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Aston 2.0.3 Giveaway

Giveaway of the day — Aston 2.0.3

Aston is an original shell replacement for Windows - you can use it as a whole and customize every desktop element the way you like.
$29.95 EXPIRED
User rating: 340 (42%) 478 (58%) 54 comments

Aston 2.0.3 was available as a giveaway on December 1, 2010!

Today Giveaway of the Day
free today
Simple, easy to use and continuous backup of all your files!

Aston is an original shell replacement for Windows - you can use it as a whole and customize every desktop element the way you like. Aston hotkey manager, floating widgets, main menu and panels let you get easy access to files, folders and applications on your choice.

Aston offers the completely unique approach with yet unseen features and themes with 3D animated themes, skins and wallpaper. Every element of Aston: main menu, desktop, panels - can be tweaked and customized, thus letting one create the most convenient working area. Themes and skins for Aston are available for download on the official Aston shell site.

Best improvement ideas will be rewarded with the keys and one-year updates for all titles from Gladiators Software. Use Idea Informer widget to submit your feedback and do not forget to fill in your name and e-mail – otherwise the Developer will not be able to contact you in case you are the one to win!

System Requirements:

Windows XP/ 2003/ Vista/ 7 (x32/x64) / 2008


Gladiators Software



File Size:

16.3 MB



GIVEAWAY download basket

Bring back the Start button and menu to Windows 8.
Developed by Microsoft
Create custom shortcuts for popular programs.
Developed by Stardock Corporation

Comments on Aston 2.0.3

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Anyone unincstalled therir Aston? I was wonderig if I could he a cheapskae and use ur activation number for X64 activations. Cause currently u can only get 32x running for free - I don't know what to depompile and edit with plannels64.dll desktop64.dll and manu64.dll

Reply   |   Comment by Roger Wilco  –  5 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (0)

To respond to my earlier comment (#31)
full desktop / toolbar / start menu / sidebar work on vista (I just needed to restart - serves me right for always hibernating).
With only the start menu / side bar, my system seemed to run quicker, but with full desktop skins it's marginally slower.
But still some great designs / visual effects, and no difficulty switching between Aston / Windows desktop

As a student, $30 seems like a lot to pay for a mere desktop shell, but having tried it, I would definitely consider purchasing it for any future computer if only for the friendly interface and cool effects.

One downside, though, (and I might simply be being picky), but when I arrange my Aston desktop (placing short cuts into the folders at the top of the screen), then switched back to Windows desktop, the shortcuts which I had put in the folder did not appear on my Windows desktop anywhere. Perhaps make a record of the shortcuts which the user has placed in the folder, but without removing them from the Windows desktop folder... then display the contents of the windows desktop minus the shortcuts which are in the folder.

Thanks for this great giveaway.

Reply   |   Comment by Ben  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+1)

@ newbie (#50): To switch shells, run "C:\your\path\to\Aston2\ShellSwp.exe". Or, run regedit.exe, find the string value named "shell" in the key "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon", and change that value to "explorer.exe". (Which is what ShellSwp.exe does.) Or, rename "shell" to something else, to "Aston_shell" for example, without changing its value, then log out and log in; restore the name to "shell" to return to Aston2. (Or, just delete the value named "shell" altogether.)

@ geezer (#43): To add Aston2 as the custom shell for your Limited account, run "C:\your\path\to\Aston2\A2Master.exe" from that account. The Activation Wizard will appear with your license key. Once activated, Aston2 will be the shell for that account at the next logon. Or, start > Run... > regedit.exe from your Limited account, find the key "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon", and create a String Value named "shell" with the value '"C:\your\path\to\Aston2\Aston2.exe"'. (Include the double quotes in the path.) Log out, log in, activate.
NB: Today this fails for a new account on the same machine ("Server message: 'This key was invalidated.'"). Contact Aston. Their license says that the license is good for one "system" (whether they mean one machine or one OS on the machine, idk), but evidently they've locked it to the user account instead. (Oops!)

@ Ben (#2): Same NSIS error (twice) installing to XP Home - the nullsoft installer decided that the payload was corrupted and stopped - but a second copy downloaded from GOTD with the same MD5 hash installed without incident. No changes to firewall or antivirus (COMODO, Avast), so this is probably a nullsoft bug (http://nsis.sourceforge.net/Why_do_I_get_NSIS_Error).

