Make Windows XP act like Vista

In less than an hour, these freebies can transform XP into an ersatz Vista.

Not thrilled about spending a bundle on Vista - and dealing with potential bugs and hardware upgrades? Stick with XP, and use these tools to emulate the Vista experience.

The Hassle: I'm trying to resist moving to Vista. How can I make XP perform like the new Windows OS?

The Fix(es): You can be a holdout (like me) and use a few XP-based freebies that do a surprisingly good job of emulating some of Vista's fancy graphical features. The first three apps listed below are my favourites.

Copernic Desktop Search: Vista's search is fast and smart - and so is Copernic's, with keyword, file content, Boolean, and wildcard searches (Copernic).

Desktop Sidebar: Vista has a handy Windows sidebar with calendars, calculators, a quick link to your media player, and RSS feeds. Desktop Sidebar (Desktop Sidebar) offers similar features, with zillions of add-ons, including a file browser, a weather summary, news updates and an e-mail checker.

Vista Start Menu SE: This utility creates a fair imitation of Vista's Start menu, but adds functions that Vista lacks - built-in shortcut keys to frequently used Windows functions such as Reboot, Switch Users and Hibernate ( Reboot, Switch Users and Hibernate). Another great alternative for organising apps and files is JetStart Free (codesector); it's faster than Vista Start Menu SE, but less fancy. (Choose just one of these tools.)

Visual Task Tips: This clever tool pops up a preview - a miniature image - of the open window in the taskbar. Scroll your mouse wheel up or down on the image to resize it (Visual Task Tips).

Folder Marker: Customise your folder icons and icon backgrounds with Vista icons (a href=http://foldermarker.com target="_blank">Folder Marker). Folder Marker is a snap to use, and you can visit Horizon Software (Horizon Software) to download a bunch of Vista icons. (Choose icons of the Ico file type.)

WindowBlinds 5: One prominent Vista feature you might like is Windows Glass, the semitransparent, coloured window edges that Windows Aero has. WindowBlinds 5 (WindowBlinds) provides skins - visual styles and themes - that allow you to change the look and feel of many parts of Windows XP. For example, this program lets you modify toolbar icons, the Start Menu and Start button, menu and dialogue borders, and the taskbar and title bar. Get the Vista Plus Version 2 skin at the WinCustomize site (WinCustomize).


Top Tip BOOKMARK DUDS

Do you collect Favourites? Me too - so I use AM-DeadLink (AM-DeadLink). This brilliant tool checks your browser's bookmarks to see if they're alive and well (or dead and in the 404 bit bucket); it also spots duplicate links. Deleting unwanted faves is easy: From Bookmarks, select Sort bookmarks with errors to top of list, highlight the duds, and dismiss them. You can also use AM-DeadLink's built-in viewer to check links or to open them in your browser. Just as nifty is being able to download and install cool icons (called FavIcons) from any bookmarked Web site. AM-DeadLink works with IE 6, IE 7, Mozilla, and - I can sense your synapses snapping to attention - Firefox and Opera.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Steve Bass

PC World
Show Comments

Essentials

James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >

Mobile

Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >

Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?