longer is it an unorganized mess of apps and files, but a clean workspace intelligently organized by automatic rules or by the user.

Time is the most valuable commodity we have and when you are spending time trying to figure out where you left that file, either on your desk, or your desktop, it can negatively affect your ability to get a client a file that they need, finish up a task to meet a deadline, or quite simply, let you leave the office a little earlier.

If you haven’t tried Fences 4 yet, you can do so for free for 30 days. And for enterprise customers, know that Fences is supported with robust deployment tooling and functionality that makes it easy to put a standard configuration on every endpoint.

 

How to Standardize the Windows 10 and Windows 11 Desktop

Fences 4 and Start11 lead the Industry for Standardization

Wednesday, August 16, 2023 by BradSams | Discussion: Object Desktop News

The desktop is a complicated and wonderful place in the world of Windows. It’s the centerpiece of productivity in Windows 10 and 11 but it’s also a dumping ground for unfinished tasks, icons that open critical applications, and widgets that either try to entertain or provide information to improve your workflows.

There are various ways to try and standardize your desktops, from using group policy workflows that won’t fully accomplish what you are trying to do, to trying to lock down accounts to stop the creation process from happening at all. But the reality is that most users need a middle ground, a solution that allows you to standardize the desktop but also allows the user some flexibility to utilize the desktop as it has been designed for several decades.

We have spent the last few months diving deep into conversations with clients about how they are using our various tools to standardize the desktops within their environment. While no two deployments are ever the same, a common theme has emerged around IT deploying a set of managed experiences for the desktop but also allowing the user to add and manipulate their own icons too.

But what do we mean by a standardized desktop?

We mean that no matter the Windows endpoint, the critical applications will always be in the same location on the desktop, and with Fences, you can lock down those icons so that the user cannot move or remove them either.

As an example, we have clients who use Fences to deploy standardized configurations in hospitals so that each department will have a common desktop experience. Meaning, Radiology, as an example, will always have its critical icons in a red fence in the top right corner of the desktop whereas Ophthalmology has its critical icons in a blue fence in the same location - Fences has the ability to support complex deployment scenarios.

With Fences, you can standardize the desktop experience based on who is logging into the endpoint; it’s a powerful tool that provides IT control over how the desktop functions. Think of it this way, if there is something you want to do with icons on the desktop, Fences is the premier solution to handle this experience.

Whether it's locking down the desktop and icons so that they can't be moved/deleted like a kiosk or allowing some icons to be manipulated and others to be fixed in place, Fences is being used by thousands of clients to do just this.

And for the full standardization experience, when paired with Start11, it doesn’t matter if it’s Windows 10, Windows 11, Windows Server, or an older version of the OS, our StartX line of products can make every version of Windows look identical.

For IT, this means reduced training time spent with each new version of Windows that is released, less time spent updating documentation, and more time spent focused on productivity rather than managing desktops. And for the user, this means less time spent looking for files or applications and more time spent knocking out tasks.

Fences 4 and Start11 are being used by hundreds of thousands of users every day and have become trusted tools by IT professionals for managing the Windows desktop experience. You can learn more about Fences 4 and Start11 on the respective app pages and if you are interested in learning more about these tools and how we can assist with large scale deployments, reach out to us at corpsales@stardock.com.

Releasing Multiplicity v3.6 with Windows 11 Improvements, New Language Support

The best wireless KVM just got better

Wednesday, July 26, 2023 by BradSams | Discussion: Multiplicity

Multiplicity 3.6 is now available for download and with this release comes improvements for support of Windows 11 endpoints as well as adding new translations. To check for updates, open the Multiplicity configuration panel and click “Check for updates” in the about section.

With this release, users on Windows 11 will see performance improvements to secondary devices. Specifically, when a computer is rebooted, the connection will be restored faster and with improved consistency.

In addition to the performance improvements for Windows 11 users, we are adding new language support as well. With this release, Spanish, French, German, traditional and simplified Chinese, Korean, Russian, Portuguese Brazil and Japanese, are now available.

Multiplicity allows you to control multiple PCs with a single mouse and keyboard. Known as a wireless KVM, Multiplicity allows you to replace expensive hardware solutions with a highly customizable software solution that makes working across multiple devices a simple process.

After installing this update, if you encounter any issues, make sure to check out our support documents or join the conversation in our forums.

If you haven’t tried Multiplicity yet, you can download a fully featured trial for 30 days here. And if you are a looking for the best of Stardock’s apps, Multiplicity is included on Object Desktop too.  

Groupy 2.1 Brings New Functionality, Availability to Steam

Get Groupy 2 on Steam Today!

Wednesday, July 19, 2023 by BradSams | Discussion: WinCustomize News

Stardock released an update for Groupy 2 that delivers new functionality and we also released the application on Steam today. 