@ bachupan (#17): Same error (once) activating Aston2. The program was installed, it just failed to verify the license key. In my case the program stalled for a full minute before creating a socket, then the connection timed out before the program was activated. Either try activating it again, or use one of the other activation options that are listed. (You'll have to contact Aston for support now that the GOTD has expired.)

@ aRenegade (#19): Opinions differ; surely you've discovered this before now. An ad hominem attack on Ashraf (#1) won't convince people to use your product, and if you aren't interested in unvarnished feedback from users, then what did you hope to gain by giving the product away here?

@ Torny (#20): Don't know what a2inject.dll does, but no doubt it's active and can't be overwritten while the (old) Aston shell is running. If Lyle's (#16) suggestion doesn't work for you (I don't understand how he was able to install anything through the GUI after he killed the shell process), switch to the default explorer.exe shell and then install the update. (A day late and a dollar short, so you'll have to contact Aston and explain your situation, too.)

@ Chandrasekar (#27): Crashed trying to enumerate the printers (all virtual; no physical printers were attached). Stalls and appears to crash (but doesn't) sometimes as services start after logon. However, the start menu starts immediately and doesn't lose focus and close every time a startup app loads as does the standard WinXP menu. For that, I'll tolerate a few crashes (for now).

@ Chris (#24): Haven't had to log off to download and install a skin in WinXP Home. Which OS is this happening on?

@ Jennifer (#32): Yow! I'll bet that was really frustrating! Did you run Aston's uninstaller first? Revo (http://www.revouninstaller.com/) didn't have any trouble, but then it runs the apps uninstaller before it removes anything itself. Probably the Aston shell app was deleted, but the registry still listed the app as the user shell, which meant no GUI for you. (Ladies and gentlemen, please don't delete a shell while its running.)

@ meh (#39): +1 on the themes (though I did like the blooming flower in the Valentine theme), but evidently you haven't used Emerge yet. Good luck with that.

@ AstonShell: First, thank you for the menu. Unlike the default WinXP start menu, it doesn't lose focus to startup apps and close while I'm trying to use it, and that saves me about 2 minutes per logon and a whole lot of frustration. I also like that the menus stay open until one of the windows is focused - very annoying for the menu to fold up when the cursor strays off of the menu while you're three submenus deep.

I'm not so keen on the way the filesystem has been integrated into the start menu, though, because (1) I use xplorer2 and not Windows Explorer as my file browser, so until I figure out how to specify the file browser this feature isn't useful to me; (2) There isn't any way to directly open a folder - you can right-click and "Open" or "Explore" the folder from the context menu, but you can't simply click or double-click the folder name to open the folder, and there's no ".\" or equivalent listed in the submenu; and (3) I have some very disorderly folders (including My Documents), which stall the menu app the first time they're opened. Better if the menu didn't insist on building the folder submenus even after I've moused past them.

I did like the way Control Panel apps are listed in a submenu until I discovered that I couldn't right-click them in a Limited account and "Run as" an Administrator. Please, do do that sudo that you do so well.

The Win3D/Flip task switcher would be great if it were only faster - it takes a full 2 seconds to load the snapshots in WinXP, while WinFlip from TokyoDownstairs is nearly instantaneous. As it is, it's no substitute for the default Alt+Tab task switcher. (But since it uses a different hotkey, it doesn't have to be. Thanks!)

The mechanics of installing and uninstalling the app and switching shells needs to be improved, or at least better documented. My #1 concern when installing a new shell is, How am I gonna get rid of it if something goes wrong? (1) Somewhere in the readme.txt (and preferably on a splash screen, too) should be a link to clear instructions for how to switch back to explorer.exe, and how to uninstall Aston without borking the computer. (2) I and geezer both ended up with a new shell on an XP Administrator account and not on a Limited account when what we really wanted for safety's sake was exactly the opposite. Aston gets points for not installing as the default shell, but loses them again for not asking which user account(s) should use the new shell. (3) Exposing one license number for the app to all user accounts while activating (or not) the app on a per-account basis may be an oversight, but it's annoying and troublesome in an app that, as an end user, you want never to fail.

Reply   |   Comment by pfk2  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+1)

I got caught by the same problem as Steve. I've installed other alternate shells before, so I honestly thought the logout was to reload the shell and only to reload the shell.

I also assumed that the lack of username or registration numbers in the download zip readme meant that this was a giveaway where that was automatically handled through the installer, which has happened in the past.

This isn't just a potential problem for those who installed this giveaway, but for any regular customer who buys this program. There needs to be something in the installer that notes the username and registration code will be required after the logout and login, as well as that there's a need for an internet connection at that point. It was just a bigger problem for us since now our registration code is invalid.

