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Cosmic Iris is the "Color of the Season" from Creative Market

Tuesday, September 14, 2021 by Island Dog | Discussion: OS Customization

As we've done in the past, I get emailed and read blogs about design and a couple times of year various sites put out their seasonal colors, and the latest is from Creative Market. They have Cosmic Iris as their "Color of the Season".

"Iris: a flower with sword-shaped leaves, the Greek goddess of rainbows, the part of your eye that lets light in. As we discover what this new normal can look like, here’s a color that captures our quest for the unknown. The curiosity in experiencing familiar places with new eyes. Cosmic Iris is a blue-to-purple hue that takes us to a place of wonder."

HEX: #7B93E8
RGB: 123, 147, 232

I do like the color but it's not something I would associate with the fall season. Maybe I'm just a bit more traditional but I'd like to hear your opinions on it. What types of skins or themes do you think this color would look good with?



Save up to 75% on games, DLC, and software in the Stardock Publisher Sale on Steam!

Monday, September 13, 2021 by Island Dog | Discussion: WinCustomize News

Stardock's Publisher Sale is here with up to
75% off* on our most popular games, DLC, and software!



Star Control: Origins
$29.99 Now $13.49 - 55% Off


Galactic Civilizations III
(Includes FREE: Crusade and Retribution Expansions, Mega Events DLC)
$29.99 Now $9.89 - 67% Off


Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation
$29.99 Now $9.89 - 67% Off


Offworld Trading Company
(Includes FREE: Jupiter's Forge Expansion and Almanac DLC)
$29.99 Now $11.99 - 60% Off


Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion
$39.99 Now $9.99 - 70% Off

Siege of Centauri

Siege of Centauri
$14.99 Now $7.49 - 50% Off


The Political Machine 2020
$14.99 Now $7.49 - 50% Off

Game Bundles:

Galactic Civilizations III: Ultimate
$111.84 Now $39.39 - 65% Off


Offworld Trading Company: Ultimate
$99.87 Now $36.41 - 64% Off


Ashes of the Singularity:
Escalation Ultimate

$84.89 Now $27.22 - 69% Off


Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion Ultimate
$90.93 Now $24.49 - 65% Off

Legends Pack

Stardock Legends Pack
Now $19.99 - 50% Off

Fallen Enchantress: Ultimate
$42.93 Now $18.74 - 56% Off



Classic Games:

GalCiv II: Ultimate
$19.99 Now $9.99 - 50% Off

$9.99 Now $4.99 - 50% Off

Sins of a Solar Empire: Trinity
$19.99 Now $4.99 - 75% Off

Legendary Heroes
$24.99 Now $9.99 - 60% Off

The Corporate Machine
$9.99 Now $4.99 - 50% Off

Dead Man's Draw
$6.99 Now $3.49 - 50% Off

GalCiv I: Ultimate
$9.99 Now $4.99 - 50% Off


Popular Expansions/DLC:

GalCiv III: Intrigue
$14.99 Now $7.49 - 50% Off

Star Control: Origins - Earth Rising
$19.99 Now $9.99 - 50% Off

Offworld Trading Company: Jupiter's Forge
$14.99 Now $3.89 - 74% Off

GalCiv III: Crusade
$4.99 Now $1.24 - 75% Off

GalCiv III: Mercenaries
$9.99 Now $4.99 - 50% Off

Galactic Civilizations III - Mega Events
$3.99 Now $0.99 - 75% Off

The Political Machine 2020: Founding Fathers
$4.99 Now $2.49 - 50% Off


Stardock Software:

$9.99 Now $5.99

$4.99 Now $3.74

Multiplicity KM
$19.99 Now $9.99
Multiplicity KVM
$39.99 Now $29.99

$4.99 Now $3.74

$9.99 Now $7.99

$4.99 Now $3.99

SoundPackager 10
$4.99 Now $3.99


*Sale ends 9.20.21 at 1PM ET. 

