New feature, bug fixes, and more.
Tuesday, January 30, 2024 by BradSams | Discussion: Start News
Today we are releasing a new build of Start11 v2, version 2.05, that introduces one new feature along with a smattering of bug fixes. The update is rolling out now for anyone with Start11 v2 installed and it can also be accessed from your download page too.
New in this release is an enhancement to the items you can pin to the new Start menu styles. We have added the option to pin a website directly to the Start menu app canvas which allows you to easily deep-link content from your menu.
The way we use this feature at Stardock, is that we create web-links to many of our key dashboards on Jira and PowerBI. It’s a small enhancement but one that continues to make Start11 v2 the most advanced Start menu experience for Windows 10 and 11.
If you want to grab the latest update right now, you can open Start 11 v2 and have it search for updates. You can do this by right clicking on your taskbar, click “Configure Start11”, click “About” and then “Check Now”.
If you run into any issues with this release, make sure to let us know in our forums as we monitor the feedback closely and will try to triage any issues as they arise.
For those who haven’t tried Start11 v2 yet, you can learn more about the app here and also download a free trial. And if you are looking for the best value, check out Object Desktop as it contains all of our best apps for one low price.
The Best Start Menu Experience Heads to Steam
Wednesday, January 10, 2024 by BradSams | Discussion: Start News
Start11 v2 is the most advanced Start experience for Windows and we are happy to announce that we are bringing the application to Steam. You can head on over to the page and add it to your Wishlist to be notified when the application becomes available.
When we released Start11 v2 late last year, our goal was to find new and innovative ways to bring features and functionality to Windows. If Start11 v1 was about bringing back missing features from Windows, v2 was about extending the functionality while enabling truly personalized Start menu experiences with App Canvas.
Along with the new Start menu features, the taskbar has new functionality that is worth exploring. With v2, you can now pin a file, folder, or create a folder menu, for the taskbar. While this sounds like a simple addition, pinning the Downloads folder to the taskbar makes it significantly easier to access one of the most frequently used folders in Windows.
With Start11 v2 on Steam, we will offer both single and multi-device options, much like we did with Start11 v1.
With Start11 v2 headed to Steam, we will soon also make Fences 5 available as well. But as always, you can purchase both apps today directly on Stardock or for the best value, Object Desktop has both applications included as well as many other great apps like Groupy 2 and WindowBlinds 11.
New translations are here and lots of bug fixes too
Tuesday, November 21, 2023 by BradSams | Discussion: Start News
Today we are releasing an updated build of Start11 v2 with new translations and bug fixes. The update is rolling out now and will be arriving on your machine in the near future.
If you don’t want to wait for the update to reach your device, open the Start11 app, click on “About” and then manually check for an update. Or if you are an Object Desktop subscriber, you can also download it through the Object Desktop Manager.
With this release, we are updating many of our translations for Start11 v2 which will provide a better experience for those using the application with a language other than English. Did you know that if you want to contribute to the translations, we have all of the language files on GitHub?
Many of our community members have contributed to updating our translations and we are always looking for additional help. If you have primary or second language expertise, you can help make Start11 better for everyone.
Along with the updated translations, we have squashed many bugs as reported by our users. You can view the entire changelog here. And if you run into any issues with this release, make sure to let us know in our forums.
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.
Make an Older OS Look Modern with Start11
Thursday, May 4, 2023 by BradSams | Discussion: Start News
What feels like nearly an eternity ago (but was really only a couple of years back), Microsoft announced Windows 11 and started shipping it not long after that. One of the big changes, aside from the visual update, was that there would only be one major update per year.
This was a significant change from the Windows 10 era where the company was pushing two major updates per year. For the most part, it was well received within the Windows community - but as we are all now aware, the company has done the exact opposite.
Windows 10 Running Start11
Today, Microsoft is shipping feature updates whenever they want and it’s quite hard to keep track of whether a feature is in the canary, dev, beta, or release preview. If that wasn't tricky enough, they are also enabling users to be the first to receive updates within the stable branch as yet another way to test updates before they hit the wider general population.
