Learning how to make XP look like Vista can help you get the Vista style without the Vista function. Despite former Windows XP users’ myriad complaints with Windows Vista’s performance, many of those users like Vista’s appearance. If you want to avoid some of the nightmares associated with Vista but still make it seem like you have Vista installed on your computer, you can try these software tricks.
BricoPackVista Inspirat is probably the easiest way to get most of Vista’s look and feel on your Windows XP computer, while also remaining relatively safe, as it avoids altering critical system files. BricoPack will completely overhaul your icons, add shadows and transparency to all windows, and tweak splash screens and other minor details.
Other all-in-one packages include the popular Vista Transformation Pack 8.0 and the similar VistaMizer. Both edit deep system files, making them risky options, but you may find that the transformation they render is more complete than BricoPack’s. Although these options may make your computer look more like Vista, keep in mind that altering critical system files can be a dangerous proposition, so you might want to stick with more cosmetic changes. Use any program that alters deep system files at your own risk.
Additional changes can come from a variety of third-party software. WinFlip emulates the popular 3D-animated window switching of Vista. Thoosje Sidebar and Yahoo! Widgets (formerly Konfabulator) serve the same purpose as the Vista Sidebar. The Vista Start Menu enhances the Start Menu not only in Windows XP but also in Vista, while the Vista Cursor Pack makes your cursors look like Vista’s. Visual Task Tips provides previews of items in your taskbar when you hover the cursor over them.
However, keep in mind that that, the more third-party add-ons you install, the slower your computer will run, which will result in the same performance reduction that causes complaints about Vista in the first place.
Finally, after installing any of these changes, quickly check your computer to make sure that Windows XP updates are still scheduled to download and that all your virus protections and firewalls are up and running. Then run a virus scan and a spyware scan. Legit third-party apps shouldn’t cause any problems, but you can’t be too careful.