Reply   |   Comment by megaforte84  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+1)

i loaded aston yesterday onto my laptop... this morning it asks me for an activation key and told me i had 30 days to activate...

one might say i shouldnt complain about something free and i would agree, however if i were critiqueing on the surface this seems like a great program, but i felt baited and switched.

Reply   |   Comment by Steve  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+3)

Help for a newbie please..
I installed this and now I would like to know if there is a way to just switch back to my regular Windows 7 screen. ( without uninstalling)
In the last Aston there was a simple way. I can't see it in this version.
Thanks for any help.

Reply   |   Comment by cagey  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+2)

Re: #19, aRenegade

Are you 'reviewing' Ashraf, the GOTD, or?

Besides some really cool free stuff at his site, Ashraf provides at least a 1000% more insight with his reviews than you ever have... so unless you have an opinion based on personal use of the GOTD, maybe just stfu.

The world already has enough negativity, including narcissists, cynics and little man syndrome sitting anonymously behind a keyboard... and then there is that karma thing. ;)

After installing and since I am running multiple machines with various OS versions, I still prefer the well used to Windows Classic shell; I know where and how everything is by simple shortcut keys that are consistent across all machines.

Reply   |   Comment by David Joseph  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+5)

Aston2 quadrupled the size of the icons on my desktop and the size of the "widgets" was way, way, way too big, even after increasing the monitor resolution twice. I could find no way in Aston2 to make adjustments. Uninstalling left behind 4 registry entries and an empty folder in the installation directory. Sorry, Gladiators, I think you need to sharpen your weapons . . .or programming....

Reply   |   Comment by hipockets  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+4)

I reinstalled again, and it seems the third time is the charm after all :)

The start menu is working again, and this time when I have logged back in (after the install, where it tells you to log out) there was an activation wizard to activate to the full version. This did NOT come up the first two times I have installed.

Since the program did not indicate that it had not activated, I would not have known if i did not check the about box. The giveaway activator (runs before you can install) says activated when it has only been installed, so there would be no way to know until it was to late :(

If you did not get the activation wizard up when you logged back in, I would suggest you reinstall the program, or at least check the about box to make sure.

I would suggest to the GOTD Team, that when there is just setup and not a seperate activate.exe to run, that the readme should say if there is more needed to activate, since the program install causes the activator to say it is activated when it is not.
This way the user would know if there was supposed to have been an activation wizard comming up, as it is with this giveaway.

The readme could have said, run setup to install the program, then the activation wizard of Aston will come up after logging back in. Follow its instruction to activate.
This would have told me right then that something had gone wrong, when the wizard did'nt come up.

Reply   |   Comment by Toris  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+2)

I have version 2 from the last giveaway. Is there much difference in these versions to justify the update? If so, would it be best for me to uninstall the old version first?

Reply   |   Comment by Evangela  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (0)

I ran the setup as instructed and it claimed to have activated, but when I click on the About, it says 30 days left on everything except the Aston Menu from before?
This is what the about says:

AstonMenu GOTD license
AstonPanel: 30 days left
AstonDesktop: 30 days left

Also, when I try to run anything from the start menu it says I do not have perrmissions windows cannot access?

Reply   |   Comment by Toris  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+1)

@#23 Rick C: To repeat what has been said here many times before, one of the reasons developers offer their products here is to obtain an honest user opinion about whether the price they have set is a 'good' one.

In other words, to answer the question: Having tried the full version of our software (and for free!), would you have paid the $x we normally charge for it?

So please don't diss other people for commenting on the software's price and whether it seems a fair price to them (or not)! That is very valuable (priceless? :D) feedback to a developer, and at the risk of belabouring a point, it is one reason why developers continue to be willing to offer their programs to you here for free for a 24-hour period.

Reply   |   Comment by Cad  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+6)

OK, I may have missed something here ... It requires admin privileges to install and then it installs for the admin account only? The admin account is the one I don't want it for ... Looks neatish though.

Reply   |   Comment by geezer  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+2)

I don't understand all the negative comments. This desktop skinning program looks really cool and has several nice improvements on locating files just by hovering over lists. It may not be original to some, but I think it displays tasteful and elegant design and execution. I expected a system slowdown because of the graphical interface but just the opposite was true. The desktop is as snappy if not snappier than before.

