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Winstep Xtreme v18.12 Released!

December 17, 2018




An integrated workspace environment, Winstep Xtreme is a powerful suite of applications that merge incredible usability and performance with breathtaking eye candy.

Windows 10 Ready Xtreme runs on the 32 and 64 bit versions of Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8.x and 10.

v18.12 is a major release adding amazing new features such as Grid Stacks, Search filters to quickly locate your files, multi monitor profiles, ability to copy sub-docks and all its contents via simple drag & drop, new Downloads and Connections tab types for Shelves, Drawers and Grid Stacks, aesthetic improvements to tab alignment and icon grid in Shelves, plus many other performance and stability improvements!


What's New? Highlighted Features:


  • Grid Stacks.

  • Stacks are a particulary useful new feature that can give you instant access to the contents of Applications, Documents, Downloads, and any other folders placed into a dock, shelf or drawer. There they’ll then sit until you click on them, at which point they’ll spring out in a grid arrangement.


    You can drag & drop files into and out of Grid Stacks just like you would when dealing with normal folders.

    But Winstep Grid Stacks offer much more than simple access to existing folders in your hard drive: powered by the same technology behind shelves, you can also use Grid Stacks to display the contents of virtual shell folders such as the Windows Control Panel, the Desktop, Recent Documents and Applications, UWP Apps in Windows 10, etc...


    Stacks are really easy to create. Just right click where you want the Grid Stack to be, select New Item from the context menu that pops up, then Grid Stack and finally choose the type of Grid Stack you want to create.

    Everything you can display on a shelf, you can also display on a Grid Stack. For instance, below we're using a Grid Stack to display a list of the most frequently used applications.


  • Folder Grid Stacks.

  • When you create a new Grid Stack of type folder it will automatically default to C:, but you can quickly change the folder it references by right clicking on the Grid Stack icon again and selecting Change Folder.

    Alternatively you can simply drag a folder to the dock, right click on it and select Convert To Grid Stack in the context menu that pops up. Likewise, Grid Stacks pointing to folders can also be converted to folder icons in the same manner.


    The contents of folder Grid Stacks can also be browsed in a menu by right-clicking the Grid Stack icon and selecting Browse.

  • Open Folders as Grid Stacks.

  • Shelves, Drawers and Grid Stacks are able to show the contents of folders in your hard drive(s). By setting the appropriate option, folders within these folders can also be opened automatically as Grid Stacks instead of Explorer windows, making it possible to navigate the whole folder structure using nothing but Grid Stacks.


    Alternatively you can also right click a folder and select Open As Grid Stack in the context menu that pops up.

  • Detachable Grid Stacks.

  • Grid Stacks will normally close themselves automatically when you click somewhere else. To prevent this from happening (so you can, for instance, transfer files between one grid stack and another) you can detach them by left clicking on the tab header (not the tab text) and dragging them away from the parent icon - a sound will be heard and the grid stack will now remain open until you deliberately close it by clicking on the right mini-tab, or the original parent icon.

  • NextSTART Grid Stacks.

  • The same way you can open and activate WorkShelf docks from the NextSTART taskbar as well as NextSTART menus and hotspot buttons, you can also open existing Grid Stacks.


    The requirement is that WorkShelf is currently running and the Grid Stack has previously been created in WorkShelf. Right click the Quick Launch section of the NextSTART taskbar, select Add New Quick Launch Item, then Grid Stack and finally select the Grid Stack you want to pin to the taskbar from the list of available Grid Stacks.

  • Search Filter.

  • Shelves and Grid Stacks are able to display folders containing thousands of files - so sometimes finding what you want is the problem.


    Now all you need to do is start typing, and contents are automatically filtered according to what you just typed. You can press Backspace to delete a character or ESC to clear and dismiss the search filter.

    Keyboard navigation has also been improved and the first item that matches the search filter is always selected, so you can type what you want and immediately press ENTER to launch it if currently selected, or you can use the arrow keys to navigate to the item you want.

    Nearly everything in Winstep applications is customizable, and the Search Filter is no different: in the More Options dialog of the Shelf Properties dialog you can turn Quick Search off and also set it to a specific color - or even a color that automatically matches the Shelf it belongs to or the current system accent color (Windows 10).

