So you want to have Windows Vista, but you don't want to give up Windows XP yet and – of course - you don't want to spend a single cent on it. Believe it or not, we have the solution!
The answer to your prayers is called Vistamizer and it's a complete theme that will transform your current Windows XP system into a brand new Vista with all the 3D effects, transparencies, shiny icons and other eye candy. Don't worry, Vistamizer is just a Vista disguise for XP; the system core files and backbone will still be XP.
After trying a few Vista themes for XP, I was really glad to find Vistamizer, just because it's so easy to install! Unlike other similar tools, which demand external applications, third-party libraries and other strange elements, Vistamizer includes just about everything you need to have it up and running in no time. Installing it is a question of pressing on the "Next" button a few times, rebooting and you're done. Uninstallation is also very easy: as the program creates a restoration point, you won't have any problems to go back to the good ol' XP if you ever grow tired of Vista's style.
Vistamizer lets you select exactly which elements to install and which ones not. The list includes not only Vista graphical elements, but also some extra apps that reproduce Vista's features such as the sidebar, the toolbat tooltips or the 3D effect to switch between running applications. Note that if you want to uninstall any of these later on, you'll have to open the Control Panel and start the Vistamizer uninstalling process, as there's no visual interface from which to manage installed components.
On the downside, I noticed some icons don't show properly, for instance in the Start menu and My Documents folder. But in my opinion these are just minor flaws in a full featured theme that can transform Windows XP into Vista in a couple of clicks.
Vistamizer is one of the best Vista themes for Windows XP available today: it's very easy to install, lets you choose what elements and apps should be included and the final output is pretty much the closest you can get to Vista in Windows XP.
Recent changes in VistaMizer:
- Complete theme overhaul (display error corrected, fonts converted and the various shell styles improved)
- High-resolution animations for copying, moving and deleting included are back
- Startup has been integrated
- Improved icons and bitmaps
- Single bug in the installer and uninstaller resolved
- Problem with the takeover of the sounds, wallpaper, etc. resolved
- Errors in the de-installation routine resolved
- Complete overhaul of the logon screen (much closer to the original Vista, and Safe mode should also work)
- Complete overhaul of True Transparency Designs (now also a theme, VistaMizedDark)
- VistaMize review of the theme (now back with a higher start-Orb)
- Review of the copying, moving and deleting dialogues (animation is not rigid now)
- Upgrade of the additional applications on the current version
- Error corrected in Visual Task Tips
- New additional application Blaero start Orb (replaces ViOrb)
- ViStart additional application has been removed (Because of the 2nd developer and the fact that the program is still causing problems)
- Improved installation and de-installation routine
- Other small fixes
OS requirements for VistaMizer:
- OS: WinXP/2003