Reply   |   Comment by Franklin Moore  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+1)

Thank you so much. The best program I have used so far from GOTD. The downloadable skins are amazing-great for the whole family. Easy to set-up and install. Have installed now on all 4 computers in my house running everything from XP 32 bit, to Windows 7 64 bit and Everything went smoothly. Once again thanks for a great program.

Reply   |   Comment by Sharon  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (0)

@23 Rick, While its free here, feedback is an essential part of the process and informing the manufacturer of legitimate reasons or even just your feelings about price, are a helpful part of that process.
Whether the user may become a buyer of future versions or just to represent the point of view of people like him/her in the regular market-place.

Reply   |   Comment by Adam Murphy  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+4)

I looked on the Aston site and I didn't like any of the themes. Zero. Nada. None. The problem is that Aston just make things look kind of cheesy for me. Something like Litestep, while requires more fiddling and comes with a steeper learning curve, was much more elegant looking and satisfying to use (not to mention it's freeware). I just did a simple Google search and there's already something that looks better and being freeware- Emerge Desktop.

The Aston guys have some ways to go to convince me to switch over.

Reply   |   Comment by meh  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+3)

Okay so I've been running into problems with this software all day today. I run Windows 7 x64 Home Premium on my laptop and first I suppose it should be mentioned that I downloaded the Aston Menu GAOTD offered here several weeks ago and fell in love with it. Maybe that's why I'm running into problems with installing and implementing the shell, but I've uninstalled the menu it and installed Aston 2 but still no luck. Every time I've uninstalled and installed 2.0.3 over and over again all I get is the Aston Menu, nothing else. None of the widgets, none of the skins, no panels, nada. I've messed around with the preferences and logged off and logged on more times than I'd care to count just to see if I missed something and if the changes would take effect, but to no avail... Although it is worth mentioning that the second last time I did the whole uninstall Aston 2/install Aston 2/set Aston preference to override default system menu & taskbar/logged off/and finally logged on again after that billionth painstaking time, I noticed a difference in the Aston settings menu. All the previous times there was no "Panels" tab available. Kinda excited over this new tab that wasn't there before, I messed with those settings too, unticking and ticking anything and everything that could get the rest of the shell going, and logged off/on... only to be disappointed again. And now finally I've un/reinstalled for the last time I can bear and big surprise, I have no freakin Aston Shell actually running from the install offered here except for the menu. Which is really a shame because I'm loving the look of the shell. Anywhoo, I'm hoping for some help/support on shedding a light on this? And if not then at least a repeat of this offer later on down the road cuz I've noticed a few other error reports mentioned among the above comments. Although I haven't gotten any errors or reports yet... just an install that isn't running the whole package? But it is worth mentioning that another possible problem i saw was the activation. I must've run the activation license wizard a million and one times each and every time I ended up re-downloading this software and it would show the GAOTD popup in the end saying it was activated, but one right click on the Aston syst tray icon showed otherwise with that stupid "Enter license key" sign never disappearing. Now did it actually run activation successfully? I don't know. The GAOTD popup says so, but the fact that it's still asking me for activation tells me otherwise? I guess I'll find out in about 6 hours or whenever the GAOTD offer expires. You know what would really suck though? If it turned out there actually WAS a bug with the activation wizard too or something and like the billion times I ran activation on this shell today was useless and if when I wake up in the morning 12 hours from now and boot up my laptop I'll find that I lost the Aston menu too that I'd grown used to and come to love, all because of this stupid install today that has been the buggiest thing ever!! Hopefully the problems with the install will get sorted out, if not tonight, then later on down the line.
Sorry if this is a long whiney post, I was kinda super excited over the Aston shell and this has been the biggest disappointing GAOTD ever so far..

Reply   |   Comment by Joel Thomas  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+2)

Thanks for the great report, Ashraf! Good to see you back and sharing your knowledge. Your reports help me make my decisions on whether or not I should download the program.

Aston has a very good reputation which means one can download without a lot of worry about registry tampering, etc. This is a great program for those that like to "play" with their computer's appearance and/or usefulness.

Thanks GOATD for another great program.

Reply   |   Comment by Foxylady559  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (-2)

@3 and 10

Comparing Aston with Windowsblinds and/or using a hacked DLL to modify the native Windows Shell via themes is comparing apples and oranges. Neither are the same thing.

All either of you are doing is modifying the native shell which is completely different from replacing the shell.

Aston is a complete shell replacement not an application used to decorate Explorer which is the name of the native Windows Shell. When Aston is being used Explorer is not even loaded or used in any way.