Here's 5 Top Desktop Wallpapers for Fall

Monday, September 13, 2021 by Island Dog | Discussion: WinCustomize News

Fall is just around the corner, and I've been getting ready with my pumpkin coffee and changing the wallpapers on my various PCs! We have a bunch of seasonal desktop wallpapers here on WC, and we've been adding more so there's a wide selection to choose from.

We've also been making sure the tags are in place, so just by searching 'fall' or 'autumn' should bring up plenty of results in all categories!

Here's a few of our favorites to get you started! If you like these be sure to share!

Pumpkin Harvest


Fall Leaves in Kolob Canyon


Yellow Fall Leaves


Autumn Road


Autumn Bokeh


Using Tabs in Files Explorer in Windows 11 with Groupy

Thursday, September 9, 2021 by Island Dog | Discussion: Stardock Blog

I finally got Windows 11 installed and running on my main PC this week. Since the official release is approaching, I wanted to make sure I had time to test software out on Windows 11. As with any new install of Windows, the first apps I put on my PC are Fences, Start11, and Groupy. These help my productivity while I setup the rest of the OS and get all the other necessary applications installed. 

While I'm downloading new installers and organizing my files, I usually have a couple of file explorer windows open to move and copy items around. This can get to be quite an unorganized mess with a big monitor, so this is where Groupy comes in.

As you can see in the screenshot above, I have four explorer windows open, but they are all tabbed in one window. This way I can easily and quickly change to each window depending on what I'm working on. It also makes it extremely easy to drag and drop files from one folder to another.

I have Groupy set up so it will group identical windows automatically. That way, any explorer windows I open will automatically open in my tabbed group.

Of course, this will also work the same way in Windows 10, but I wanted to show off that you can get tabbed windows in Windows 11!


Share Your September Desktops with the WinCustomize Community!

Monday, September 6, 2021 by Island Dog | Discussion: WinCustomize News

September is finally here, and we are just weeks away from the official start of fall! With a new month brings a new opportunity to show off the skins and themes you are using on your desktop. Take a screenshot and post to our desktop screenshot thread and let us know what themes you are using this month.

Post your desktops to the monthly thread here:

(This is a news thread and will be locked. Screenshot taken by JanOscar)

The Appeal of Nostalgia

AKA, why we play certain games over and over and over again...

Thursday, September 2, 2021 by Tatiora | Discussion: Stardock Blog

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I am highly prone to nostalgia.

I am an emotionally memory-based person who lives and breathes sentimentality. I have a hard time parting with objects I own because I can remember exactly who gave it to me, the circumstances surrounding the gift, and why it was important at the time (even if it hasn’t been useful for a very long time). 

It’s not just physical things, either - it’s anything that allows me to return to a memory that I am fond of. Frequently, this means games - both video and board/card. My grandmother in particular was an avid Rummikub player; I can remember many times where we sat in her kitchen on a quiet afternoon and played together while we chatted. 

Just down the hall, my grandfather and his study would house many other loving memories for me in the form of hours spent playing computer games together. Returning to these games still, all these years later, instills me with a joy and a fondness for those times that’s hard to put into words.

I’ve taken a look at how nostalgia can drive people to replay games or repeat activities that they’ve done many times before, but what is nostalgia exactly? Let’s talk a little bit about what it is and why it affects us.

What is Nostalgia?

The dictionary defines nostalgia as “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.” The word comes from the Greek word nostos, which means “return” or “home,” and the Greek word algos, which means “pain.” 

Nostalgia is sometimes also described as homesickness, although I view nostalgia as a more general term, while homesick is much more specific. 

Why is Nostalgia so Powerful?

Think about it for a minute. Nostalgia is a return to our happy places and thoughts. These moments that made us feel things in our younger days, often for the first time, are what define what those emotions mean to us.

Specifically regarding happiness, nostalgia allows us to return and feel grounded toward that which built our feelings and how we react to the world around us as we have grown. Recalling our past experiences allows us to build better present experiences, and nostalgia can serve as an aid in that regard.

