Friday, January 8, 2010
Top 10 Tech #6: How To Make Windows Xp Look Like Windows Vista
by Dennis Faas
Infopackets.com Senior Editor
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Like the look of Vista but want the compatibility of XP?
There is plenty of software floating around on the Internet that can
make Windows XP look just like Vista -- but certainly not all software
is the same. We've done the research for you and weighed the pros and
cons with the top 3 choices on the 'net.
Please note that the freeware programs mentioned in this report make
changes to Windows system files which *may* result in system
instability; therefore, no warranty or guarantee is implied. It is
recommended that you backup your entire computer / operating system
For the ultimate backup solution, we highly Acronis True Image, which
is capable of making a "disk image" backup of all your files --
including your operating system. Should you need to restore your
computer, this program can do it all.
Vista Transformation Pack 8.01 ~ Free ~ 7.0 / 10
by Windows X
Description: The Vista Transformation Pack applies a series of
programs that can make your old Windows XP computer look as if it's
running Vista, without the hassle.
Pros: Free; the most complete (free) transformation pack available;
requires little user interaction during setup.
Cons: may not work for everyone; reported issues of instability;
further tweaking may be required to completely undo changes even after
uninstall; replaces standard Windows System files with non-standard
"hacked" versions in order to provide the Vista Look; large install
file (about 28 MB download).
Requirements: Windows XP/2003 Server, 64MB VRAM graphics card with
DirectX 8, 512MB RAM for third-party applications.
BricoPack Vista Inspirat Ultimate 2 ~ Free ~ 7.5/10
by dlb @ CrystalXP.net
Description: BricoPack Vista Inspirat makes Windows XP easily changes
Windows icons, logon and visual style to look like Windows Vista.
Pros: Free; very nice user interface.
Cons: Not compatible with Windows XP 64bit; replaces standard Windows
System files with non-standard "hacked" versions in order to achieve
Vista Look; large install file (about 28 MB download).
Requirements: Windows XP
VistaMizer ~ Free ~ 7/10
by M. Hoefs
Change the appearance of your Windows XP by giving it the Vista look!
Pros: Free; 380 files with new icons, pictures as well as videos;
Cons: replaces standard Windows System files with non-standard
"hacked" versions in order to achieve Vista Look; large install file
(about 23 MB download).
Requirements: Windows XP / 2003
Do-It-Yourself Vista Transformation
If you don't like the idea of using "hacked" system files to transform
your PC to look like Windows Vista, you can apply the effects
yourself. Here are a few utilities you can use that are relatively
Vista Start Menu ~ Free / Pro version offered ($19.95)
by Dennis Nazarenko
Description: Vista Start Menu turns XP's Start menu into one like on
Vista. Not only is it a better look, but Vista Start Menu also offers
additional features. These include: resizable start menu, zoom in/out,
program launcher, desktop search, power buttons, tabs, and more.
Another noteworthy aspect: Vista Start Menu does not change your
system settings, thus making it easy to install, as well as simple to
ViStart ~ Free
Description: ViStart is a freeware program that makes the Windows XP
Start Menu look just like that of Windows Vista, while also adding
Vista start menu functionalities.
RocketDock ~ Free
by Punk Labs
Description: RocketDock is a desktop program launcher that provides
portable, memory-friendly, and a smoothly animated interface. It
provides a nice clean interface to drop shortcuts on for easy access
WindowBlinds ~ $19.99 ~ 9/10
Description: WindowBlinds is a software utility that allows users to
completely change the look and feel of Microsoft Windows. It works by
applying new visual styles, called "skins" across the entire user
interface (title bars, push buttons, start menu, taskbar, etc.) of the
operating system. As a result, users gain complete control over the
way Windows looks.
Features: Skin Windows Start Bar and Explorer Views; add surfaces to
dialog windows; skin different programs with different skins; add more
title bar buttons (roll-up, etc.); change color/hue/brightness on the
fly; change progress animations in toolbar icons; skin scrollbars and
toolbar icons; supports Windows Vista.
Requirements: Recommended: A 16MB DirectX 8 or later compatible video
card with appropriate driver support is required for per-pixel alpha-
blended skins; 512MB recommended with 1 GHz processor; Windows Vista
(32-bit or 64-bit) or Windows XP/2003. Windows 2000/ME/98 users can
use WindowBlinds Classic (v4.6); 60MB free drive space; 256MB RAM.
Pros: Not free, but certainly affordable. Most stable solution;
commercially supported (established 1998); can apply thousands of
other skins (free) via wincustomize.com; does not make changes to core
Windows System files = less chance of instability.
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