Hasta la Vista, XP!

After a couple of setbacks, Microsoft’s new operating system, Vista, should be available, if we’re lucky, in January. Testers of the latest Release Candidate have been giving back promising feedback, especially with regard to stability and speed. But what if you can’t wait a couple more months for it?

We’ve selected a few programs that you can mix and match to create your very own hybrid Vista. Freshen up the appearance of your desktop with the Vista Customization Pack or the Vista Transformation Pack. If you’re not ready to go for a full makeover give the Vista touch to your icons via Software Icons Vista 2.0. A cool feature of Microsoft’s new operating system will be the Vista Sidebar, which provides you with all sorts of handy tools, more commonly known as widgets. A relatively unknown, yet clever application is the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor, a quick way of scanning your PC to verify that it is compatible with Vista.

Of course, the keenest of you out there will be looking for the real deal. The closest you’ll get to it is Windows Vista Beta 2, yet you’ll have to be prepared to suffer the occasional bug or crash that comes with a development version. Whether you choose to go for a cosmetic change or the full Beta tryout, it’s a good idea to get acquainted, for free, to the operating system that Microsoft will ambitiously launch in a few months.

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