How to Make Windows Vista Look & Behave Like Windows 7 for Free

 
Sure Microsoft has released Windows 7 — but many of the new Windows 7 features are also available for Windows Vista!
Make Windows Vista Look & Behave like Windows 7 in Three Steps:
    1. Install Updated Microsoft Windows Components
    2. Install Free Windows 7 "Style" Programs
    3. Make Windows Vista "Look like" Windows 7
 
INSTALL UPDATED MICROSOFT WINDOWS 7 COMPONENTS:
AutoPlay Malware Protection disables the AutoPlay feature which has been abused by malware like Conficker – (Available for (Windows Vista & Windows Vista 64)
Desktop Search 4.0 updated search component included in Windows 7. (Available for Windows Vista & Windows Vista 64)
 
DirectX 11 – The update Windows Graphics, Imaging, and XPS Library contain the latest advancements in modern graphics technologies for gaming, multimedia, imaging and printing applications. It includes updates to DirectX 11, DirectCompute, and XPS Library.  (Available: Windows Update or Download for Windows Vista & Windows Vista 64-bit)
 
Fingerprint Reader – Windows 7 has advanced built-in support for biometric devices. However, if you don’t own a biometric device, there’s no reason to install Microsoft’s DigitalPersona Password Manager 2.0  (Support: How to . . .)
 
Meiryo UI is a new Japanese font added to Windows 7.
 
.Net Framework 3.5 – Actually you can one-up Windows 7 by installing .Net Framework 3.5 with Service Pack 1 (Available for Windows Vista & Windows Vista 64)
 
Internet Explorer 8  – Currently in its second beta, this upgrade to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer has lots of great new features; which is why it’s built-in to Windows 7! (Available for Windows Vista & Windows Vista 64)
 
PowerShell command-line shell & scripting language allows managing computers via commands or scripts, improving productivity through system automation. (Available for Windows Vista & Windows Vista 64)
 
VHD Support is native to Windows 7 — but you can have this same functionality with Microsoft’s Virtual PC 2007. (More Info: B# .Net)
 
Windows Feature Pack for Storage 1.0 – enables the Windows platform to do master style optical burning on Blu-Ray media, as well as support for new Smart Card Driver form factors, such as ICCD.
 
Windows Live Beta Program Bundle – Windows 7 will come with Microsoft’s Windows Live software preinstalled.
 
    • Family Safety
    • Mail
    • Messenger
    • Microsoft Office Live Add-in
    • Microsoft Office Outlook Connector
    • Movie Maker Beta
    • Photo Gallery
    • Toolbar
    • Writer
 
INSTALL FREE WINDOWS 7 "STYLE" PROGRAMS:
AeroNotes is a full featured notepad alternative using the Aero Glass technology. While not as cool as Windows 7’s updated Calculator, Paint & WordPad, this free notepad replacement is a nice example of things to come.
 
Battery Saver saves up to 70% of your battery by disabling those nice, but greedy Vista features. While you won’t be getting Windows 7’s cool new "Adaptive Display Brightness" feature, this free program from Microsoft’s Codeplex is great for Windows Vista portable computers.
 
Updated Calculator(s) – Windows 7’s Calculator has many new built-in features which can be found in these two free Microsoft programs.
DesktopNotes is a small program that resemble the notes gadget from windows 7.
 
DivX Video Codec Support – Windows 7 includes support for a wide range of advanced video & audio codecs (i.e. AAC, H.264 & DivX) . . . currently you can install the Windows DivX codec.
 
Edison – Microsoft’s free energy monitoring application to actively control PC’s energy consumption "sorta like" Windows 7.
 
Equation Writer (part of the Experience Pack) handwritten mathematical equations convert into a typewritten image; similar to Windows 7’s "Math Input Panel".
 
GAMES – Windows 7 introduces 3 new Windows Internet Games: Backgammon, Checkers, and Spades. But don’t feel left-out; Microsoft has you covered with Free On-Line Games from MSN:
 
ISO Image makes images of CDs & DVDs to create ISO images. (MSDN Recommended)
 
Microsoft Product Support Reporting Tool (MPSReports) facilitates the gathering of critical system and logging information used in troubleshooting support issues. This information helps diagnose problems in the software quicker and provide solutions.
 