  • Shelf Transparency.

  • The background of Shelves, Drawers and Grid Stacks can now be made fully transparent while still remaining completely functional.



  • Proper Tab Alignment in Shelves.

  • Some themes (especially older themes) do not make a clear distinction between the tabs and the rest of the Shelf body and were therefore not created taking into account that users can center, left and right justify the tabs in a Shelf.

    As such, if most themes would look fine, those themes in particular would look very odd when the tabs in the Shelf were set by the user to anything other than the default full Shelf width configuration:


    The Winstep application can now detect such themes and automatically corrects the issue:


    Themes that already made a clear distinction between the tabs and the rest of the Shelf body remain unaffected by this auto-correction mechanism:



  • Icon Grid automatic color correction.

  • Shelves can display an optional grid around the icons. The grid was originally intended to be subtle with a nice 3D effect obtained by using two different colors (one lighter, one darker) that matched the Shelf background.

    Unfortunately some theme authors - perhaps because they don't use the grid themselves - used the same color for both the darker and lighter settings, which makes the grid become an ugly constrasting mess of thick solid squares:


    Because of this the Shelf now automatically detects when grid colors have not been properly defined and auto-corrects them:



  • Further improved hybrid Win32/UWP app handling.

  • Winstep applications are unique in their category because they're able to handle UWP apps in Windows 10 like normal Win32 applications.

    Some applications you find in the Windows Store are actually Win32 applications wrapped in a UWP package. This could cause problems when trying to pin them to the dock or to the taskbar: they would be pinned as a Win32 applications instead of UWP, which then prevented them from being launched properly.

    The previous release had already tackled this issue, but unfortunately it was not an universal solution. This version should handle the remaining hybrid Win32/UWP apps that were still not being properly recognized as such.


  • Automatic multi monitor profiles.

  • Added automatic multi-monitor profiles, allowing different objects (shelves, docks, etc...) to be at different positions and enabled/disabled for each monitor configuration.

    Multi monitor profiles are especially useful for users with laptops and a second monitor, who need two different profiles for when at home or on the road.


    Multi Monitor Profiles can be disabled in the General tab of Preferences.

  • New dock icon label settings dialog.

  • Users can now change the text effect applied (Normal, Outline, Shadow, Sharp, Emboss) and tinker with the text effect's opacity. It also allows users to preview the results immediately.


    To help preview results, the luminosity of the preview window background can be changed by rolling the mousewheel.

  • Faster Network Discovery.

  • Opening Network related tabs or menus (such as Network Connections) no longer blocks the application while Windows discovers all the network objects.
  • Copying sub-docks.

  • Sub-docks and their entire contents (including nested sub-docks, Grid Stacks, etc...) can now be copied by dragging & dropping a sub-dock icon while pressing the CTRL key.


  • New 'Downloads' tab type for Shelves, Drawers and Grid Stacks.
  • Old 'RAS Connections' tab type for Shelves, Drawers and Grid Stacks replaced with 'Connections' tab type.
  • Folder tab types can now be sorted in Ascending or Descending order.
  • Auto-hiding Shelves and Drawers can now also be activated with a screen edge swipe instead of a screen edge bump.
  • Faster thumbnail extraction of document, image and video files.
  • Many other performance and stability improvements! Please see complete change log below...


WorkShelf v18.12 complete change log:


