WindowBlinds 0.95 ----------------- Thank you for installing WindowBlinds 0.95! If this is the first time you have used WindowBlinds, welcome to a new way to customize your OS. We are pleased you've taken the time to download this pre-release of WindowBlinds and we look forward to your comments and suggestions. Information on new releases, FAQ's, and additional downloadable personalities/skins can be found on the Stardock Systems web site at http://www.stardock.com or http://www.windowblinds.net. The Download Cool Stuff! link in your WindowBlinds folder takes you to a download link for a variety of skins. The web site also has some free enhancements for WindowBlinds, including a Display Properties tab and a skinnable configuration window. If you are interested in making your own skins, be sure to check out the UIS2 File Format document in the WindowBlinds Documentation folder under your Start menu. A tutorial is also online on the website. Enjoy! Getting in touch with Stardock ------------------------------ Should you find a bug or have additional comments, please get in touch with Stardock Systems so that we can help resolve them. The best place for bug reports/suggestions/general chat is the WindowBlinds newsgroup. Server : news.stardock.com Group : stardock.windowblinds URL: news://news.stardock.com/stardock.windowblinds We are also found in the #stardock channel on EFNET and you can e-mail us at wblinds@stardock.com. What's new? ----------- WindowBlinds supports UIS1 and UIS2 personality formats, as well as the UIS2 Plugin interface (see the online Help!). Here is a list of the main changes since 0.90. Keep in mind that the focus as we move toward 1.0 is on stability and performance rather than new features. - New window sizing code to eliminate clipping - Stability/performance improvements/fixes - Additional default skins - Author-definable Windows colors - Extended UIS2 File Format (see the UIS2 File Format document under the WindowBlinds Start menu folder) - Install/apply IconPackager icon packages - Decreased resource usage on Windows 9x - Semi-transparent menus and drop shadows on Windows 2000 (see Tips and Tricks in the help) - Optional lighting effects (see Tips and Tricks in the help) - UIS docs in Windows .CHM help format - And much much more.. What's next? ------------ WindowBlinds 1.0 is rapidly approaching, so the focus has shifted almost exclusively to fixing bugs, improving performance, and working out as many application specific errors as possible. Stop by the Stardock web pages to take advantage of IconPackager for even more flexibility in customizing your desktop (http://www.stardock.com/products/iconpackager/). Installing additional personalities ----------------------------------- To cut down on the download size, we have only included a few default personalities. Hundreds of additional ones (and more all the time!) are available from http://www.windowblinds.net and http://www.customize.org. Simply download the .ZIP file containing additional personalities from one of these sites and use the "Install a new personality from ZIP file" button in WindowBlinds to quickly add it to your system. Note: WindowBlinds is currently relying on the name of the .ZIP file downloaded to install the skin properly. If the name of the .ZIP file is not the same as the .UIS file inside the .ZIP file, rename the .ZIP to match the .UIS filename. e.g. MyLatestSkin1.ZIP is downloaded, but the name of the .UIS file inside it is MyLatestSkin.UIS. The .ZIP file must be renamed to MyLatestSkin.ZIP in order to install properly. About the exclusion list ------------------------ We have tried to err on the side of caution with regards to the applications included in the default exclusion list. Many people have no problems whatsoever with the apps in the exclusion list. Applications can be removed from the list to see how they function on your system. If you've been downloading WindowBlinds since it became publically available in early February, you've seen some of the dramatic improvements in stability and performance as we've moved through the development process. 0.95 represents another big step forward in terms of enhancements/fixes/improvements to the WB engine itself. Known Issues (some of them actual problems, some just things to be aware of) ---------------------- As WindowBlinds is still in testing, there are bound to be some bumps along the road. While we have done an extensive amount of testing with this build, it is possible that there will still be issues that we have not run across that may occur on your system. With hundreds of millions of 32-bit Windows machines (and more all the time), tens of thousands of applications, hundreds of peripherals, and all sorts of other variables in the mix, statistically WindowBlinds will probably get confused at times. There are a vast variety of applications out there from thousands of developers. Some follow Windows programming guidelines better than others, which is important with WindowBlinds because hidden little problems that might not otherwise be visible tend to creep out when WindowBlinds is working its magic. If you are having problems with a specific application, please try adding it to the exclusion list. - Application X is not getting any WindowBlinds effects Some applications are excluded by default either in the exclusion list or hardcoded into WindowBlinds. We have erred on the side of caution if there is the possibility of a problem. Feel free to try experimenting with removing some of the exclusions. By default, Control Panel applets are excluded from the WindowBlinds effects. These can be re-enabled if you remove the exclusion for RUNDLL32.EXE. Applications like Freecell or the Windows Clipboard Viewer are essentially 16-bit apps from the Windows 3.1 days "fixed up" and released, so they may have additional quirks. - This skin is cutting off part of my application's window Though this tends to happen with skins with very large window borders, it can also show up in some other instances Some of these windows are not properly reporting their size and are thus a little problematic at the moment. We are working on this, but forcing non-sizeable windows to resize correctly is a tricky business. - I downloaded a skin and installed it, but