Fed up with the dull appearance of your PC? Prefer the aesthetics on the Apple side of life? One of the more interesting new features of Windows 7 will be the increased number of options you'll have to tweak the appearance of the desktop. Clearly the growing number of restrictions each generation of the OS has foisted onto users in the name of branding hasn't worn well with Joe the Plumber, and Microsoft is freeing us up to set up our work areas the way we want them again.
Why wait for Windows 7 though? There are loads of ways you can fiddle with Vista's interface and cheer up the depressing and omnipresent black bars. To show you some of the options out there here are seven tricks for dealing with that most common of Windows' viruses: Mac-envy.
1. Move your taskbar to the top of your screen
Simple, but an easy one to miss. A Mac is like looking in the mirror. If you have a tall monitor, working with the taskbar at the top of the screen makes life a little easier on the eyes, but it's mostly down to preference.
2. Install a dock
The OSX dock is a simple way to launch regularly used programs. There are two well known versions of it for Vista, StarDock's ObjectDock (opens in new tab) or RocketDock. Of the two, we prefer RocketDock's look and feel, and the fact that there's no charge for extra applets.
3. Get Expose
Adding in background apps to Windows isn't always a good idea – they can seriously slow down your PC. If you want a better window browser than Vista's Win+Tab feature, try the Expose-like Switcher 2.0.0 app from insentient.net.
4. Throw in Widgets
It's easy to forget that you can actually detach Sidebar gadgets in Vista and position them wherever you want, then just use Win+D to show and hide them. Alternatively, you could install Yahoo! Widgets for a more colourful, Apple Dashboard-like experience.
5. Completely reskin Windows
Heavy duty editing of the Windows look is going to require a third party app like StarDock's WindowBlinds – but it will cost you. Alternatively, there's the complete OSX clone FlyAKite, which you can try in your browser at the link. Be warned, though, installing it will change important Windows files and there's no bug fixing development on the way.
6. Get some Spaces
Multiple work areas are nothing new, but Apple likes to point out their existence in Leopard. Give yourself some extra room for Windows with DeskSpace (opens in new tab).
7. That's the look
You can customise Vista without installing extra software, but it usually involves a lot of tweaking. Why not visit MyVistaThemes and try out a new look? The inevitable MacOS one is available, while there's also a tutorial to help install it here.
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