Wednesday, October 3, 2007

How to make XP look like Vista

Not ready to take the plunge into Vista land but still find yourself wanting the cool new Aero Glass UI that all versions of Vista feature, except Basic edition? As a matter of fact, people upgrading to Vista usually have to purchase a new PC as Vista is consumes alot of system resources and require at least 2GB of ram to ensure that Vista runs along smoothly with all the features enabled and unique to Vista. Vista was suppose to replace XP as the next operating system, however due to its high hardware requirements, inappropriate pricing, lack of new features and the fact that XP still performs admirably without much problems has actually slowed the takeup of Vista. As of now people wanting to upgrade to Vista are waiting for Vista service pack to roll out before migrating to Vista.

This is where the power freeware and internet comes in. There are groups of people that think that upgrading to Vista is not worth it and that they are better off with a stable product of 5 years. So tools/programs were borned that enabled one to change their XP interface to look like Vista without paying for Vista features.

Contained below is some free software that will convert the look and feel of XP into Vista (more or less) for free. Keep in mind that you will still need sufficient hardware to run the advanced effects, meaning at least 1GB of memory (RAM) and a dedicated graphics card with at least 128MB of memory. I’m going to start with Vystal Vivid which is compatible with Windows 2000, XP or Vista Basic and will bring the Aero Glass style UI to any of those operating systems.

Vista has Thumbnail previews on any minimized program so you can see what’s going on without actually opening the window so you will need to get Visual Task tips to bring that functionality to Windows XP. In order to run Visual Task tips you will need to be running the default Windows XP theme or a Vista theme to use it, classic themes are not supported by this program.

That takes care of most of the UI stuff but Vista also has the Flip 3D task switcher so to get that for XP head on over to the Shock Aero site and download their program. Shock Aero features both a Flip 3D mode and Macintosh Style task switching mode.

Lastly and this is totally optional, Transbar is a utlity that will give you a transparent taskbar. Although the taskbar is transparent in Vista, it is only transparent when open windows are not maximized.

Get them while you can because I don’t think Microsoft will stand for this very long but considering it has just extended the life of XP, it might have to allow some give and take here and there.

Then again, there are those who think XP looks fine just like it is.

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