  • Updated Portuguese language file.
  • In the Shelf/Drawer Transparency dialog, the user can now also specify that the tab text and control icons remain opaque. This allows making the Shelf or Drawer background fully transparent while still being able to switch to different tabs, collapse it, etc...
  • Floating label settings have now been moved to their own independent dialog, with immediate preview of changes.
  • Type of text effect applied to floating labels can now be specified (Normal, Outline, Shadow, Sharp, Emboss).
  • Opacity of the text effect applied to floating labels can now be specified.
  • The luminosity of the background color used in the label preview box can be changed with the mouse scroll wheel.
  • Improved sharpness of icon label text in Shelves and Drawers.
  • Moved the menu scaling setting to the Appearance tab of Docks, Shelves and Drawers Properties dialog.
  • 'Pin to Dock' right click menu option has been moved to the top of the menu.
  • Sub-docks attached to Shelves and Drawers are now properly named in context menus and in the Item Properties dialog as 'Sub-Docks'.
  • The right click context menu of a sub-dock attached to a Shelf or Drawer now more suitably says 'Delete sub-dock' instead of 'Remove from Shelf'.
  • Themes can now also specify the running indicator image by including a 'NxIndicator.png/.tif/.ico' bitmap file in the theme folder. The theme will only use that indicator bitmap, however, if the user has left the running indicator selection as 'Default' instead of specifically choosing an indicator from the list of available indicator bitmaps.
  • you can now specify 'No Label' for icon labels in Shelves and Drawers, at which point not even a floating label on mouseover is displayed.
  • The entire contents of sub-docks can now be copied by dragging & dropping a sub-dock icon while pressing the CTRL key.
  • Right clicking on a Folder item set to open as a menu and selecting Open from the context menu that pops up now opens the folder in Explorer.
  • The Browse for Folder feature now uses a more flexible version of the dialog.
  • Added new 'Grid Stacks'. Grid Stacks can be added as icons to docks, shelves and drawers. Like Shelf tabs, a Grid Stack can be one of many different types (Regular, Folder, Desktop, Recent, etc...). Like sub-docks, Grid Stacks are only kept open temporarily, until the user clicks somewhere else. The size of Grid Stacks is calculated automatically. Grid Stacks, like sub-docks, can be nested inside each other to as many levels as the user wants. Each Grid Stack has individual settings that can be accessed by right clicking the icon and selecting 'Grid Stack Properties'. To add a new Grid Stack, right click, select 'Add New Item', then Grid Stack then select the type of Grid Stack you want.
  • Added 'Convert to Grid Stack' option to the context menu of folders in docks and Regular Shelf tabs or Drawers.
  • Added 'Convert to Folder' to the context menu of folder type Grid Stacks.
  • Added 'change Folder' to the context menu of folder type Grid Stacks, to make it quicker to change the folder a 'folder type' Grid Stack is pointing to.
  • Added 'Downloads' (shows the contents of the Downloads folder) new tab type to Shelves, Drawers and Grid Stacks.
  • Replaced the old 'RAS Connections' tab type with new 'Connections' tab, showing all the available network connections on the sytem.
  • The user now always gets a confirmation dialog When deleting a sub-dock or Grid Stack regardless of the current delete confirmation settings.
  • Improved the icon caching mechanism.
  • Contents of Grid Stacks are now cached in memory after opening the Grid Stack for the first time.
  • The colors of the icon grid in Shelves and Grid Stacks are now calculated automatically when the original theme did not support them or the theme author did not set them correctly.
  • Added new 'Open folders in Grid Stacks' setting to Folder type tabs in a Shelf or Folder type Drawers and Grid Stacks. Opens all folders as a temporary Grid Stack when clicking on them - note that folders can still be opened in Explorer by right clicking and selecting Open or in a menu by right clicking and selecting 'Browse'.
  • Added 'Open as Grid Stack' option to the right click context menu of folders.
  • Deleting a 'Regular' type tab in the Contents tab of a Shelf Properties dialog now prompts for confirmation.
  • Changed the default Capture Delay of the Capture Desktop internal command from none to 5 seconds.
  • Added 'Ascending/Descending' settings to the Sort By options of tabs that can be sorted.
  • Opening Network related tabs (such as Network Connections) no longer blocks the application while Windows discovers all the network objects.
  • Grid Stacks can be detached by dragging them away from the original position. Detached Grid Stacks stay open until the user explicitily closes them.
  • Some previous per-dock/shelf settings are now global (i.e.; they apply to all docks and shelves): switch shelf mini-tabs, shift icons to insert, open sub-docks on mouseover, no final boing animation effect, close sub-docks on launch, no icon reflection on vertical sub-docks.
  • Added new 'Detach' sound event, played when a Grid Stack is detached.
  • Improved keyboard navigation of Shelves, Drawers and Grid Stacks.
  • Added new 'Quick Search Filter' to Shelves, Drawers and Grid Stacks. Simply start typing to start filtering content: a search box pops up so you can see what you are typing and know that content is currently being filtered. The ESC key can be used to terminate the filter and backspace to delete characters.
  • The Quick Search filter and be disabled in the More Options dialog of the Behavior tab of Shelves, Drawers and Grid Stacks. The color of the Quick Search filter can be customized in the same place.
