New to Actual Tools? Here are the most frequently asked questions and answers for them.
Q. Do Actual Tools support 64-bit editions of Windows®?
A. Yes, since the version 5.0 our programs include special 64-bit executable modules which make all extra functions available for native 64-bit applications as well as for legacy 32-bit applications. Please consult below how to upgrade your copy of Actual Tools product to the latest available version.
Q. I need features from different Actual Tools products. Can I install and use them at once?
A. No, our products are not designed to work together. If you definitely need features from different Actual Tools products then we strongly recommend you install and use Actual Window Manager - it combines all other products into seamless integrated suite. Otherwise, you may encounter unwanted behavior and conflicts.
you typed the code incorrectly. We suggest you to use the copy-pasting to avoid typos/omissions in the code text
you are trying to register the wrong product. For example, you bought a license and received a code for Actual Title Buttons but, due to some reasons, you downloaded, installed and now are trying to register Actual Window Manager. Our codes are generated individually for each product so in such case you should de-install the wrong product and then download, install and register the product you bought a license for. To see the exact name of the product you are currently using, you should right-click its notification area icon, then click the About item in the Info submenu - and you will see the About dialog, which displays the exact program name
you are trying to register the wrong version. In the version 8.0 we changed the registration system so the codes bought for versions older than 8.0 do not fit 8.0 and higher versions - and vice versa. So if you bought your code earlier than August 15, 2013 - please consult below how to get a new code. If you bought your code later then please check the exact version of Actual Tools product you are currently using: right-click its notification area icon, then click the About item in the Info submenu - and you will see the About dialog, which displays the exact program version
Q. I entered the registration code, your program accepted it but after restarting the trial window
popped up again, asking for registration. What's wrong?
A. It's very likely that you have some kind of security software running on your system which monitors the Windows Registry and prevents its updating. However, our progams use the Windows Registry to store the registration information so you should allow our program to write the necessary information into the Registry. You can do it in any following way:
suspend your Registry monitoring software, register our program, then resume the Registry monitoring software
let our program write into the Registry in your Registry monitoring software's settings
Q. I lost my registration code, help!
A. Please, visit this special page to retrieve your registration code automatically.
Q. How to upgrade any Actual Tools product of any version earlier than
8.0 to the latest available version?
A. Since the version 8.0 we changed our upgrade policy and made it subscription-based: registering the program gives the user automatic subscription for free updates (no matter minor or major ones) for a certain period (currently - a year, beginning from the day of purchase). When this subscription expires, the user can continue to use the last actual version of the program as long as he/she likes but to get further updates, the user needs to purchase another registration code to prolong the subscription for free updates for one more year. The registered users of earlier versions are entitled to a free upgrade or significant upgrade discount, depending on when the original license was purchased. To get advantage of the free or discounted upgrade, you should visit our Upgrade Center and enter there your original registration code (you can retrieve it here).
Q. Why did you change your License Policy to subscription-based? It's unfair!
I do not want to pay the full price each year for the same program!
A. We suppose it's quite more fair for a majority of our customers than the previous version-based Policy, and here are some facts justifying this point of view:
The new Upgrade Policy does not force you to pay each year. When the subscription expires, the program remains registered and fully functional, so that if you don't need the latest updates then you can continue using the program as it is. And only when you see in the changelog something that worths paying then you can prolong your subscription; in other words, you can choose the moment of upgrade on your own.
Purchasing an upgrade does not come at full price. For Actual Window Manager, it costs about 30 USD for now (and we don't plan to change this price in the future). Other products come at 10-15 USD, as they have the lower initial license prices.
Important Note! To get a discounted upgrade price, you must use our Upgrade Center by following these steps.
Purchasing an upgrade, you do not "pay for the same program". Instead, you get a new version that has new features that worth us time and money to develop them. We develop our products constantly and believe that each work should be rewarded fairly.
We do not force our customers to upgrade necessarily. If you don't like/need the features of new versions then you can simply stay with the version you currently have.
Q. How to install the new version correctly so I wouldn't lose my old settings?
A. You can safely install the new version into the same folder where you have the old version installed. The Actual Tools installer will correctly detect your old settings file and run the Configuration Import wizard which will convert your old settings into the new version's format and keep the old settings file untouched so you will be able to roll back to the previous version any time.
Q. I like your software but my system seems to become unstable after the installation of your program.
What's the cause, and how can I find it?
A. Our programs work at the low level of Windows® and they try to extend all windows you open. There is a terrific number of different applications made with a different quality by different developers; so sometimes conflicts may happen. To detect the real reason of conflict, try to do the following:
if it remains then try to disable one-by-one specific settings until the problem disappears; start with system-related settings, if present (like XP Start Menu, Explorer and Taskbar)
if the problem disappears after the first step then enable default settings back and begin to create exclusions one-by-one for the programs you suspect to be the cause; when the problem disappears the last program you created an exclusion for should be the culprit
First of all, make sure that the cause is our program. Try to stop or completely unload the Control Center, then restart the program <program_name> and see if the problem disappears. If it's not then it's very likely that the other program causes the problem.
