WindowBlinds Version 4
Info & Requirements
|Info & Requirements|
Developed by: Stardock Corp. (www.stardock.com)
Price: Trial version is free for unlimited time. Enhanced version is $19.95. Can also be purchased as part of Object Desktop suite ($49.95).
OS Compatibility: Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows ME, or Windows 98
Home Page: http://www.windowblinds.net
More Skins Available at: WinCustomize.com, deviantART, LotsOfSkins, SkinBase, XPThemes.com
WindowBlinds is a program that that enables Windows users to completely change the look and feel of the Windows user interface. It does so by natively extending the user interface features of Windows to support enhanced visual styles.
If you have Windows XP, you're already half-way there. Windows XP includes a basic visual style engine that WindowBlinds is able to extend and accelerate to provide more features, optimize its memory usage, and improve its performance.
If you have Windows 98, ME, or 2000, WindowBlinds delivers full visual style capability to those OSes.
WindowBlinds is part of Stardock's Object Desktop suite of desktop extensions. It is also available stand alone at WindowBlinds.net.
|Features of WindowBlinds|
Excellent application compatibility. Because Stardock has had years to tune WindowBlinds for compatibility, WindowBlinds has excellent compatibility. How good? Ask Microsoft, Nintendo, nVidia, ATI, and many others who have licensed WindowBlinds to release additional visual styles.
Top Notch Performance. WindowBlinds uses the graphics acceleration features of today's video cards to accelerate visual styles.
Tight Integration. WindowBlinds is so tightly integrated into Windows XP (and Windows 2000) it can even skin the Windows command prompt. Only WindowBlinds makes this possible.
Native. WindowBlinds doesn't "skin" over the Windows GUI. Instead, it actually handles the painting for the application. This allows WindowBlinds to skin virtually every control. On Windows XP, for example, WindowBlinds can actually stylize more controls on more programs than the bundled msstyle engine.
WindowBlinds 4 also now skins virtually every aspect of the Windows GUI that one can imagine. And in fact, the enhanced visual styles used by WindowBlinds can skin things previously not thought to be skinnable such as logon/logoff dialogs, the "please wait" dialog, backgrounds in the Control Panel and other special folders, and more.
WindowBlinds also comes with clean and easy configuration dialog. Users can still control their WindowBlinds enhanced visual styles from the display properties dialog, but the WindowBlinds configuration makes it easy to manage dozens of skins, sort them by category, and configure it to their liking.
WindowBlinds gives Windows XP users, for the first time, a say on how big their Windows XP start bar is. Now users can set how big they want their Start bar to be.
WindowBlinds visual styles support skinning additional small aspects of the Windows XP user interface such as mouse-overs on the Start menu.
WindowBlinds supports a feature called "Hyperpaint". This is different from "Smart Paint". Hyperpaint uses the extra video RAM on your video card to "buffer" your windows which makes moving them on screen possible without any repainting.
WindowBlinds lets users define what double clicking and right clicking on the title bar do. This can translate into significant productivity gains for users as they can perform various actions with a single or double click to the title bar.
Stardock Skincast is a way for users to add new visual styles to Windows right from the appearance dialog or WB Configuration dialog. It automatically downloads the week's featured visual style and installs it.
WindowBlinds can change the color of any visual style on the fly. While there are thousands of existing WindowBlinds visual styles, this feature allows users to take those visual styles and tune them to their own tastes visually. The same is true about gamma adjustment and even gray scale. A user can even invert the colors of a visual style.
WindowBlinds allows users to have different visual styles on different applications.
Before & After. Same applications. WindowBlinds can skin non-theme aware applications.
WindowBlinds can skin non-theme aware applications. Windows XP is designed to only fully skin "theme aware" programs. But WindowBlinds 4 can skin even non-theme aware applications fully while still maintaining a high level of compatibility.
WindowBlinds enables users to change the Windows progress animations to one of their choice. Users can even mix and match their visual styles and their animations.
WindowBlinds can change the toolbar icons of Internet Explorer and Explorer.
WindowBlinds works by extending the drawing APIs of Windows to support additional features. These features are designed to provide new functionality, improve performance, and be seamless. WindowBlinds does not hack any system DLLs, it doesn't replace any system files. It follows the Windows programming guidelines which is why Microsoft awarded it its designed for Windows XP logo certification.
(WindowBlinds is certified by Microsoft for use with Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows ME, and Windows 98).
|WindowBlinds in action|
See how WindowBlinds has been used by millions of individuals and corporations as well. Here are some examples of WindowBlinds in use in the real world...
Microsoft licensed WindowBlinds to create an X-box visual style. If you would like to try this visual style, visit Microsoft's Xbox website.
Warner Bros. licensed WindowBlinds to promote Terminator 3 on their website. Professional design ships such as The Skins Factory, Pixtudio, SkinPlant, and have strong businesses creating custom WindowBlinds visual styles for companies.
Microsoft recently licensed WindowBlinds to help promote their hit strategy game Rise of Nations as well as Age of Mythology and Combat Flight Simulator.
Touchstone pictures licensed WindowBlinds for the computer interface scenes in The Recruit.
nVidia licensed WindowBlinds to provide an nVidia UI for their customers. Additionally, nVidia partners such as ABit, EVGA, BFG, and others also licensed WindowBlinds to include with their video cards.
Nintendo is currently using WindowBlinds to promote the Nintendo Gamecube and their games such as Super Mario Sunchine, Pikmin, Legend of Zelda, and others.
Today, WindowBlinds has an estimated installed base of over 8 million users worldwide. It is one of the most popular programs of all time time on C-net's Download.com (the world's most popular download site) and the world's most popular desktop enhancement program. It has over 2000 visual styles (skins) created for it with new ones appearing every day from people from around the world. It is used both by consumers and corporations alike. For consumers, it lets them personalize Windows to their needs. Corporations use it for branding or to extend the Windows GUI to have additional features needed by individual companies.
Its website is http://www.windowblinds.net. It is $19.95 stand alone but is free to try with a download available on the WindowBlinds website. It is also part of Stardock's Object Desktop suite of desktop enhancements which is $49.95.
If you're a commercial software developer, you can make your application skinnable with DirectSKIN.
WindowBlinds 4 runs on Windows 98*, ME*, 2000, and Windows XP.
|The Advantages of WindowBlinds vs. The XP visual style engine|
If you're running Windows XP, WindowBlinds provides significant advantages over the bundled visual styles system.