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Turn your XP to a Vista clone

While some people aren’t overly enthusiastic about Redmond’s new OS and we see rants and complaints about it every day. What most people don’t know is that Vista has several features that make it worth your while. Here is a list of softwares that you use to can emulate Vista’s features.

Update: I found a couple of good alternatives to Windowsblinds and decided to add them to the list and edited some items

Copernic Desktop Search

Windows Vista comes to the table with a very good and fast Dektop Search. So does Copernic Desktop Search with multiple search possibilities: file content, keywords, Boolean and wildcard search. You could also use Google Desktop as a replacement if Copernic Desktop Search is not good enough.

Vista Start Menu

This utility imitates Vistaâ„¢’s Start menu and even adds different functions that the Operating system lacks like shortcut keys to Windows functions like Switch Users, Hibernate or Reboot.

For the minimalist, you can use ViStart. It has an integrated search function that allows you to select programs from your start menu by simply typing keywords on the Searchbar.

Desktop Sidebar

Windows Vista comes with a very nice sidebar that features calculators, calendars, RSS feed supports and a lot of possible add-ons. You can add weather stats, news updates, e-mail checkers and a whole more. An alternative that can be used in Windows XP is LaunchBar Commander. It lets you create on-screen panels that can launch different applications and documents.

Alternatively, you can also try Desktop Sidebar.


  • via WindowsBlinds – One of the most appreciated graphical features that Windows Vista presents stands in the Windows Glass feature. WindowsBlinds 6 is a great solution and offers different themes and visuals to customize the way XP looks. Start Menu icons, Start menu button, dialog borders, taskbar, title bar, all can be changed.

  • via StyleXP – StyleXP offers about all the features of Windowsblinds at cost of less resources. It’ll run on low spec’ed machines will little or no change in performance.

  • via Aston – Aston offers something quite different from the other two in the sense that it loads it’s own Shell instead of modifying the existing explorer one. It offers better functionality by adding tabs of grouped software available on your PC to your desktop for easier access. It also requires less resource than Windowsblinds.

Aston Desktop

Logon Screen

If you bored of your logon screen then it is time for you to do with a change. LogonStudio is a free program that allows you to change and edit logon screen. I personally use the Windows Vista Logon Screen. You can find more logon screens at deviantArt or you can also browse the gallery at

Breadcrumb Navigation

Windows Vista Explorer comes with a new breadcrumb navigation that allows you to easily navigate with folders. QT Address Bar is a neat little utility that allows you to have a breadcrumb like navigation in Windows Explorer.

With the software installed not only do you get the Windows Vista feature but you will also be able to navigate your folders with ease.

Alt-Tab Replacement

If you’re prone to multi tasking then the alt and tab keys are the most used keys on your keyboard. Alt+Tab are use to easily switch between different open applications without having to use the mouse.

Windows Vista has a nice little feature where the application can be previewed while you using Alt+Tab keys. Alt-Tab replacement provides the same set of features for Windows XP.

After installing the utility you will immediately be able to see the previews of applications while using Alt+Tab keys.

Taskbar Preview

Windows Vista added another nice feature where you can view thumbnails of the application by hovering your mouse over them in the taskbar. Visual tooltip is a utility which adds the same feature to Windows XP. Using the software you can view the thumbnails for the application when you hover your mouse over it. This saves you some time when you want to see what the application is running before bringing it on top.


LClock (Longhorn Systray Clock) is an enhancement for the default Clock that sits in the task bar, you can use different skins for the clock.

Vista Transformation Pack

If you’re a lazy bum who wants everything in one go, try the Vista Transformation Pack (currently at version 8.0.1). Features include

  • Boot screen
  • Welcome Screen / Logon Screen
  • New msstyles files (visual styles)
  • New desktop and file icons
  • New toolbar icons
  • Progress Dialogs
  • Sounds scheme
  • System Tray icons
  • New Wallpapers
  • Windows Media Player Skins

Thanks to Tech-busy and HSTutorials for the initial list


Comments ( 3 )

Have Something To Say ?

  1. dreibernal Drei September 17, 2007 Reply

    Sir, for the sidebar, I suggest the Thoosje Sidebar. The URL is

    For additional info, the LClock, Thoosje Sidebar, Vistart and Visual Tooltips are all included in the Vista Transformation Pack. And the Vista Trasformation Pack also suggest having Windowblinds in your system.

  2. teuku_amir_syahrani AMIR November 4, 2007 Reply

    1.try black vs royal black mce or vistaxp theme as alternative
    2. try windows desktop search 3.01 for xp (similar engine to vista with many supporting ifilters
    3. try windows sidebar (original) ported to xp
    4. install some ms legacy apps: iee7, wmp 11, wl photo gallery etc
    it’s (little) like vista

  3. ksbja KsbjA May 12, 2008 Reply

    I can add that Lclock emulates an abandoned feature of an old Longhorn (later Vista) build and thus isn’t needed for those, who want to simulate the look of Vista. Also, WindowBlinds is required for the blurred transparency, and I suggest you to use WindowFX for animating the windows (costs about the same as WindowBlinds).
    @AMIR – Completely agree. I’ve heard that Windows Search 4 (former Windows Desktop Search) is included in Vista, thus making it a real must-have! And the ported sidebar is really way better. Try here:

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