  • A Shelf set to hide the tabs can now always be activated by screen edge bump or swipe.
  • A Shelf or Drawer docked to a screen edge and inverted can now also be expanded by pulling the bottom edge.
  • Pressing ESC on a Shelf/Drawer now collapses the Shelf Drawer. Pressing Enter when the Shelf/Drawer is collapsed expands it.
  • Some Shelf themes no longer appear as if the top of the Shelf body has been 'cropped' when the tabs are set to be left, centered, or right justified.
  • Windows shortcuts (.lnk files) to folders and now also be opened as Grid Stacks and browsed via menus.
  • Added automatic multi-monitor profiles, allowing different objects to be at different positions and enabled/disabled for each monitor configuration. Multi Monitor Profiles can be disabled in the General tab of Preferences.
  • Thumbnail extraction should now be much faster as it now uses the local Windows thumbnail cache when available.
  • Added new 'Reset Icon Cache' option to the Dock and Shelf Management sub-menu in the main right click context menu of Shelves, Drawers and Grid Stacks. It purges and rebuilds the internal icon cache
  • Fixed some lingering issues with pinning some Windows Store Apps to the dock.
  • Dragging a floating Drawer across the screen when collapsed by dragging it by the tab, would make it randomly jump all over, sometimes even going off screen.
  • When using a Dock and Shelf Management option to create a tab in a Shelf from a Drawer or a Dock, the application was asking the user to select a Shelf even if there was only one Shelf created.
  • Text greater than 10.pt with the outline and shadow effects was being rendered at a smaller size than it should.
  • The balloon tooltip was not displaying file information if the filename was enclosed in quotes.
  • Folder type menus invoked from a dock were still overlapping the dock icons when openning.
  • The Media Player icon in Shelves and Drawers was not accepting dropped audio files or folders.
  • Selecting 'Run As Administrator' from a context menu and then replying 'No' to the UAC prompt would result in a second UAC prompt appearing on a 64 bit system.
  • When deleting alarms in the Alarm Manager the alarm selection could jump to a different alarm than the next one on the list.
  • Fixed potential data loss issue where a sub-dock could be deleted when dragging it into a new position in the main dock.
  • An in-Shelf sub-dock could become 'stuck' and not open again until the application was restarted if a Shelf or Drawer was closed with a sub-dock still open.
  • Fixed issue that could cause the wrong item to be deleted when moving an item from one Shelf or Drawer to another.
  • Clicking on a Language Bar IC in a sub-dock to open the Language Bar menu was closing the sub-dock.
  • The 'Run As' and 'Open Folder in a Menu' item attributes where not being carried over when moving or copying items via drag & drop.
  • Clicking on a folder menu for the second time now closes the menu instead of closing it and immediately opening it again.
  • The arrows in the calendar desktop module were not being positioned properly when the module was scaled and also using a non-default theme.
  • Fixed issue displaying the icon of and the launching of some files with a filename containing non-ANSI characters.
  • Fixed issue with drag & drop of some files with a filename containing non-ANSI characters.
  • Text in the Shareware Reminder dialog was getting cropped at the end on high DPI systems.
  • When removing an item from a Shelf the confirmation prompt mentioned a Drawer instead.
  • Fixed minor memory leak when closing Shelfs, Drawers or Grid Stacks showing folders in the user's hard drive.
  • Fixed potential corruption if changing the contents of docks while also changing the contents of Shelves via the Contents tab of a Shelf Properties dialog.
  • Fixed access violation error that could happen when deleting the last file in a folder type tab and also an associated visual glitch where the icon disappeared only to re-appear immediately.
  • Sort By Date was only taking the date into consideration and ignoring the time.
  • When opening a 'Network' tab type in a Shelf or Grid Stack for the second time, items with exactly the same name would show identical icons.
  • Monochrome 1bit icons (i.e.; color bitmap) could crash the application.
  • Animated icons were not being properly colorized when icon colorization was applied.
  • Fixed issue where the blur region of a fully expanded Shelf could be displayed for a collapsed Shelf.
  • The left mini-tab symbol was not being positioned properly for Shelves/Drawers docked to the right screen edge.
  • Under some circustances a tab would still show when the Shelf/Drawer was collapsed even if 'Hide Tabs' was enabled.
  • Fixed Power Options icon in a Windows Control Panel tab appearing as a Question Mark icon.
  • When opening or closing a sub-dock, any particle animation launch effect in the parent dock would be cut short.
  • Deleting or moving a Shelf tab while the Shelf Properties dialog was open could lead to corruption and/or content loss of one or more Regular tabs in that Shelf.
  • Changes made to the properties of a Shelf tab while the Shelf Properties dialog was open would be lost.
  • Fixed minimum Drawer size calculation which could allow the tab header to become cropped with certain themes.
  • 'Disable menu scaling on high DPI settings' was no longer working properly after adding manual menu scaling in v18.10.
  • 'Disable Shelf scaling on high DPI settings' was not properly scaling font size after v18.8.
  • Selecting 'No Effect' in the Effects Panel and then clicking on the Effect Settings button would crash the application.


