Tired of the same old Windows desktop? Then Winstep Xtreme may be able to help. It's a suite of desktop and user interface replacement applications that give you system a fresh new look and feel.

A couple of docks, for instance, deliver speedy access to your favourite applications. And you don't have to spend ages setting them up: just install the program and it will immediately create shortcuts for your desktop, recent documents, Control Panel, Quick Launch, and more.

Your Start menu will be replaced by NextSTART, a more compact, faster menu system than Windows own. By default this provides more options, too, so for example it's easy to access your desktop, Internet favourites, and documents folder in a couple of clicks. And you're able to quickly create as many menus as you like, to launch applications, system commands, scripts, whatever you like.

A new taskbar is highly customisable, so for instance can give you the Windows 7 look (including preview windows showing you the contents of running copies of an application) on Windows 2000, XP or Vista. You can change the icons for a taskbar button, change its opacity, even rearrange buttons just by dragging and dropping.

You also get Desktop Modules, essentially Winstep's take on gadgets: there's a speaking clock, a weather monitor, cpu and network meters, even a fish called Wanda that dispenses wisdom at a double-click. A configurable Font Browser lets you set your own preview text and font sizes. And a Start Menu Organizer helps organise your programs into categories for easier navigation.

Winstep Xtreme 15.7 adds these new features:

- 100% compatible with Microsoft's Windows 10

Verdict

Winstep Extreme provides some clever tools and there's no doubt they look great, but they're so packed with options that figuring out how everything works can take a while