However you can easily switch back and forth between the two if you choose to do so which is why you need to Log Off. When you log off Windows unloads one shell and loads the other which will then be used when you log back on.

That said, I've used Aston for years. I've found it to be faster and more repsonsive than Explorer due to it's light code which has none of the massive bloat found in Explorer. In addition I believe it to be more stable.

Over the years I've tried many shell replacements for Explorer and Aston is the best I've ever used.

Reply   |   Comment by Syd Barret  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+5)

Definite improvement over the version 2.0 that was previously made available via GAoTD:

* Function keys ctrl+a (select all), F2 (rename) and F5 (refresh) are now working in Explorer windows.

* Shift+rightclick now works in the menu, to show the otherwise-hidden context menu items.

Good improvements, Aston!

I'm still inspecting this new release, may comment further later today.

Reply   |   Comment by Scott2  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+2)

On WinXP? - OK (modern, efficient shell, features available in Vista or Win7). But on Win7...? :-/ Not ergonomic, duplicated functions and little buggy shell? No, thanks. I chose sTabLauncher (without Babylon ;) & patch uxtheme.dll. Hang the shell on Win7 64bit its.. very difficult. Hang the shell of Aston2 - few moves mouse :D

Reply   |   Comment by viatron  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (0)

I wouldn't touch Aston ever again. I downloaded the Aston menu from Giveaway not long ago and spent a day trying to get rid of it.

Just for the record, I followed the installation and activation instructions to the letter (as I've always done and never had any problems), it told me it was installed and activated but kept flashing a window demanding a code but wouldn't accept the code when it was inserted. After this went on for about ten tries, I gave up and decided to uninstall the product (again, something I've never had any trouble doing until Aston).

Even a sophisticated uninstall program was unable to get rid of a number of the Aston files. I had to search manually to delete several of them in order to clean it up.

Strangely, and it may or may not have anything to do with Aston... but I was unable to reboot my computer again. I had to reinstall the operating system (losing everything in the process).

So, thank you, but no thank you.

Reply   |   Comment by Jennifer  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+3)

Works well on vista, but for the toolbar...
Does anyone know if its possible to use a custom toolbar on vista?
Help is greatly appreciated.

Reply   |   Comment by Ben  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (0)

To #19 aRenegade:

Ashraf has a website of his own. Why don't you go there to criticize him, instead of wasting everybody's time here? We are able to make our own decisions as to whose comments we like and dislike. Note your comment rating. Compare it to his.

Reply   |   Comment by Conch  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+4)

For a guy that doesn't like cheesy bangles and useless bling. The functionality of this thing is actually quite nice. Now if I could only figure out how to shrink the icon size, I'd be tickled pink.

The reason I decided to give it a try is because the explorer shell is such a memory hog. Here's hoping this thing does what it says. currently the memory it is using is less than 10% of what the explorer shell hogs up.

So far so good.

Reply   |   Comment by Alex  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+2)

@ 18
I had the Aston Menu installed from previous giveaway too. No problem installing todays giveaway anyway.

To be quite honest, I am not sure whether this giveaway replaced the previous one or they are now working in tandem on my computer. What I DO know is that after I downloaded todays giveaway, I had no problem setting it up so that only the start menu was functioning, and the rest of aston was not working. Only change is that I now have the option to turn the rest of Aston on as well, whereas I previously only had the start menu.

(Terribly sorry about any bad language here, I have been writing in my native tongue all day, and for some reason I find it kind of hard to revert to English.)

Reply   |   Comment by Spredo  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+4)

Good one
However Aston crashes at times (twice for me) [in this case windows task bar appears and no hindrance to actual work]
Otherwise good productivty tool with Panel , widget not consuming much memory.

Reply   |   Comment by Chandrasekar  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+3)

I loaded this to see what it is like because Aston does a pretty nice job on their other products. (I currently have the Aston Start running on my laptop.)

I am not a fan of this because it is not compatible with two other programs I use on my desktop (Fences Pro and a Taskbar enhancer). This program will be beautiful to some people, but I prefer simplicity and functionality over eye candy.

Reply   |   Comment by Friendinme  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+4)

Aston 2 takes a modular approach to desktop & start menu eye candy that can boost your productivity -- if for example using one of its widgets means you don't have to fire up your browser to get the same info, say the local weather, than you've just saved time. Those sorts of small savings can add up, but truth be told, you could most likely add whatever widget without bothering with the eye candy -- it's just an excuse to help justify making your Windows look less like Microsoft's. That said, it doesn't cost a lot, both being free today on GOTD & resource-wise -- the big drain I experienced in XP was that the Microsoft AV software was often *Very* busy because of Aston running.

