Saturday, August 27, 2011

Get Windows 8 Start Screen in Windows XP, Vista and 7

As previewed by Microsoft, Windows 8 will feature a new "Start Screen" (known as Metro) which looks similar to the Windows Phone 7 home screen. It basically shows live tiles of the installed programs in Windows 8. Check this official Microsoft video :

Would you like to have a taste of the Windows 8 today? In this post, I’ll show you a very unique way to transform your entire Windows desktop into the more modern and intuitive Windows 8 interface.

For this tutorial, I will focus on achieving the following desktop:

Once you get over with the basics, feel free to experiment and let your creativity fly.

Note :
1. You can download the wallpaper from here
2. The dock I am using is RocketDock. You can download it from here.

What you need

1. The transformation you see above is actually a very elaborate theme for an application called "Rainmeter". So download and install Rainmeter first from the following link:

Download Rainmeter

There is no need to launch Rainmeter now.

2. Now download "Omnimo skin suite" from the following link:

Download Omnimo skin suite

3. Double click on the downloaded zip file and extract "SETUP.rmskin". Now open the SETUP.rmskin file and click "Install". The extraction might take a minute or two.

3. After that you'll be guided by the Intro. Here enter your preference for time format (ON = 24 hour time, OFF = 12 hour time), unit of time (ON = Farenheit, OFF = Celsius) and whether you wish to hide your desktop icons (recommended). The whether code will automatically be filled by Omnimo.

  Click on the "arrow" to proceed.

3. Click on the language of your choice.

4.  Click on the third theme [Blank Theme] and hit "Apply"

5. After that, the "Style" window will greet you. Here you can customize the look and feel of the panels and Text Items. The "Style" window also comes with a number of themes. These themes are various pre-made styles to show all the stuff you can customize. You can even activate the clear skin, which makes the panel background completely transparent. For this tutorial, click on "HTC Skin (Neutral). Click "APPLY" and then "CLOSE"

6. Next you'll be presented with the "Gallery view", where you can choose between loads of different panels.

Simply click the icons to add the widgets to the screen. For this tutorial I chose "Flip Clock", "Fruit Clock", "Date", "Network", "CPU Meter", "RAM", "SlideShow", "Gmail", "Weather" and the "Radio" widget.

Once you are done with widget selection, click on the "CLOSE" button on the right.

Note:  You can add more gadgets later by bringing back the "Panels" window. Simply Click on the arrow on your desktop to open the "Panels" window.  If you can't find the arrow on your desktop, right-click the Rainmeter tray icon and choose Configs -> WP7 -> galleryarrow.ini.

7. Now drag the widgets wherever you'd like to. If your widgets doesn't snap very well, hold Shift and drag it for a perfect position.

Here’s how my personal Omnimo desktop looks like when I was in step 7 :

8. Now that you have the widgets on the desktop, it's time to configure them by hovering over the widget until the tiny icons appear in the upper right-hand corner, and then using the wrench to open the configuration screen. Note that not all widgets have configuration.

Lets start with configuring the Gmail panel. Hover your mouse pointer over the panel and click on the wrench to open the configuration screen. In the "GmailUsername" tab enter your Gmail username (without and your Gmail password in the "GmailPassword" tab. (Dont forget to click on "Set" before switching tabs) Click "Close". Now right click on the Gmail widget and click "Refresh Skin".

Next, hover to the "Radio" panel and click on the wrench. A text file "" will open up. As this widget depends on VLC Player, we need to provide the exact path of VLC for this panel to work. Assuming that VLC is installed, in the "PathToVLC= " provide the complete path of "vlc.exe". Once done, save and close the file.

Now click on any of the station listed in the Radio panel to start listening to that station. You can stop the radio by clicking on the " ► ".
Note : In case even after clicking ► the radio continues to play, bring the task manager by pressing ctrl+shift+esc, select vlc.exe and click on "End Process".

You can even add your own radio stations in the "Radio" panel. For that, right click on the panel and click "WP7\Panels\Radio". The "Radio" explorer window will open up. Next search and download .pls file(s) of your favourite radio station(s) from (check my earlier post for details). Rename the file(s) to something else and paste them in the "Radio" folder. Now open "" file by clicking on the "wrench" and edit "StationLink"(s) to point to the .pls file(s). Next provide a name to the station(s) by editing "Station1Title". Save the file when you are done. Refresh the "Radio" panel to reflect the changes.

If the "Weather" panel is showing the weather of our some other place instead of showing the weather of your locality, then you need to modify the weather code manually. But before doing so, go to and search your city. Now copy the weather code from addressbar (usually something like INXX0093) [see screenshot below]

Now click on the wrench of the"Weather" panel. In the "WeatherCode" tab paste the weather code. Click "Set" and "Close" and you are done.

9. To close any widget, hover your mouse pointer over it and click on the "X". Note that you can always add it back from the gallery (The gallery can be invoked anytime by clicking on the present on the desktop).

