Just recently Laurence gave us a little preview of Windows 7 . It looks like it is going to bring major improvements, with the benefit of being just as pretty as Vista. Unless you decide to finally go OS or Linux (I put off Vista because I could not decide), Windows 7 will hopefully make the switch from XP much more interesting and rewarding.
In the meantime, here are a few possibilities how you can get the Windows 7 look and feel onto your desktop today. This is primarily targeted at those of you who are skipping Vista.
This is the most simple way to get a refreshing look onto your desktop. Just get a wallpaper. The most beautiful ones can be found on deviantART, such as The Windows Se7en Pack 1 and Pack 2 .
Seven Calculator (XP, Vista)
This tool is not fully completed and it doesn’t have the same functionalities as the Windows 7 calculator. But it looks just like it and the standard mode (basic functions) works fine. It requires .Net framework and it’s open source, so if you know Visual Basic, you can go ahead and edit it.
Vista users are in luck, a much better calculator is available for them,.
In Windows 7, windows are going to behave differently compared to what you are used to from XP. AeroSnap simulates this Windows 7 behavior. When you drag a window to the left or right border of your desktop, it will snap to that side and take over 50% of the screen width and 100% from bottom to top. When you drag the window to the top of the screen it will maximize. Dragging the window away from the respective edge will restore its previous size. Keep in mind that it only works when the mouse hits the screen border while dragging the window. Below is a video to better demonstrate how it looks like.
Vienna Transformation Pack (XP)
This is not as comfortable to install as some other transformation packs. Rather you install each module separately. The advantage is that you can select just the parts you like. Fortunately, the installation guide is very detailed, so even inexperienced users will not hit the wall.
The Vienna Transformation Pack comes with a selection of four bootskins, a logon screen, icons, a menu bar styler (seen in the top left), cursors, sounds, wallpapers, a visual style or theme, and either the Vienna navigator or the Vienna toolbar (pictured below), which essentially both have the same functions. With the navigator you can move around the items individually, while with the toolbar they are all locked down on their spot.
That concludes the selection. Let me mention that there are several more transformation packs and themes available that claim to look like Windows 7. In reality they all look terribly like Vista and the ones I tried seem a little buggy on top of that.
If you’re interested in the latest Windows 7 developments, check out the Windows 7 News blog.
What feature are you most looking forward to in Windows 7?