A stone's throw away

Keep your favorite programs and documents handy with this unique desktop enhancement.

It has been our experience that many Windows desktop enhancements are more trouble than they're worth; they tend to slow down our system's performance, have unintuitive interfaces, and make the things they set out to enhance more complicated than ever. Krento is among the better desktop enhancements we've seen, but it's still far from perfect.

Krento sets out to combine two things with which we're familiar from our experience as a Mac user: a dock and widgets. When not in use, Krento appears as an attractive, gently pulsing orb in the bottom corner of the desktop. Click on the orb and the Krento Stones Manager appears. This is a circular arrangement of 12 "stones," each of which represents a shortcut to an application, document, Web site, or other useful location. The Kento Application Ring is a stone within the manager that opens into a ring of its own, allowing you to group applications together in one place. In general, we liked Krento; it looks cool and is in some ways easier to navigate than the Windows Start menu. The program definitely has room for improvement, though. We found it odd that each stone is numbered, and that though there's no way to reorder the stones relative to one another, they do--for some reason--rotate each time you use one of them. This means that the stone you're looking for is never in the same place. We kept feeling like we ought to be able to drag and drop stones, either to reorder them or to move an application into the Application Ring, but the program has no such functionality. The program's online user manual was pretty helpful, once we located it, but at times it was vague; it told us that we could download new stones and toys, for example, but it didn't say where. (Answer: the Krento user forum.) Overall, Krento is interesting and worth checking out, but plan to approach it with a sense of adventure and some patience.

Krento installs and uninstalls without issues. We recommend this program.

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