it's not showing up in the list WindowBlinds is currently relying on the name of the .ZIP file downloaded to install the skin properly. If the name of the .ZIP file is not the same as the .UIS file inside the .ZIP file, rename the .ZIP to match the .UIS filename. e.g. MyLatestSkin1.ZIP is downloaded, but the name of the .UIS file inside it is MyLatestSkin.UIS. The .ZIP file must be renamed to MyLatestSkin.ZIP in order to install properly. - Application X is crashing, help! If a particular application has problems when WindowBlinds is loaded, try adding the .EXE for that program to the WindowBlinds exclusion list. We've included several programs in the default exclusion list that are known to currently cause problems for some users (and we'll continue to try and work around these problems in future releases). - WinAmp or kjfol plugins are crashing when run with WindowBlinds WinAmp plugins should be coexisting happily with WindowBlinds now, but there is a known problem with one of the default plugins supplied with the kjfol MP3 player. The plugin does not pass messages appropriately to the system and this tends to "confuse" WindowBlinds and cause it to stop skinning applications. - I'm having problems with maximized applications on multiple monitors We've got some bugs with multiple monitor support on Windows 98 and Windows 2000 to address. - Unloading WindowBlinds Unloading WindowBlinds should function properly and not cause any running applications to crash. If this is not working correctly, please contact us so that we can fix any remaining problems. Should WindowBlinds be crashing on unloading, try closing open applications beforehand. Alternatively, apply the "disabled" option on the WindowBlinds configuration page to remove the enhanced effects. - The text in my dialogs on Windows 98 is all screwed up! Some video card drivers do not properly implement some features at all resolutions and color depths. Odds are, based on our testing, any RIVA-based video board running in 16-bit color under Windows 98 will exhibit this problem (not all of them, but enough). Simply switch to 32-bit color mode and you should be all set. You may also want to consider disabling dialog backgrounds in WindowBlinds. - Explorer crashes These may still happen from time to time. If they are reproducible, please let use know what is causing them to happen on your system. You might also try disabling the bitmap support for dialogs and Explorer backgrounds. Trident 9xxx series video cards in particular seem prone to this. - WindowBlinds crashes when I start it (possibly Explorer as well) Make sure your video drivers are updated to the most recent level. Try closing all running applications prior to starting WindowBlinds and adding them back in one at a time to find what is conflicting. - MSDOS prompts and Word MDI child windows look like they always do These windows are somewhat naughty in their implementation. WindowBlinds does not support changing them (this will probably change in the future for Word). - What's up with 16-bit applications? By default, all 16-bit applications are excluded from being impacted by WindowBlinds. This option cannot be changed as 16 bit applications tended to cause problems. - There is a crash in EM_EXEC when starting WindowBlinds We are working on a conflict between some levels of Logitech software and WindowBlinds. This does not occur on all systems, so its taking some time. Loading the Logitech software after WindowBlinds should [re]enable all functionality. Updating your Logitech drivers to the latest revision available from http://www.logitech.com also appears to help in many cases (as opposed to the driver included with Windows). - My Explorer folders are gray after unloading WindowBlinds This is a side effect of unloading and releasing the folder background bitmap from memory. Any open folders will have their correct colors the next time you open them. - This personality looks SO COOL!!! Most personality authors include their email address in the UIS file or in a README file in the ZIP it is distributed in. Consider sending them a short note to thank them for their efforts. - I'm not interested, I want it off my system! Well, we're certainly sorry to hear that and we hope you'll check out future WindowBlinds releases down the road. Simply use Add/Remove Programs (in your Control Panel) to uninstall WindowBlinds. If you have configured WindowBlinds to start from the registry, please disable this option prior to uninstalling. We also recommend that you reboot without WindowBlinds before uninstalling to make sure the files are removed. If you have added additional skins, you'll need to delete the \Program Files\Stardock\WindowBlinds directory to remove them. We've played it safe with the uninstall and not attempted to remove additional files. You may also need to delete \Windows\System\wbcpl.cpl if the Control Panel was open while uninstalling. Custom WindowBlinds ------------------- An OCX version of WindowBlinds is available in a demonstration format from http://www.windowblinds.net. The full version of this OCX can be used to provide WindowBlinds supported effects to your application. DLL versions and possibly others will become available over time. If you are interested in a "custom" look for your application, give the demo a spin and drop us a note for pricing and availability information. Obligatory Bits --------------- SimpleRemix personality designed by Luche (http://www.luche.com) and is included with his permission. Other non-Stardock skins included with the permissions of their respective authors. WindowBlinds incorporates decompression code by the Info-ZIP group. There are no extra charges or costs due to the use of this code, and the original compression sources are freely available from ftp://ftp.cdrom.com/pub/infozip/ on the Internet. We will also, upon request, mail you the full sources on a 3.5" MSDOS-formatted diskette for the cost of mailing. The full source of the InfoZip compressor/decompressor can also be obtained from ftp://ftp.uu.net/pub/archiving/zip/. All companies legal trademarks mentioned anywhere within this distribution are respected. WindowBlinds is a trademark of Stardock Systems, Inc. Copyright 1997-1999 Neil Banfield and 1998-1999 Stardock Systems, Inc.