With this release, Groupy is adds a couple of enhancements that will further refine the experience. You can find the full changelog here but one update worth highlighting is that you can now easily re-open accidentally closed File Explorer tabs within Groupy.

If you accidentally close a tab, you can click the down arrow at the end of the Groupy tab bar, highlight “reopen closed tab” and then select the tab that was previously closed to open it back up into its previous state.

Along with this new feature, there is a new option for Explorer windows - if it should open in the current frame or a new one. And under advanced tab options, you can turn off the down arrow in the Groupy bar as well.

With this release, we also squashed a bunch of bugs. If you run into any issues with this build, make sure to check out our support documentation or you can join the conversation in our forums.

 

Get Groupy on Steam  |  Get Groupy on Stardock

If you would like to try Groupy out, you can download a free trial on the app page and if you are looking for the greatest value and access to our best apps, check out Object Desktop.

Releasing Fences 4.21 with Performance Improvements

Download is available now

Monday, July 17, 2023 by BradSams | Discussion: Fences News

Today we are releasing a new update for Fences 4, bringing with it some significant improvements and enhancements. If you're eager to get your hands on the latest version, the update is currently being rolled out and can be manually checked for by accessing the Fences 4 configuration panel. Simply navigate to "About" and select "Check for Updates."

With this update, one of the notable changes is the faster startup time for Fences 4, making it more efficient and responsive when you use it. Moreover, we've made improvements to the scrollbar within fences, which should result in a smoother and more seamless experience while navigating.

As part of our commitment to delivering a reliable product, we've also addressed several bugs that were reported, ensuring a more stable and trouble-free experience for all users. For a detailed list of all the changes included in this release, you can refer to the complete changelog, where you'll find an overview of the updates and fixes implemented.

Fences 4 is the best way to keep your desktop organized. With powerful features that automatically sort files into a fence on your desktop to Folder Portals allow you to mirror any folder to your desktop, once you experience Fences, it will quickly become a core part of your workflow.

After installing this update, if you run into any bugs, make sure to let us know by either reaching out to support or joining the conversation in our forums.

And if you haven’t tried Fences 4 yet, you can download a free trial or if you are looking for the ultimate Stardock bundle, make sure to check out Object Desktop too.

Start11 v1.46 Arrives with Quality-of-Life Updates

Making it easier to close a window

Tuesday, June 27, 2023 by BradSams | Discussion: Start News

Today we released Start11 v1.46 with a new feature that makes it easier to close a single window for Windows 11 users. The update is rolling out now and you can check for it manually by opening the Start11 settings panel -> about -> check now.

Currently with Windows 11, by default, when you right-click on a taskbar icon, you have the option to “Close all windows on this display” but what if you only want to close one window, such as when you using a browser? With the update that is rolling out now, we have updated the option, based on the feedback of our users, to only close the window that is actively selected from the taskbar.

         Start11                                              vs                              Windows 11

This is a small change but the feedback from our users was clear that this is the preferred option. This functionality works with any app where multiple windows are open (File Explorer, Paint, Notepad, etc.) and is a small, but meaningful, quality-of-life improvement.

In addition to the new feature, there are enhancements to how the Windows key functions including the ability to enable a block when a full-screen application is running and enhancements for when the foreground app is elevated.

Along with the updates, there are a plethora of bug fixes that address edge-case scenarios too.

If you haven’t tried Start11 yet, you can download a free trial and if you are looking for the ultimate Stardock bundle, make sure to check out Object Desktop too.

Groupy 2 is Ready for Enterprise Customers

New features and advanced licensing management make deployments easy.

Monday, June 19, 2023 by BradSams | Discussion: CursorFX

Groupy 2 is the only application that lets you add tabs to all of your favorite applications. From productivity tools like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, to creative apps like Photoshop, Premier, and many more. And with Groupy 2 freshly minting its general release, it’s now ready for deployment for our corporate customers.

We have heard how Groupy is used in various ways while talking with clients about what features should be incorporated into Groupy 2. We have seen Groupy used to arrange open windows for legal clients to organize a grouping by a specific client or research topic. And in HR, keeping windows grouped that contain sensitive information helps reduce accidental exposure.

Groupy 2’s interface is easy to use and follows the same design methodologies that are used by web browsers. If you know how to use the tab experience in Chrome or Edge, Groupy 2 will be easy to adopt into your workflow.

And like all of our business products, Groupy 2 has advanced tooling to make it easier to deploy our products to your endpoints including silent installs and activations. And on the licensing side, it’s easy to centrally manage your active installs with remote and local deactivation for when you need to free up an activation.

When we revamped our app pages earlier this year, we made it significantly easier to see how other companies are using our products to improve the productivity and functionality of their endpoints. Every business page now contains a “how it’s used section” that best illustrates the various ways our products are being used today.

Ready to give Groupy 2 a try? Head on over to the app page where you can learn more about Groupy 2 and also download a free trial. And if you need help with a larger deployment, we are here to help.

 

 




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