Since the first rumors of a new Microsoft operating system, all Windows users, from fans to fanatics, wanted a peak, a sneak preview of what awaits them. As time passed, a lot of developers tried to fulfill this curiosity by creating different themes and skins for Windows XP, but none of them have grown in popularity as Vista Transformation Pack and Universal Vista Inspirat Brico Pack did. Going beyond a simple skin, these two packs try to give their users the closest possible look to what will soon be known as Microsoft's latest operating system, Windows Vista.
Before installing these packs, please note that some safety measures are needed. Do not hesitate to create a system restore point or an image of your working operating system. In most cases, the packs do not harm your system in any way, but caution never hurt anybody.
Vista Transformation Pack
Formerly known as "Longhorn Transformation Pack" (after Vista's initial code name), this application was created by Windows X from Thailand and gave Windows XP users the first real opportunity to feel like they're using Windows Vista. It was done by letting them choose exactly how their Windows should look, from theme to font type and boot image.
To novice users Vista Transformation Pack may be a little bit hard to install or configure, since the setup process offers a lot of options to choose from. Some of these changes may be later rolled back with no more than a reboot, whereas some require reinstalling Vista Transformation Pack to take effect.
The options that cannot be changed unless you reinstall Vista Transformation Pack are displayed in the first and second setup windows. These options include among others choosing: a Windows login image, a boot screen, an icon set, a progress dialog and a Start Button flag.
The great thing about Vista Transformation Pack is that it contains no less than 20 themes. You don't like how this theme looks? You don't think it resembles Windows Vista as much as you'd like? Then change it! Some of the themes use Vista's dark look, while others keep the bluish look you perhaps like from all operating systems released by Microsoft until now.
Some of the themes resembling Vista offer a beautiful combination of dark (gray or navy blue) colors for title bars and menus, which give windows and dialogs a very user friendly look.
While some of the themes look great, others use a very strange combination of colors. And mixing dark colors with orange or green, just doesn't make a theme that users can install, keep on their system and enjoy for a long period of time.
Using the default font is not always a very good idea. These font problems can be easily detected in the Start Menu and sometimes may be fixed by changing the font, but in the Slate suite for example, the problem is in the theme itself.
Vista Transformation Pack seems to be, at times, a package made in a hurry. A few themes really look good, but even then you'll be surprised to see how they pretty much fail to resemble the Vista look. Maybe because the developer didn't try too much or didn't have the time or ideas or maybe it's just the Vista style that's so hard to recreate. But whether it's the font, the buttons or the colors, there's always something, more or less important, that needs fixing.
To me, Vista Transformation Pack looks like an unfinished job, but I hope Windows X will find the time to fix all major problems and make it easier for the common user to install, use and enjoy all this great work and effort.
Universal Vista Inspirat Brico Pack
Released pretty recently, this package was the Cinderella of all the Windows look enhancing programs. Like all other products and programs released by CrystalXP.net, the Vista Inspirat pack amazed its users with the impressive and really professional look.
The Vista Inspirat installer is very easy to use and comprehend. You might as well just push the Next button until it's finished and you can rest assured that nothing important was missed.
If you'd like to know what the incredible part about Vista Inspirat is, try finding out how deep the rabbit hole goes. Vista Inspirat changes your system so much that you might even fool somebody you're using a beta release of Windows Vista.
The icons are maybe the best thing about Vista Inspirat. Their quality is amazing and you won't see them only by looking at your desktop, Control Panel or some folders, but in almost any folder. Observe how the icons for jpeg's, bmp's, ini's and even Windows Games or Windows Explorer have been changed. Even the standard buttons won't look standard to you anymore!
If all this hasn't impressed you yet, prepare to see how far Vista Inspirat will take you while trying to emulate Windows Vista in the best way possible. Enter the Windows folder or any other folder containing a lot of files or folders and scroll to the bottom using the right bar of your window. Noticed how it changes color while being dragged? That's one feature you surely did not expect.
Some of our users found Vista Inspirat too black; most of the time, I think it's too bright. Sadly Vista Inspirat does not use a very fortunate combination of colors and even worse, the same type of colors is used for both title bars and buttons or menus. In the end it often doesn't look pretty good.
The buttons, although created at high definition, lack the color needed to attract and just look pale.
If you can ignore the small visual problems, this pack will satisfy your curiosity regarding the Windows Vista look and feel. Vista Inspirat has a very clean, bright and colorful interface which will make it an almost impossible to remove package from your must have list of applications.
While having 20 themes to choose from is just great, they're not so great when you start looking closely. Installing Vista Transformation Pack will surely not give your system the Vista look you're been hoping for, at least not without a lot of work and tweaking. And since Universal Vista Inspirat Brico Pack integrates almost perfectly with Windows and doesn't have any of the serious problems found in Vista Transformation Pack, I'm proud to present it as the winner in the battle of enhancing your system to mimic the Vista look.
Download: Vista Transformation Pack
Download: Universal Vista Inspirat Brico Pack