Modular in the case of Aston 2 means click any shown widget or panel to delete it, make it go away. Right click the desktop to add one wherever you clicked. The same holds true more-or-less for the start menu, but Be Careful -- I never was able to put things completely back. Modular also means you can change the appearance of most anything, though to read the manuals & tutorials linked on the Aston site it's anything but easy -- not too big a con since there are complete themes to download & use, modified or as-is. According to the Aston site upload one & get a free license. The only thing I found difficult was finding the sweet spot with my right click on things like the launch bar (at the center top of your screen) to make it go away.

Most of the work running Aston is setting it up at first to your liking... right click the taskbar icon or go through the start menu to access preferences, where you can customize what's shown on your initial start menu view (before you open the list of installed apps), lock/unlock widgets in place, & do things like set animation speed -- I almost forgot that from XP on most things like menu drop-downs & windows opening are animated, but the delay is set to such a short amount of time, & PCs have gotten so fast, I don't notice anymore... the default slower speed Aston uses reminded me. Installation itself is easy since the registration key is already filled in -- start Aston 2 & a wizard opens that leads you through connecting to the company's servers & activating your copy (based on your PC's or laptop's ID). Info on your setup, skins etc. is stored in a folder under User App or Application Data, while the program's folder itself takes up ~19 MB in 150 files, 12 folders for XP -- slightly less in 7. Monitoring install Win7 had 491 new registry entries, XP 310. Task Mgr didn't show any CPU activity with just Ashton 2 running, jumping up a slight bit whenever I accessed the start menu -- XP showed a constant drain until I deleted the widgets, but regardless the AV software made everything lag bad enough it was barely usable. [BTW, that was just the real-time scanning, not a virus scan].

Personally I usually love this sort of eye candy when I 1st set it up & start using it, but quickly grow tired (or bored) & put things back -- 'cause of that I think today's GOTD is a great offer if you think you *might* like to spice your desktop up a bit, since at zero cost you get an almost risk-free chance to try living with it -- you can always uninstall, or just turn it off until there's someone you want to impress.

Reply   |   Comment by mike  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+6)

NICE! Very helpful, the skins are clean and easy to use. The only annoying thing is the log off to have the new downloaded skins be activated..

Reply   |   Comment by Chris  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+1)

@ Scott #3 Overpriced?? It's a FREE download cost $0 dollars how can you thumbs up or down it, unless you exactly tried it. Did you ?
I wish people would stop giving negative remarks about the price on
GOAD. When your not paying anything for it in the first place...

Reply   |   Comment by Rick C.  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (-17)

$ 30 for the year ...?
Thank you and giving up.

Reply   |   Comment by Mentor  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (-3)


I give up Aston 2.03.
Nothing serious after my last post, and except from the constant nagging "close all open programs and log of for the changes to take effect", this giveaway seems to work.

But, for some reason, I did not like most of it. (It had something to do with the GUI, I guess. I know what I like...)

So, I go back to my Aston Menu with crystal breeze -skin and my Stardoc fences-desktop. (Free version http://www.stardock.com/products/fences/index.asp )

Gives me a start menu I like, and the means to organize my desktop and get it more or less clutter free.

Reply   |   Comment by Spredo  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+5)

"Error while installing in Win XP SP 3…

I had earlier installed Aston 2.0 when it was offered here,and when I installed this I got this error:

Error Opening File for Writing:

C:\Program Files\Aston2\Dll\a2inject.dll

Uninstalling the previous version (2.0) and reinstalling it didn’t solve the problem either.Getting the same error message.

Any Help?"

same error here on xp pro (regular xp pro not developers version)..but what i did was with internet connection on..install it twice in a row (and use ignore on that partilcular error...so can get it regged today..thats the important part right (since i can probally find that file in a trial version)?..then i regged via webbrowser and i put the code in and everything regged
and did the whole log out and log in stuff and its working...still going to check out the dll file but so far good and stable without it 10 minutes later

I strongly recommend this download be reoffered soon, with the fixed file ;)

BTW it does NOT conflict with menu or with the trial version (Expired since i dont know about unexpired)...:D

Reply   |   Comment by Torny  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+4)

@#1ashraf – This is a much better program than you make it out to be. The items on your “Bad” list are so generalized and so subjective, it’s takes “sad” to a whole new level. Let’s look at a couple representative examples from your Bad Listof today’s GOTD.

