VistaMizer

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Description

Microsoft is well-known for upgrading its Windows software every few years and in recent years the upgrades have become more significant. Some users, however, are perfectly happy to stay on established versions of Windows software.

This may be because they use other software which is not yet compatible with the latest version of Microsoft windows, because they do not wish to pay for an upgrade or simply because they prefer it. At the same time, they may wish to enjoy some of the cosmetic changes Microsoft tends to bring in with each new version of Windows.

Features

VistaMizer aims to allow users to enjoy the look and feel of Vista, while maintaining the backbone of an XP system. It is essentially a theme for XP, which allows XP users all the fun of Vista’s frankly prettier interface and a small degree of extra utility, for example the sidebar and the toolbar tips. One of the theme’s best features is that fact that installation is so easy. For most users it will simply involve sticking with the default options, choosing “Next” when prompted and rebooting. For users who want a bit more control over the installation process, there are a number of installation options so that advanced users can tailor the theme to their exact requirements. Another reassuring aspect of the software is that removing it is also a straightforward process. VisaMizer creates a restore point, so users can simply return their system to the exact way it was before.

Comparison

While there is no shortage of themes for XP, they vary widely not only in appearance but also in ease of installation and removal. The fact that they come from a diverse range of sources means that they also come in varying degrees of security and reliability. Microsoft itself offers four core themes for XP: Luna, Royale, Zune and Embedded. The various third-party themes are available in both free and chargeable versions and cover every sort of appearance from retro to sci-fi to the natural world. More advanced (or creative) users can even create their own themes. There are various tools for doing so, one of the most user-friendly of which is Stardock’s WindowBlind’s8. Although this is a chargeable solution, it is very affordable.

Conclusion

Whether or not VistaMizer is the best solution for any given user depends on what they want to achieve. In terms of applying the Vista look and feel to XP, it is arguably far ahead of the competition if only because of its ease of installation and removal. VistaMizer is also a good option for users who are thinking of upgrading but unsure whether or not they will feel comfortable with the different interface. For users who simply want to make their XP interface more attractive, there are a huge number of alternative themes available to download, which are vastly more visually creative.

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