NextSTART v18.12 complete change log:


  • Updated Portuguese language file.
  • 'Pin to Taskbar' right click menu option has been moved to the top of the menu.
  • The Browse for Folder feature now uses a more flexible version of the dialog.
  • Changed the default Capture Delay of the Capture Desktop internal command from none to 5 seconds.
  • Added new 'Detach sub-menu' sound event, played when a sub-menu is detached.
  • The 'Network' sub-menu no longer takes a very long time to open nor does it freeze the application anymore until it opens.
  • Added new item type to invoke WorkShelf Grid Stacks. WorkShelf Grid Stacks can now be invoked/activated directly from NextSTART through hotspot buttons on the desktop, Quick Launch buttons in the taskbar, and even directly from menus.
  • Thumbnail extraction should now be much faster as it now uses the local Windows thumbnail cache when available
  • The WorkShelf Net Meter module attached to the taskbar would not display correctly when the taskbar was rotated.
  • Selecting 'Run As Administrator' from a context menu and then replying 'No' to the UAC prompt would result in a second UAC prompt appearing on a 64 bit system.
  • Fixed issue displaying the icon of and the launching of some files with a filename containing non-ANSI characters.
  • Fixed issue with drag & drop of some files with a filename containing non-ANSI characters.
  • Text in the Shareware Reminder dialog was getting cropped at the end on high DPI systems.
  • A taskbar set to auto-hide always appeared at the bottom of the screen instead of above other toolbars already reserving the same edge.
  • Monochrome 1bit icons (i.e.; color bitmap) could crash the application.
  • Fixed Power Options icon in a menu displaying the contents of the Windows Control Panel always appearing as a Question Mark icon.
  • The 'Disable menu scaling on high DPI settings' was no longer working properly after adding manual menu scaling in v18.10.

Archived News

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Winstep Xtreme v18.10 Released!

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Nexus Dock v10.9 Released!

October 8, 2010

Major release featuring nine new incredible dock mouseover effects, Windows 7 "Superbar" ability with window previews and aeropeek capability, and much more!

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Nexus featured at Download.com!

October 8, 2010

Nexus featured on the front page of Cnet's Download.com!

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Start Menu Organizer v1.4 Released!

August 9, 2010

Version 1.4 fixes an issue in which the Pro version of the program could stop when expanding the Administrative Tools group and adds support for 23 languages.

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Winstep Xtreme featured at Download.com!

July 18, 2010

Winstep Xtreme has been featured on the front page of Cnet's Download.com, not once, but twice!

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Winstep Xtreme v10.6 Final Released!

July 13, 2010

Roughly 1 year in the making, the official upgrade to Winstep Xtreme v9.5 is finally here!

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Nexus Dock v10.6 Released!

July 13, 2010

Maintenance release of our free popular Winstep Nexus dock.

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Winstep announces strategic alliance with Proxma AG!

July 13, 2010

Proxma AG will market Winstep products in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

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Start Menu Organizer v1.3 Released!

July 2, 2010

New version of the Winstep Start Menu Organizer featuring support for even more languages.

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Welcome to our new web site!

June 15, 2010

The Winstep web site gets a brand new face to match the quality of our products.

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