Take the look and feel of Windows 95 (and soon, 98) into your own hands
with WinSettings 97, a versatile, feature-packed utility that makes user options a snap to
customize. It has the function of several programs, tightly integrated into one, with
provision for creating wallpaper and desktop images, and customizing startup and shutdown
routines; for setting up background music programs; locating and changing system icons,
and even the ability to quickly create tray icons or context menu entries for your
favorite programs. (This latest version of WinSettings adds MP3 support. The music play
list can use MP3, WAV, and MID formats via DirectX 5.1 runtime-- more information in the
last paragraph of this review.)
WinSettings 97 places an program icon in the system tray, and you just access all the options and configuration setups from there. Double-click on it to get the Windows options window, which consists of index tabbed viewers: Tray Icons, Tray Icon Menus, WinSettings 97 Options , Screen Saver Corner, and About WinSettings 97. From here, select whichever function you're after. The Screen Saver Corner gives you a cool way to designate an activation hotspot for launching your saver. The WinSettings 97 Options contains startup choices for background music, splash screens, random/non-random display of strartup/shutdown screens and so forth. The tabs for creating tray icons or context-menu entries are self-explanatory in their use, and self-contained -- no need for those separate little apps we've been using to do this!
The WinSettings 97 context menu (accessed via right-click on tray icon) allows access to menu programs you've configured, program options, Help, Disk Information (e.g., drives installed, free space, etc.), Image Changer (e.g., wallpaper selection, playback, and previewer), Activate Screensaver, Background Music (e.g., start & stop playback, configure music collection), and Windows Configuration (e.g., specify basic and advanced boot options, shell icons, shell folders, and add/remove/modify registered filetypes).
The shell icon viewer in Windows Configuration really wins me over (no pun intended), since it lets you view all active icons for each program or filetype, their defaults, plus the contents of their associated icon files for quick scroll-though and preview. And the FileTypes function makes adding your own associations much easier than before.
If you like to tinker with Windows, WinSettings 97 is a great erector set -- plus you can listen to music while using your CD player for something else. I tried out every feature, and there were no mysteries, conflicts, or failures (oh, if we could say that about Windows itself). WinSettings uses DirectX 5.1 runtime DLLs to play multimedia files, which you may already have, if you've installed multimedia titles or Internet Explorer). However, if you do need these DLLs, you can download the file DXMWRAP.EXE directly from the product website's download page. (I suggest this, since the Microsoft DirectX update page now posts version 5.2, which in my case isn't compatible with my video card -- but version 5.1 works fine.)
WinSettings is free to try, fully functional, for 30 days. I added up how many programs you could replace with this single application, so simple arithmetic says the $34.95 price tag is a pretty good deal.
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