Even though the update cadence for Windows 11 is headed towards a more chaotic state, there is a bit of a reprieve if you are ok with running Windows 10. As Paul Thurrott puts it: “Microsoft Finally Gave Us What We Wanted … But With Windows 10”.
Microsoft has stated that Windows 10, 22H2, will be the final feature update for the OS. This means that if you want to run a version of Windows that is fully supported and won’t be updated erratically, then Windows 10 is a viable option until its support ends in 2025.
What if you like the look of Windows 11, but want to stay on Windows 10? That can easily be accomplished with Start11 and WindowBlinds 11 (both of these apps can run on Windows 10). This also works exceptionally well if you are one of the many Windows 10 users who cannot upgrade to Windows 11 because your PC does not meet the baseline requirements.
For those of us who desire a stable version of Windows - without the trouble of trying to run an LTSC branch as your daily driver - Microsoft just delivered a big win for its users. Rolling back to Windows 10 may not be for everyone, as Microsoft will pester you quite a bit to upgrade to Windows 11, but if you truly want a supported Windows experience that doesn’t change, Microsoft finally has an answer for you.
Where will new ads show up next?
Tuesday, April 18, 2023 by BradSams | Discussion: Start News
For years, Microsoft has been carefully toeing the line of including advertisements promotions inside of the Start menu, File Explorer, and Office applications. While some may argue that promoting your own products inside of your applications isn’t an advertisement, it’s certainly an annoyance - especially when you do not have the ability to permanently turn off these messages.
As I write this blog post in Word, there is a banner at the top asking me to download OneDrive, which I already have on my mobile device - this very file is even saved there as well! But, let’s not let the semantics of already using OneDrive - which Microsoft knows I am already using - stop them from telling me to use OneDrive.
But why stop at Word? Microsoft has already forced the “recommendation” section inside of the Start menu, and this month it has become apparent that they will continue to push more promotional material into the Start menu experience.
The latest flavor of “ads” that are showing up inside Windows 11 will appear in the shutdown menu. Take a look at the image below. Courtesy of Microsoft, you can see the different ways the company plans to incorporate its new messaging in a place that should not have any messaging at all.
Start11 removes these advertisements - or messaging, or whatever you want to call them - from your Windows 11 experience. While we didn’t build Start11 to be an adblocker, it’s becoming apparent that Microsoft has no plans of slowing down how they will inject corporate messaging into the OS.
So, how does Start11 work? It's pretty simple, actually. Once you install the utility, it replaces the default Windows Start menu with our own customizable version. This new Start menu not only offers a variety of different styles, but it also comes with a bunch of customization options that let you tweak it to the desired specification.
The best part about Start11 is that it completely removes ads from the Start menu. No more sponsored apps or suggested downloads - just a clean, ad-free experience that lets you focus on what's important: getting stuff done.
While we don’t know where the next advertisement in Windows 11 will show up, know that if you are running Start11, you won’t have to worry about it appearing in the Start menu.
You can learn more about Start11 here.
Improvements for multimonitor support and touch input
Tuesday, April 4, 2023 by BradSams | Discussion: Start News
Today, we released Start11 v1.43. Within this update are improvements for users with dual monitors, touch input enhancements, and more.
The update is starting to roll out now for users who purchased the app directly from Stardock. If you don’t see it yet, you can find it by opening the configuration panel, clicking about, and searching for an update. For users who purchased Start11 on Steam, an update should be arriving in the next couple of days, too.
With this release, you will see improvements for scenarios that involve multiple monitors, enhancements for users who use touch-first navigation, and better alignment with the Winkey+X menu appearing in the desired location.
There is one new feature as well, but it’s a small one. If you are running Windows 11 22H2 with the Moment 2 update installed, small with wide icon spacing is a taskbar size option. As the name implies, it adds a bit of padding around the icons.
As with all of our releases, they first start out in our beta channel and typically go through several iterations before release. If you run into any hiccups with v1.43, please let us know in our feedback forum so that we can properly track any unintended scenarios with this release.