-- “Lacks an easy way to revert skins to default settings."

Taking a minute or two for reading the support material, that procedure is no harder than most other alternative programs of this type. And “lacks an easy way” to who? A casual User? A poweruser? Or just to you? Suggestion - Perhaps reading the support materials along with more hands-on time might improve and lessen misconceptions about a GOTD.

Another good example from a “Bad” list:

-- “Event Manager needs to be more easily accessible.”

Could you be more specific? When you wrote “easily accessible” did you mean to you, to me, your cousin, to another user, or perhaps a larger than you and I population of users? Most of the time developers write commercial software programs for a larger than one person audience; The needs of the many are greater than the needs of the one. Nitpicking either has some hidden motive, or the nitpicker really doesn’t understand what they’re doing. There is an old metaphor that I believe is applicable here, ”If you can’t dazzle people with brilliance, then try to baffle them with manure from a male cow.”

To finalize here, it’s no secret that 20 to 30 minutes before GOTD releases the fully functional program for that day, you receive an email regarding what the give-away will be. That leaves you with installing a developers less than fully functional trial version, which most here know can be like day verses night to the fully functional program. By racing to get that first post in of the day, I believe you’re missing an golden opportunity to better your so-called “reviews.” On most occasions, doing a couple hours worth of hands on work with a Fully Functional Program, and reading what other visitors have been saying up until that point; could allow you to be more observant with that GOTD and move some of the bad to good, the good to bad, or just leave the bad to where it is, etc.

People talented enough to review software don’t need to plead for people to visit their website. No one will find anywhere on the internet someone from GOTD going to anyone else’s site to plug GOTD by writing a tease. Your “bad” list is so highly subjective any “Verdict and Recommendation Please Click Here” will only leads a someone from the safety of this website to read a personal opinion. It takes at least a couple hours for a legitimate reviewer to thoroughly use a program to write a good, bad, verdict, and recommendation type review. But I suppose when someone is copying another writers format and getting free ad space on someone else’s website I guess the only thing that matters is that hit count to their personal website for the reward points. So always remember, every time you go for the bait and are taken “For final verdict, recommendations, and full review” when you “please click here”, you could be helping someone get a sweet 42” Sony Plasma TV with 5.1 Channel Surround w/1000 watt Sub. And every time that person sits back in their favorite chair with a bowl of popcorn and a beverage to watch a movie they’ll be saying to themselves with a smile on their face, “Thanks GOTD for the free ad space and to your loyal visitors who jacked-up my hit counter and made this all possible...”

Reply   |   Comment by aRenegade  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (-33)

I already have Aston Start Menu installed. Should that be uninstalled so as not to conflict with this bigger Aston 2 shell program? Don't want a conflict between the two. And, if I uninstall Aston Start Menu then I can't reinstall it later because it's a giveaway-of-the-day. So, what to do?

Reply   |   Comment by starvinmarvin  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+9)

Win XP sp3

Downloaded the file, but could not install it.

Error message: Failed to connect. Please try again later.

Any ideas so as to why this happens ?

Reply   |   Comment by bachupan  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+1)

Downloaded Aston 2 last time and have really liked it. Went ahead and installed the update (don't see any real difference, but I've not played with it that much either, though I did temporarily installed some of the Christmas Themes and active desktops for fun before reverting back to my original setup). The trick to installing it as an is to open Task Manager and close Aston2.exe. Was able to keep all my settings from my previous Aston install then. All in all, I've been quite happy using Aston2 on my XP VM (keeping my Win7 host alone; lol). I mainly using my VM for everything Internet anyway. Thanks GAOTD for all that you've giving away to me over the years. Thanks to Aston too for snazing up my desktop. :)

Reply   |   Comment by Lyle  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+1)

will i be able to keep my "glass" effects in win7? does anyone know of a program to make my taskbar completely transparent? think it would be cool to have the start button/taskbar icons just "there" if you get my drift. will be trying this later on in the day after reading more comments. have had bad experiences with other shell replacements and am nervous. :)

Reply   |   Comment by indianacarnie  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (-8)

Downloaded OK. As expected.

Installed with a bit of difficulty. I allready had Aston Start Menu, so I had to stop that. (No big surprise). Then I was told to LOG OFF. (Log off to install a program? But OK, I do as I am told).

Log of. Log on. Install program. Problem with my antivirus "Might seem like your antivirus is not accepting changes in the registry". Turned off antivirus (no, this is NOT a good idea, I know). Program installed. ("please log off". No surprise there either)

Log in. NO change in computer from befor installing Aston. Realized this was because I had set the previous version of this program (lost due to a reinstall of windows 7) to only use Aston Start Menu.