However, not all nostalgia is happiness. It seems silly, conceptually, to long for any days or memories that aren’t happy memories for us, but all experiences, whether you define them as good or bad, form us in some way. Nostalgia can help people deal with anxiety surrounding change. Our memories are grounded, they can’t change anymore - because they’re memories. They’ve already happened.

Does Nostalgia Have a Psychological Effect?

Dr. Krystine Batcho, a licensed psychologist and professor of psychology at LeMoyne College, says that nostalgia is a “wonderfully complex paradoxical experience.” According to Batcho, nostalgia serves a number of functions.

Ultimately, nostalgia is an emotional experience that unifies. It helps unite our sense of who we are, our self, our identity over time - but over time, we also change in pretty incredible ways. Nostalgia helps connect us to our authentic self and remind us of who we have been, so we can compare ourselves to who we are today.

A podcast interview with Dr. Batcho that I found on the American Psychological Association’s website is what got me thinking about this. You can listen to (or read the transcript) of the whole thing here.

Nostalgia Today

I think it’s fairly obvious that there are many corporations seeking to appeal to peoples’ sense of nostalgia in order to make their products or services more relatable. Networks are bringing back the shows of our childhood and making them accessible to us in hopes that we will share them with our own children and perpetuate the cycle of fond memories.

Admittedly, nostalgia has driven me to purchase certain remastered games or collectors editions before. You could say that I am prone to marketing tactics - and you wouldn’t be completely wrong there - but in many cases it isn’t the marketing that sells me on purchasing an old favorite. It’s the sense of happiness that I remember, that feeling of nostalgia that drives me to return to that state of being a kid again, even if just for a little bit.

What games hit your nostalgia button? Do you enjoy revisiting those memories? Share your thoughts with me!

New Curtains Themes for a Minimalist Desktop

Monday, August 30, 2021 by Island Dog | Discussion: WinCustomize News

The Curtains gallery has quite a few new themes added recently, and we have just been enjoying them. They have a smooth and minimalist design and are great for daily use either at work or home.

Check out some of the latest theme below but be sure to check out the full Curtains gallery for many more themes. Have you tried any of these new themes? Let us know in the comments!









Have Fun with CursorFX!

Friday, August 27, 2021 by Island Dog | Discussion: Stardock Blog

CursorFX has always been one of my favorite customization apps and was an effortless way to get started customizing your Windows desktop. The default Windows cursor is boring, and CursorFX allows you to easily change it to one of thousands available on WinCustomize. There are all kinds of cursor themes available. Some with minimal designs and some with really amazing animations. 

First, get CursorFX from here or as part of your Object Desktop membership. Once installed you'll already have a handful of cursors included that we picked as some of our favorites just to get your started. Just select the cursor you want to use and hit Apply, or just double-click the cursor.

If you ever need to get back to the Windows cursor, just apply the Windows Default and it will go back to the default cursor. When you're ready to try out some additional cursor themes, head over to and check out the CursorFX gallery. Here you can browse and download thousands of additional cursor themes in a variety of designs and styles.

Are you into sci-fi? Put a Starship as your cursor!

Maybe MacOS is your style?

Or maybe just a cool cursor design like this.

The point is there is a ton of cursor themes to choose from, and it's a fun way to give your desktop a bit of personalization no matter what style you like!


Web Browers: What do we Want from Them?

Thursday, August 26, 2021 by Tatiora | Discussion: Stardock Blog

I remember when I had my first interview at Stardock.

One of the people in the room, a guy named Kris, looked at me and fired off a series of PC user questions, things like: what kind of computer do you have, what operating systems do you run, and what web browser do you use?

I answered each, and when I got to the web browser part and answered Chrome, he fired back with a question that caught me off-guard.


...honest answer? I have no idea why. It was just what I used (and still use)! I don’t remember exactly what I said - though, considering I’m about to hit my 6 year anniversary next month here at Stardock, I’m guessing I answered the question to his satisfaction - but I do remember pausing after the interview to re-ask myself that same question.

