If you are using Windows XP, sometimes you might feel a little left out in the visual department.
That is why we are seeing more and more applications that tweak the crap out of the Windows XP user interface. Don’t be jealous of OS X or Compiz users anymore! Now, you can have some awesome effects and visuals as well! I downloaded the 735KB Nimi Visuals X installer from a DeviantART user and installed it.
I was hoping for a free application to pretty up a desktop running Windows XP SP3 without slowing it down. Yeah, I know… Fat chance! But wish me luck!
After installing and accepting the user agreement, I saw a new System Tray icon which looks something like this (sorry for the blurriness, the icon had to be blown up to visualize):
By double clicking or right clicking the icon, you can launch the Settings Center. This is where all the magic happens. It will come up and look like this:
Each item is a different effect. You can find out what it does by clicking on it. To activate each one, you need to click the check box. It will change from ‘black and white’ to color. Some items cannot be installed together. After you select an item, a second item may wind up with a exclamation point like this:
I checked everything as you can see below:
There is also a checkbox in the lower left hand corner that is hard to see but it says ‘Enable on system start’. Let’s not check this one while we are trying out the effects. To activate the effects, close the Settings Centre by clicking the X button in the upper right-hand corner. If you selected everything like me, you are now looking at everything through a blue tint. This is the ‘screen frost’ effect. Everything but the active window looks blue. That effect is not for me. I unchecked it and continued on.
So long story short, I could not get some of the items to work, like the Picture board, but the ones that do work are the ones I like. This is a great application. It is still under development, so we can hope for another release soon.
Being able to drag and dock a window is awesome, but couple that with translucent start menus and effects – like bouncing windows, jelly windows (blobs when you drag it around) and many more. You really need to try this out to get a feel for it.
The active windows bounce is handy for locating the window you just switched to. Other effects like ‘jelly window’ just add eye candy.
You need .Net 2.0 installed on your machine. Some other third-party UI tweaking applications will not work when Nimi Visuals X is running, so your mileage may vary. This will work on Windows XP, Vista and Seven.
And as always, a video is worth a lot more than me writing when it comes to visualization. So this official YouTube video should show you all the options in their full glory. The video has no sound, I did not create it but I can apologize in advance.
All in all, even if you just enable a couple of effects, this is a great add-on for Windows machines. Remember, if you are shutting down the application, you need to go back into the Settings Centre to uncheck the effects then and close it. If you uninstall the program while effects are on, some effects will stay on. So, uncheck them and close the application before you uninstall it!
Mac OS X visual effects not rocking your boat? Then, check out how to make your Windows XP look like Vista.
What are you using to customize your Windows experience? Let us know about them in the comments!