OK, fixed that. ("please log off").

This was when things took a turn to the worse. Logged on. Got the whole Aston Package. Wanted to change Aston preferences. (right click on taskbar, select Aston, select Aston preferences). Nothing happened. Tried again. Nothing.

Found an Aston Icon on my desktop. Clicked it. Computer froze. Totally! Brutal reboot.

NOW things seem to be working. But I am a bit hesitant to make changes in Aston, I really do NOT like a frozen computer.

Thinking really hard about going back to Aston Start Menu (that I love) and abandon the rest of this (because I do not trust it at the moment)

Will try it a bit longer and see, but...

Reply   |   Comment by Spredo  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+17)

i can't believe the negative vote against this programme you can get loads of cool skins (invasion and holographic room etc)the default one which comes with the download would make it negative but overall it is a great application try it before you dismiss it.

Reply   |   Comment by stoofer  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+1)

For those of you who don't really understand what this program does, see...


...for an explanation, and lists of open source and proprietary alternatives (including 'Aston').

I've tried a lot of shell replacements over the years, and have yet to find one I consider suitable for completely replacing Window's Explorer shell (unfortunately).

Reply   |   Comment by Conch  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+26)

Installed fine and looks really cool. However no shortcuts worked after install, either on my desktop or on the start/quick launch menus. I'm not sure if it's a glitch with win 7 64bit or something else. I have customized a lot of things already on this computer. I'll try it again later on a fresh install of windows.

Reply   |   Comment by Jared  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+3)

As I've mentioned before, I love customizing my computer and have done so since Windows 95/98. Aston Shell is one of the programs I've toyed with but never felt the need to buy.

Here's why, although it's a snazzy looking desktop you get with Aston Shell, it doesn't skin your window borders. It only skins the desktop and that's it. Which in itself isn't bad, as it gives you some useful desktop widgets as well as a couple of new features.

However, it doesn't appeal to me as I like the way I have my computer set up now.

I'm running a patched UXtheme.dll. Doesn't cost me a dime.
I'm also running Rainmeter which is free. (Alternative is Konfabulator aka Yahoo! Widget Engine)
Finally, I'm running Rocketdock.

This drastically changes the way my computer looks and doesn't use much resources. Plus, it's 100% free.

But don't get me wrong. Like I said Aston Shell is a nice little program, just that it won't appeal to all of us. But if you're new to desktop skinning, give it a try. Maybe it'll lead you on to new things. :)

Oh, it installed and registered just fine on my not so new Windows 7 laptop. It also runs smoothly even with all the animations on.

Reply   |   Comment by Duncan  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+20)

I like their shell for the desktop and menu on my Windows 7 PC. When Aston products have been reviewed here before, they have been highly regarded, both in comments and ratings. I am surprised to find such a reversal this time. Few comments, yet almost 200 ratings. It doesn't seem to fit the earlier reviews and ratings at all...

Reply   |   Comment by Rick Siegert  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+1)

Amalgamate with AltDesk to let you switch between the standard desktop shell and others using Aston Menu.

Reply   |   Comment by Andrew Greer  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+3)

Does anyone know if this version of Aston supports all standard windows shortcuts?
In the previous version ctrl+a and F2 did not work for instance.

Do they work now?

Reply   |   Comment by Egon  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (0)

I thought i had done with desktop modification, preferring instead to keep things clean and simple.
However this product intrigued me and soI decided to give it a try.
First impression... awesome! great looking themes, smooth installation,slick transitions and the design certainly adds functionality for me.
Installed on windows 7 64bit with no problems to report so far.
I think the themes look best on a large monitor as the gadgets could become cluttered on a small desktop but you always have the option of what you use.
The default windows desktop changer overrides the aston desktop picture, this can be disabled but for me I like that as I prefer a static wallpaper rather than an animated one, it can be distracting.

DEFINATELY worth a try!

Reply   |   Comment by jim hudson  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+10)

Error while installing in Win XP SP 3...

I had earlier installed Aston 2.0 when it was offered here,and when I installed this I got this error:

Error Opening File for Writing:

C:\Program Files\Aston2\Dll\a2inject.dll

Uninstalling the previous version (2.0) and reinstalling it didn't solve the problem either.Getting the same error message.

Any Help?

Reply   |   Comment by Karthik  –  12 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+9)
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