10. Some panels have an arrow that will let you rotate between views or functions. For example, on the calendar widget, using the arrow switches between views :

11. Almost every single one of Omnimo panels is resizable. The panels can be resized to any size between 100x100px and 300x300px squares. The default size is 150x150px. To start resizing panels, click the resize button in the lower right corner of the panel.

A slider will pop up allowing you to change the panel size. To fine-tune the size, you can use the keyboard arrows. If you want to cancel the resizing, simply click on the number.


The new size will be applied after you release the left mouse button.

My desktop after step 11

12. Omnimo skin is not only about Panels. It also comes with a number of "Text items" to choose from. To open multiple, different Text Items, hover over the arrow on your desktop and Click on the T on right. This will open the Text Items gallery for you. Click any one to try it out. It will open up right on your desktop. For this tutorial I chose  "Menu", "Courier", "Day" and "Custom".

13. Create your own panels :

To create panels for your own apps, folders, contacts and websites, you can use the "Omnimo Panel Creator". It creates fully functional (and resizable!) panels from your icons, shortcuts and contact files.

First download the "Omnimo Panel Creator" from here. Once you've installed it , click on the arrow on the desktop to open "Panels" gallery. Click "my panels" text on bottom right and you should see an interface like this :

Click the plus icon on bottom right and you should see an interface like this :

To start, drag an icon (.ico), an image (.png, .jpg, .bmp, .gif), a contact file (.contact) or a shortcut (.lnk) to the blue square on the left. Fill out the Name field and select an action for the panel by using the Browse buttons. When you're done, hit the Create Panel button.

 For this tutorial I created four panels : Firefox, Facebook, Media Player, Maintenance and Picasa.

14. Time for some finishing touches. Minimizing the transparency of text items is a great way to blend text items with the wallpaper. To do so, right click on a text item, select Settings > Transparency >  "Transparency Value"

In this tutorial I changed the transparency of text items Day, Courier, Custom to 30%, 40% and 30% respectively.

Another thing you can do is that you can make the position of text items and panels fixed so as to prevent accidental dragging of panels and text items. For that, right click on text items or panels, select Settings and uncheck Draggable



How do you like it?

I personally think that the new Metro interface is beautifully designed; it feels more modern than the classic, icon-dependent Apple iOS or Google Android. This is why I fell in love with this unique Windows theme. What do you think? Did you check out any of the other tile packs and add-ons available on ?

My Current Desktop

 Also check :

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Hurry : Get 6 Months License of Avira Premium Security Suite 10 for free!!

Avira is one of the best and most popular anti-virus and security suite available on Internet.

Avira Premium Security Suite is all round protection for you and your family. It protects you with 15 different security technologies, including an extra firewall. More than that, it keeps you safer online with "ParentalControl". It comes with a handy backup software, too.

Components of Avira Premium Security Suite 10 :

Detection :

Avira Scanner  :  Detects known viruses, worms and Trojans
AntiAd/Spyware  :  Protects you against spyware and adware
AntiSpam  :  Filters out unwanted and phishing emails
AntiPhishing  :  Protects you against identity theft attacks
AntiRootkit  :  Keeps you safe from hidden malware
AntiBot  :  Stops hackers taking over your computer

Prevention :

Avira Guard  :  Prevents infection from viruses, worms and Trojans 
Avira ProActiv  :  Spots unknown viruses by how they act
AHeADTechnology  :  Halts unknown code that looks suspicious
WebGuard  :  Keeps you away from malicious websites
AntiDrive-by  :  Stops sneaky malware downloads while you surf
MailGuard  :  Scans all your incoming and outgoing emails
FireWall  :  Slams a door in the face of hackers

Repair :

QuickRemoval  :  Eliminates viruses with one click
GenericRepair  :  Fixes your PC fast, solves problems automatically
RescueSystem  Helps restart your PC in an emergency

Backup and Control :

BackupSystem  : Safeguards your important data & precious photos
ParentalControl  :  Set safe limits on what they see, or how long they surf 

This security suite generally costs $31.59 but now you can get a genuine 6 months license absolutely free! Avira in association with Computer Shopper magazine is providing 180 days license of Avira Premium Security Suite 10 absolutely free.

Just follow these steps to obtain your license key:

1. Visit following link:  Get 6 Months License of Avira Premium Security Suite 10 (Offer Expired)

2. Enter your name, email, country name and security code and click on "Request license now" button.

3. It'll immediately send an email in your Inbox containing a link which will provide you your free license code and download link to grab the setup file.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Some more firefox about: commands

So, after my last post on this topic, some friends pointed out a couple of more useful commands. I thought I should share it here.

This command shows the permissions given by you to different websites, like allowing to store passwords, share your location, allow cookies, open pop-up windows, and maintain offline storage. This was added recently in Firefox 6, so it might not work for you if you are using an older version. Here's a screenshot:
Firefox about:permssions
This is the meta about page - the about page of about pages. It lists all the about page available to you (except, of course, the Easter eggs). Another screenshot:
Firefox about:about
Mozilla has added this new command in the latest nightly build of Firefox 13. This page shows a list of all running JS compartments. Compartments are little segments of memory which is used by JavaScripts in Mozilla Firefox. Check this link to know more.