Speech Recognition Macros creates powerful macros triggered by voice command to interact with applications.
 
TweakUAC quickly Turns On & Off (UAC) User Account Control – While this is not how Windows 7 will implement their UAC enhancements, it’s a nice free tool thanks to Microsoft’s Joe Stagner.
 
VPN Monitor – installed as a Windows Service, this tool monitors VPN connection and reconnects if specified hosts are unavailable (similar to Windows 7’s VPN Reconnect.)

XML Paper Specification Essentials Pack view, generate & index XPS Docs is now built-in (and enhanced) within Windows 7. 
 
MAKE WINDOWS VISTA LOOK LIKE WINDOWS 7: 
Turn-on the "Quick Launch Toolbar" – Windows 7 uses the Quick Launch and the new "Jump Lists" for easy access to applications and data.
    1. Double-Click "Taskbar and Start Menu" from the Control Panel
    2. From the "Taskbar" Tab, select "Show Quick Launch" and UNselect "Lock the taskbar"
    3. Click <OK>
 
Turn-on "Show window previews (thumbnails)" – While there’s no taskbar preview, it’s still a cool feature.
    1. Double-Click "Taskbar and Start Menu" from the Control Panel
    2. From the "Taskbar" Tab, select "Show windows previews (thumbnails)"
    3. Click <OK>
 
Widen the Windows Toolbar – Windows 7’s system tray clock displays both the time and date.
    1. Hover the cursor at the top of the Windows Toolbar until the double-arrow appears.
    2. Click-n-Hold to "stretch" the Windows Toolbar to display both the time and date.
 
Tame your System Tray Icons – Windows 7 has an easy method to enable / disable your system tray icons. While not quite as convenient, here’s how to manager your Windows Vista icons. (Note: The system clock is "on" by default)
HIDE SYSTEM ICONS
  1. Double-Click "Taskbar and Start Menu" from the Control Panel
  2. Select the "Notification Area" Tab
  3. From the "System icons" section, select / unselect various icon choices:
      • Clock
      • Volume
      • Network
      • Power
HIDE APPLICATION ICONS
  1. Double-Click "Taskbar and Start Menu" from the Control Panel
  2. Select the "Notification Area" Tab
  3. From the "Icons" section select "Hide inactive icons" then Click "Customize…"
  4. Change the behavior of each icon:
      • Hide when inactive
      • Hide
      • Show
 
Tame your Desktop Icons – Windows 7’s Desktop is extremely clean with only the Recycle Bin displayed.
  1. Double-Click "Personalization" from the Control Panel
  2. Under the "Tasks" Section, Click "Change desktop icons"
  3. From the "Desktop" Tab select / unselect various desktop icon choices:
      • Computer
      • Control Panel
      • Network
      • Recycle Bin
      • Users’ Files
Change the default desktop colors – Oddly, there’s only ONE change in the default desktop Windows Vista color theme.
  1. Double-Click "Personalization" from the Control Panel
  2. Click "Theme"
  3. From the "Theme:" pull-down menu select "Windows Aero" (if supported) or "Windows Vista" & click <OK>
  4. Click "Window Color and Appearance"
  5. Click "Open classic appearance properties for more color options"
  6. From the "Appearance" Tab, Click <Advanced> button
  7. From the "Items" pull-down menu select & change
INACTIVE WINDOWS BORDERITEM Color 1
Hue = 145 – Red = 244
Sat = 137 – Green = 247
Lum = 233 – Blue = 252
 
Install Windows 7 Desktop Wallpapers
 

 
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About blakehandler

BLAKE was a Microsoft MVP and award winning programmer with over 20+ years experience providing complete Windows and networking support for small to medium sized businesses. BLAKE is also Jazz Musician and Instructor for residential clients on the Los Angeles West Side.
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