I've had a number of people ask me what I think of the transformation packs that allow you to make Windows XP look like Windows Vista. I had to be honest and say that I'd never tried to do this because I've been running Windows Vista betas for months. Anyway, the other day I was creating some operating system new images in VMware and Virtual PC and I decided to give it a go.
So I downloaded the12.5MB Vista Transformation Pack 5.5 (by Windows X) which changes many of the system icons, skins and toolbars and also adds new enhancements such as a dock bar and a new system tray clock. The Vista Transformation Pack is also 100% free.[poll id=36]
Here are a summary of my thoughts about the Vista Transformation Pack. If you just want to see how it looks, skip straight to the gallery I created.
- First the caveats
The installation I carried out in a brand new XP Home virtual PC installation went without a hitch. However, I also tried installing the Vista Transformation Pack onto an old, very used XP install and that didn't work (the installer crashed early on). This is an indication that it's possible things could go dramatically wrong during installation so make sure that you have a full backup of your system, just in case!
- Deep changes
The Vista Transformation Pack makes some very deep changes to your XP install. It's possible (very possible) that installing a new application, update or service pack could roll back some but not all of these changes and leave you with a system that's in limbo somewhere and which then may or may not work.
- Take your time
There are a lot of steps in the install process and a lot of options to choose from. I recommend that you only undertake the installation if you have a good 30 minutes to spare so that you can examine the options available to you.
I didn't notice any performance hit from installing the Vista Transformation Pack, which was quite amazing!
- Overall impression
While Vista Transformation Pack can does give the "impression" you are running Vista it doesn’t really stand up to close scrutiny. For example, the Aero look it offers is, at best, only a "faux Aero" look. Put it side-by-side with a real install of Vista and you immediately see the difference.
Remember too that the Vista Transformation Pack only makes your PC "look" like Vista – you don't get any of the other benefits of running Vista (such as better security), but something to perhapshave some fun with on a rainy day!
Gallery of images, covering both installation and the after-effects of installing the pack can be found here.