Firefox about:compartments

Firefox 21 has added a new "health report" page that provide a graphical representation of your browser's performance, along with average startup times, monthly running time for the application (in minutes), monthly number of crashes, and total number of bookmarks, add-ons and plug-ins.

Firefox about:healthreport

Opens a page that shows the information about performance, hardware, usage and customizations collected by Firefox's telemetry. This information can optionally be submitted to Mozilla to help improve Firefox.

Thanks for Sagar and Agni for their inputs. And, as always, if you come across any more interesting stuff about Firefox, please let me know.

Also check :

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Share your Google Plus public posts to Twitter automatically

I came upon a service today which helps managing your twitter account: ManageFlitter. It has interesting stuff like managing who you follow, finding out who is not following you back, which inactive accounts you follow, etc..

And now, they have added a new service, where they automatically share your Google Plus's public posts to your twitter account. And, when google plus's API comes around, they have plans for making the opposite too: posting twitter's posts feed to google plus.

You can check this service out at:

Transform Starter or Home Basic Editions of Windows 7 into Windows 7 Ultimate

The "Home Basic" and "Starter" editions of Windows 7 are very limited in customization. Support for Aero, the glass like user interface is missing; premium Windows 7 features like Aero Peek, Aero Shake, Aero Snap, Flip 3D are absent; one can't change the desktop wallpaper; in fact you don't even get the "Personalize" option in Desktop context menu to change wallpaper, theme, etc.

Today I am going to share a small tool which automatically patches system files to enable all Windows Ultimate features in both Windows 7 Home Basic and in Windows7 starter edition. You can download it from here :

> Aero Patch for Windows 7 Home Basic and Starter Edition

Download the file and unpack it using 7 Zip or Winrar. Launch "Personalization Panel v1.2.1.exe" which will patch all necessary files and will reboot your system. After reboot, you'll be able to enjoy Aero Glass and other personalization features in Windows 7 Home Basic and Starter editions! You can even use .theme, .themepack and .msstyles files to customize the look and feel of your Windows.

If you wish to uninstall the patch, simply run the "Personalization Panel v1.2.1.exe" once again.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Listen to Free Internet Radio Using VLC player

As well as being a great media player for playback of audio and video files, VideoLan player, famously known as VLC player can also be used to access thousands of Internet radio stations.

Here's How:

1. If you haven't already got VLC installed on your computer, you can download the latest free version from the VideoLan Website. Once installed, run the program and continue to the next step.

2.  Go to and click on the "help" button.

3. When the "SHOUTcast Radio Settings" window opens, check the following option:
"Play SHOUTcast stations in default media player ( eg: Winamp / iTunes / Windows Media Player)"


4. In the search box type in the name of the station, artist or genre you’re looking for. For example, I searched for "Bollywood" and SHOUTcast came up with the following results :

5. Click on the desired station and save the .pls file. It will be called "tunein-station.pls". Ideally, rename it to something else (for example : the station name itself).

6. Start VLC player and drag the .pls file in the VLC window.

Thats it. You will now be listening to your SHOUTcast stream in VLC!

[Tip] To prevent distortion and to keep the audio quality as high as possible, I would recommend enabling VLC player's Audio Equalizer with 2 pass turned on. Here's how :

1. Launch VLC player and click "Show extended settings" button to bring up the Equalizer settings window.

2. Under "Graphic Equalizer" tab, click the check box next to "Enable".

3.  Finally, click the check box next to "2 Pass"

Also Check :

Monday, August 1, 2011

Slow Windows 7 Startup? Too Many Restore Points may be the Reason

If you find that your Windows 7 is rather slow to start up these days, you may want to check out the number of restore points your computer has. As per this article released by Microsoft, the Windows 7 startup process gets slow when you create many restore points. Reason stated by Microsoft for this is as follows:

This issue occurs because the boot plan for the ReadyBoot feature exceeds the size limit of 512 kilobytes (KB). Each restore point creates a snapshot of Windows that Volsnap.sys must validate during the startup process. When you create many restore points, the boot plan for the ReadyBoot feature eventually exceeds the size limit of 512 KB, and cannot be stored. Therefore, startup I/O operations are not precached, and the startup process is slow.

Unfortunately, Microsoft does not give a specific number of how many restore points actually lead to this issue, so it may vary from PC to PC.

The Solution

To resolve this issue, you can apply a hotfix from KB2555428 that Microsoft has created to tackle this issue. Do so, only if you are regularly facing this problem as hotfixes are experimental updates that Microsoft pushes out to solve critical customer problems.

My advice is : get rid of older System Restore points you no longer need. You can use CCleaner to remove System Restore point(s) :

To remove System Restore points :
  1. In CCleaner, click on the "Tools" icon in the left
  2. Select "System Restore".
  3. Select the System Restore point in the list that you want to remove. Or, use CTRL+Click to select multiple System Restore points.
  4. Click "Remove". You are prompted to confirm the deletion. Click "OK".
  5. To remove other System Restore points, repeat steps 3 to 4.