If you haven’t purchased Start11 yet, make sure to head on over to our app page which has all the details about the many features that make Start11 the industry’s most advanced Start menu.
Add Fences 4 to your Wishlist today
Tuesday, August 16, 2022 by BradSams | Discussion: Start News
Earlier this month, we released Start11 on Steam. With that milestone now behind us, it’s time to turn our attention to Fences 4. In the coming weeks, Fences 4 will arrive on Steam - but you can add it to your wishlist now.
We still have a couple of hurdles that we need to cross, but seeing as we piloted our new course for shipping applications on Steam with Start11, we expect that Fences 4 will follow a similar trajectory. That being said, unforeseen issues can always arise, but we are confident that at this point in the preparation process, we are closer to the finish line than the starting point.
If you are wondering why Fences 4 didn't launch on Steam when it first released, it's because Steam requires specific processes to flow through its infrastructure. These requirements, which were new for Fences 4 (but not Fences 3), required us to re-work how updating and purchasing functions for the app.
With Start11 out and our new deployment solution working as expected, Fences 4 will be arriving on Steam soon.
After the release of Fences 4 and Start11 on Steam, we expect future product releases to have a tighter window from their availability on Stardock and being released on Steam. We believe the heavy lifting of the migration to Steam is now behind us and look forward to building new solutions in the months ahead.
The easiest way to resell Stardock software
Tuesday, August 2, 2022 by BradSams | Discussion: Start News
For years, Stardock has offered an affiliate program that allows our partners to re-sell Stardock products and earn a commission each time a transaction occurs. Since the platform we used for this was a bit outdated, we re-worked the foundation earlier this summer and are ready to reboot the program with a new foundation.
Today, our affiliate program is up and running using Impact, which provides robust tracking and dashboarding capabilities. To register as an affiliate, join the platform using the link below, create a tracking link, and then share it with your audience. It's quick and easy!
Sign Up: Stardock Affiliate Program
Once you have been accepted into the program, you will have access to a dashboard that tracks clicks and sales; the dashboard is updated daily, but not in real-time.
If you were participating in our previous affiliate program, make sure to check your email for a message from me. You will need to switch over to our new program in order to continue participating.
We are still in the early stages of uploading all the assets that can help you promote various Stardock products, but if you have any specific requests, make sure to message us via the built-in messaging.
The solution we are announcing today is where we will be investing for the foreseeable future for most resellers of our products. But, we also do provide discounts through our wholesaler program; if you are interested in going this route, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the many ways to use Fences
Thursday, July 28, 2022 by BradSams | Discussion: Start News
We talk to customers every week about how they are using our products to help us develop the next wave of updates. We hear about how Start11 is used to standardize desktops across various endpoints, but the uses for Fences vary from simple file organization to advanced auto-sorting of documents as they arrive for outside parties.
I want to talk about how I have been using Fences 4 as we continue to expand the scope of initiatives that we are undertaking. If you weren’t familiar, we recently added another developer to our team, which means more projects are moving along much faster and organization is essential to our success.
On my desktop, I keep Fences sorted by projects that are actively in-flight. While the desktop image in this post is using mock files, the idea for creating the image came from how my desktop is actually sorted with two active project files, quarterly documents for reporting, and a folder portal for access to my Stardock OneDrive folder.
The key is keeping project files sorted into their respective Fences, which I do by affixing the name of the project at the end of the file. For example, in one scenario you have Marketing Start11 and Marketing Fences4.
Keeping my project files organized on my desktop significantly reduces the amount of time I spend hunting for a specific file related to a project that is in motion. The auto-sorting rules mean as long as I keep up the habit of my naming convention, I will always know where my files will be located.
While this methodology may not work for everyone, it has proven valuable in organizations where files are specific to projects; we have seen Fences used like this in law offices, manufacturing, and healthcare.
We would love to know how you use Fences to keep your desktop organized. Are you keeping icons grouped, PDFs auto-sorted, or simply mirroring your Download folder to the desktop? Let us know in the comments.