Vista Transformation Pack 8.0 (VTP 8.0) is probably the most popular software available to transform the look & feel of your Windows XP system to that of Windows Vista – the latest consumer OS from Microsoft. The reason for the popularity of the VTP 8.0 is not that difficult to guess if we think about it. The utility it provides by allowing the installation of all the Vista icons, wallpapers, visual styles, themes and other third-party software from the comfort of well-designed unified installer is difficult to resist for many of us. Otherwise if we ignore this fact there is not much unique to VTP that we can’t do without it’s support, although significantly more hassle will be involved as well.
Once properly installed VTP 8.0 will transform you old dry Windows XP icons, dialog boxes, theme,visual style(msstyles format), sounds,cursors and many other resources in to a refreshing Vista style. The result is very impressive to say the least as It closely resembles the Vista’s look and feel to the level possible. A few days back I decided to give a try to the latest VTP 8.0 to see what changes they have made as compared to the VTP 7.0. It didn’t take much time in installation and after installation I realized that they do have made many tweaks after the previous release to mimic the looks of the Vista and many bugs are kinked out now. But my joy soon vanished when I started my trustworthy Firefox to have some Internet surfing and was disappointed to see that tab-bar in the Firefox jumbled and became fat taking too much space without any reason. It was clearly a GUI glitch that appeared after I installed VTP 8.0. By the way I was using Firefox 3.0 default theme. This was a major problem for me so I had to uninstall it to revolve this Firefox issue. Actually this issue was related to the Vista visual style installed by VTP 8.0. Then I decided to search for a viable alternative for the VTP 8.0 that should be a one click install for all the GUI tweaks to transform my XP machine in to Vista as VTP 8.0 is but without this issue I had with VTP 8.0. After spending some time I found a worthy alternative to VTP 8.0 that is at least as full-featured transformation pack as VTP 8.0 is(if not more).
I am talking about VistaMizer that is available for free and supports almost all the Vista skining features that you might expect from it after coming from VTP 8.0. Despite the feature-parity the installer size for VistaMizer version 188.8.131.52 is smaller at only 21.0 MB as compared to the 27.0 MB for the VTP 8.0 which is a good thing. It installed flawlessly on my Windows XP SP2 machine and I was amazed to see all the same visual(and audio) goodness that I experienced with the VTP 8.0. Of course there were some minor difference here and there for example the installed visual style which is better(in my opinion) in subtle ways as compared to the VTP 8.0. It also supports the integration of the all Vista resource in to Windows XP installation files so that you can make a bootable CD after the integration that will automatically install all the Vista tweaks with the installation of XP.Now I decided to give Firefox a try with it and I was not disappointed because this time there was no issue with the FIrefox tab-bar.
AS with the VTP 8.0, VistaMizer also installs some third-party software as well to enhance your Vista experience. Here is a list of the these applications:
- Blaero Start Orb
- Glass 2K
- Thoosja Sidebar
- True Transparency
- Vista Drive Icon
- Visual task Tips
- Win Flip
So if you have this issue that I had in FIrefox with the VTP 8.0 or simply you want to try a good alternative then I will suggest that you take a look at the VistaMizer and there is a strong chance that you will be pleasantly surprised as I was that how well designed this transformation pack is. On a side note don’t forget to make a system restore point before installing this one (or any other transformation pack) although in my experience you can completely uninstall it by the provided uninstaller, in case you want to do it in the future but still it is a good to be on the safe-side.
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