Review: Krento is a productivity-boosting launcher and Start-menu replacement
For most of us, it's no big deal launching programs and websites, nor opening files and directories. Click a shortcut here, a bookmark there, and you're on your way. For some, however, this feels terribly clunky. Well-known solutions such as Launchy, ObjectDock, and RocketDock try to solve this problem by introducing innovative launchers, but they're not right for everyone. Krento is an alternative made for anyone who's frustrated with plain old Windows, and is looking for a new and easy way to launch everything from one place.
Krento is innovative and useful, but its appearance is not very polished. Made by a single developer in his free time, it's more about pure productivity than about looks. Krento is built around elements called Stones (launcher icons), which are part of one or more application circles. The central element is a manager, used to control all circles and stones.
The program comes with one built-in circle, which includes frequently used folders, Wikipedia and Google search, and Internet Explorer. There's also a task-manager circle with all your currently running programs. During the installation process, you can choose to "install additional circles" which will add a power management circle, a social networks circle, a control panel circle, and a desktop circle.
The default circles are only suggestions, of course. Through the manager, or by using Krento's multiple keyboard shortcuts, you can configure your own circles and add your own stones. A stone can be anything from a program, file, folder, or control panel app, to a website, your current date, time, and IP address, or a power-management action such as shut down or log off. You can also use drag and drop to change any existing stone by dragging a program, file, folder, etc. onto it. When creating a new stone, the first thing you do is choose the stone's type. A stone's type fixes it for one purpose only, and this cannot be changed unless you change the type. For example, you cannot drag a folder onto a website stone.
Krento might not be focused on looks, but that's not to say appearance isn't configurable. In fact, Krento comes with dozens of different skins you can apply, each bringing new colors, shapes and transparency into the mix. You can also fine-tune circle size, icon size, stone size, transparency, and anything else you can think of. Through the options, you can set up specific keyboard and mouse actions for activating Krento, control other visual elements, and even backup your personal configuration into a ZIP file.
The third important element you'll notice is the Krento Pulsar. This is a pulsing red circle that sits in the lower right corner of your screen. You can use it to perform several actions such as accessing the options, the Applications browser, and the impressive online documentation.
From here you can also install additional elements called Toys. Krento toys are in fact desktop widgets, and are either useful ones indicating time, date, CPU usage, and available hard disk space, or fun ones such as a swimming goldfish, a shiny Christmas tree, etc. Note that while the website maintains that Krento supports docklets from ObjectDock and RocketDock, this is actually no longer the case. You can, however, create your own docklets if you like to program, or download a few others on Krento's support forum.
Krento's aforementioned Applications browser can be used to launch any program or file by using a Start-menu-like live search; start typing a name and results will appear in real time. Krento is meant to replace your desktop icons, bookmarks, and even your Start menu, so it's doubly useful on Windows 8, and will even support touch gestures in the future.
Krento's pretty intuitive to use, but includes many options and features you'll find only by exploring the online documentation, so if you're looking for a program you can install and start using immediately, this is not it. If, however, you're willing to invest an hour or two in reading, playing, and configuring, you'll find that Krento can revolutionize the way you use your PC.
Note: This software comes in 32-bit and 64-bit editions. The Download button on the appropriate Product Information page will download the software to your system.