The good news is that Windows 7 is out this week and it looks awesome. The bad news is there's a global financial crisis going on, it's nearly Christmas, and upgrading to the new operating system is expensive. Don't worry your pretty little head about this, because you can still experience Windows 7 without actually paying any money, by installing themes and apps that will make your copy of XP or Vista look and feel like the new Microsoft OS. Here's what you need:
Themes and styles
The most obvious place to start is by installing a theme or a style to mimic the Windows 7 GUI. These programs alter things like the Taskbar, Start menu, windows, and fonts, to make XP or Vista behave like Windows 7. The SevenVG RC Theme for XP is one of the better ones, and includes a wallpaper manager, along with a tool for reducing the size of the program window title bar with a single click.
Windows 7 Style for Vista brings the elegance of version 7 to your Vista PC. The small utility changes things like the height of the System Tray and displays icons for running programs in the tray without the text. Windows 7 Style for Vista also alters the look of the Start menu and comes with a whole bunch of smart new Windows 7 icons. The addition also of the Aero transparency effect helps this style to turn Vista into a work of art.
If you want to truly capture the look of Windows 7 then you need to get the right wallpapers. Try the Aero 7 Windows Seven Series I Wallpapers, a collection that includes the gorgeous Aero and Aurora designs at different resolutions. A meatier collection is to be found in the Windows 7 Wallpaper Pack. The striking designs inside this bundle include landscapes, animals, oceans and abstract structures. If none of these please you then you might want to put up this Windows 7 Wallpaper, which pays homage to the new OS in fine style.
The revamped icons in Windows 7 look great, and the beauty is that you can replicate them on your current operating system without too much hassle. Simply install the Windows 7 PDC Icons. These new 3D icons look good and are adorned with the same stylish drop shadows and transparencies that you'll find in Windows 7.
Another thing you can do to help you pass off the new Windows look is to change your screensaver. This Windows 7 Screensaver is compatible with both XP and Vista, displaying the sexy new logo aboard a black background. Great stuff.
One of the things the new version of Windows is being praised for are 'Aero effects' (also found in Vista), that allow you to flick between applications more easily. It is possible to apply this functionality to Windows XP if you install WinFlip. You can use it to switch between apps simply by clicking the WinFlip icon in the System Tray.
If you can't be bothered to get hold of all of the aforementioned add-ons yourself then just download the Seven Transformation Pack. The pack contains a series of gadgets, fonts, system sounds, icons, cursor, screensaver, and sundry small utilities that will give you the overall Windows 7 look without much fussing around. Be careful with this pack though, because it installing it does seem to slow the system down quite a bit.