Why did I use Chrome over any other web browser?

I mean, some of the reasoning is straightforward. I like its design, it is fast and efficient, and it has a solid amount of security. However, other web browsers, especially nowadays, have the same features - so why choose Chrome, specifically?

Prior to Chrome, I had always used Firefox. I didn’t ever have any issues with it, so my switch to Chrome must have been because a friend recommended it to me or because I needed it for something specific - I honestly don’t remember anymore.

Anyway, the browser landscape has changed significantly over the last few years. What’s most important to us as PC users in a browser certainly has some variables, but in general I think we’re concerned about three primary things: Speed, Security, and Customization. 


Obviously, we don’t want to have to wait forever for a website to load, so speed is one of the most important qualities in a web browser. Some web browsers demand a lot of your system’s resources, while others take up less and run a bit more smoothly in the background. These factor into the browser’s speed.

It’s important to look at a browser’s compatibility, also - they need to be able to work with your current version of Windows (or whatever OS you’re using) and need to run efficiently. How much memory a web browser takes up is also important when you’re factoring in elements of speed and efficiency.


I talked about this in another blog, but the Internet can be a bit of a murky place to navigate at times. There are lots of anti-virus programs out there to help keep your PC safe, but one of the first lines of defense is going to be a secure web browser.

Some browsers offer full suites of security tools to protect your identity and shield against malware, while others don’t have a method for blocking cookies and ads efficiently. It’s not a good idea to rely on your browser alone to provide defenses against someone who might want to compromise your identity online, but it’s a good first line before you add on the other bells and whistles. 

It’s worth noting that Microsoft Edge now comes with a built-in password manager, which is an awesome security feature to have in a web browser. The other browsers haven’t quite caught up to this just yet.


The tools and add-ons that you can apply to your web browser can make or break your experience when surfing websites online (do people still say “surf the web” anymore, or is that an old-person thing?).

Some tools do things like strip webpages of clutter, leaving only the text, which makes it much easier for you to focus. A lesser known browser, called Opera, even has a built-in cryptocurrency wallet. It is also known for its Speed Dial add-on, which consists of pinned tiles on your home screen and a toolbar for accessing frequently used services.

Edge offers voice-reading of web pages, Firefox lets you instantly save a page to Pocket, and Chrome for Android has tab groups and dark mode. All of these things boil down to personal preference and what tools are important for you to have in order to use your web browser in a way that will work for you.

PC Magazine has a really excellent article about the most popular browsers and what makes them unique from one another. They also wrote one on the best alternative web browsers (half of which I’d never heard of). I definitely recommend giving them a read! 

What web browser do you use? Why did you make that choice? Share with me!

A misused Microsoft tool is responsible for a big data leak

Wednesday, August 25, 2021 by Tatiora | Discussion: Personal Computing

Another day, another data leak.

This time, it comes courtesy of a popular development platform called Power Apps. This Microsoft web tool allows organizations to quickly create web apps and has an abundance of tools for public facing websites and back-end data management. In spite of the tool's usefulness, it comes with its dangers: incorrectly configuring the product can leave huge segments of private data visible to the public. 

Cybersecurity firm UpGuard recently discovered that as many as 47 entities have misconfigured their Power Apps in a way that left data exposed. Those with data breaches included several large companies, government entities, and even Microsoft itself. Some very large entities like the states of Maryland and Indiana's governments are included in this data breach. 

According to researchers at UpGuard, the leaked data includes plenty of sensitive information, including “personal information used for COVID-19 contact tracing, COVID-19 vaccination appointments, social security numbers for job applicants, employee IDs, and millions of names and email addresses.”

Microsoft's leaks include a collection of 332,000 email addresses and employee IDs that are used for payroll purposes. Due to UpGuard's report, Microsoft shifted its permissions and adjusted PowerApps to make it more secure to use. Hopefully, this fixes the issue and clears up this particular breach.

Have you been personally affected by a data breach before?