If you are sure that our software conflicts with the program <program_name> then you should try to create an exclusion for it. The best way to accomplish this is to right-click the program window's title bar and select the Actual Window Manager submenu, then click the Exclude this window command (but make sure that Via "Actual Window Manager" submenu option is enabled in the Configuration).
If nothing helps then mail us the description of the problem. Please, specify the exact name and version of our program and the program you have problem with. Describe as detailed as possible your actions to make the problem arise. If the problem has visual issues then make some screenshots depicting them and attach those screenshots to your mail. If you changed our program's configuration then please send it to us (use the "File -> Send Configuration -> Send to Tech Support" main menu command in the Configuration Module). Remember: the more specific and accurate you will be - the more faster and easier we will find and fix the problem.
Q. After applying the transparency effect a window redraws very slow, or produces visual glitches, or
becomes black. What's wrong?
A. Our programs do nothing specific themselves to make windows translucent - we fully rely on the standard features which Windows® operating system itself provides for applications. So if you encounter the poor perfomance of the transparency effect, or have some kind of visual inconsistency, then it means that your video card driver has the bad support of those standard Windows® features. Without a proper support of your video hardware the transparency effect will work very slow, even if you are using a modern powerful CPU. Try to update your video driver to the latest version from your video card manufacturer's website.
Q. I applied transparency to video player (name any) and encountered visual glitches and black
windows. Are you aware of this bug?
A. This is not a bug but a kind of technical issue. Actual Tools programs use the transparency effect available in standard drawing mechanisms Windows® provides for general windows, whereas video players use another specific mechanisms (usually DirectX® functions) for their video displaying windows. Therefore such windows are not "general" in their nature, and that's why the standard transparency effect is incompatible with such windows and produces unexpected results when being applied.
Q. I created the specific settings for a window but it seems they don't affect it.
A. The most likely reason of it is that you incorrectly configured the Target Window criteria for these settings. To resolve such issue, you should use the Windows Monitoring Log:
close the problem window
open the Log window
then open the problem window again
accurately review all New Window and Caption Changed events related to problem window in the log contents - check what settings were applied and why
inspect attentively the actual values of Target Window criteria exhibited by the problem window and compare them with those values that you have specified in the subject specific settings
re-configure Target Window criteria in the subject specific settings, if needed (you may need to enable more criteria to make the Target Window condition more strict)
save the configuration and see in the Log window whether the issue is resolved or not
Q. Your program doesn't affect the command prompt windows. Is it a bug or I configured something wrong?
A. Neither former nor latter. Till version 5.0, our software had no support for the command prompt windows in Windows® 2000/XP/2003/Vista because since Windows® 2000 an operating system itself processes this kind of windows very differently and separately than "normal" windows; for example, such windows even don't fit XP visual styles. The support of command prompt (a.k.a. console/CMD/DOS) windows became finally available in the version 5.0: there was developed a unique technology which brings all extra functionality to command prompt windows as well as to "normal" ones. Please consult above how to upgrade your copy of Actual Tools product to the latest available version.
Q. Your extra title buttons overlap those added by UltraMon (or name here any other program
that adds its own title buttons)! Is there any solution?
A. Sure it is! You should use the Shift the Buttons option either in the default settings or in a particular specific settings.
Q. I'm using custom XP theme (name yours), and your extra title buttons are
ugly pink! What's the cause and how may I fix this?
A. The cause of this glitch is that your custom theme does not contain required image resources, such as button backgrounds. Those background images should be included into each theme in according to Microsoft theme design principles which Actual Tools programs strictly rely on. However, it's a common practice that custom theme creators neglect those principles and provide only buttons' images without background images. That's why our programs are unable to retrieve those images and draw extra buttons on the empty background (which is pink by default) that results in buttons' inconsistent look. Anyway, there exists a workaround for this issue, you can find its detailed description here.
Q. I can't make your title buttons work in foobar2000. Is there any way to make foobar2000 friends
with Actual Tools programs?
A. The bare install of foobar2000 (i.e. without plugins) prevents the extension of its windows by intention: the developers of foobar2000 force their SDK license in such way. However, as one of our old customers reports, after installing the Columns UI user interface plugin for foobar2000, it becomes compatible with Actual Tools programs. So, if you need the additional functions in foobar2000 - we would recommend you at least to try this plugin out.
Q. I'd like to have your additional title buttons in Adobe Reader as well but
they don't show up. May I get them there anyway?
A. Since the version 10 (a.k.a. X), the developers of Adobe Reader have added the so-called "protected mode": when enabled, it runs the program in a "sandbox" with the restricted access to some system functions. If you'd like to trade off some safety for advanced features provided by Actual Tools programs (for example, when you receive PDF documents from trusted sources only) then you can disable this protected mode and let our software operate Adobe Reader in general way: run it, then go to