Skins let you totally change the look of apps like media players and image editors, but you can do the same and much more to Windows with Stardock's WindowBlinds. This program makes it easy to change the look of Windows without having to change everything manually in Appearance and Personalization. With preconfigured skins you can customize, WindowBlinds lets you create and customize Windows in ways the built-in tool could never match. WindowBlinds is free to try for 30 days, with a few options disabled.
WindowBlinds' user interface resembles a Windows feature, but with its own touches. It displays available skins with previews in a horizontally scrolling lower panel. The program opened with an introductory tour in the optional tool tip window. WindowBlinds comes with lots of available choices; although the Fonts and Explorer Background tabs were inactive, we could choose from numerous options on tabs for Styles, Colors, Textures, Wallpapers, and Transparency. Clicking on any choice applies it to the sample window borders, toolbar, and dialogs in the program's main window. We chose one Wallpaper style at random, a cool abstract design called Recycled. Clicking Apply Changes on the toolbar applied the design to our Windows desktop, and WindowBlinds followed with a small nag screen reminding us how much time remained in our 30-day trial. Returning to our skin job, we found we could customize the design in various ways, such as changing its primary color with the color picker or altering its transparency with slider controls. The Textures tab offers an impressive array of designs, too. A tab labeled 1-Click lets you add skins for quick changes.
You can spend a lot of time playing around with WindowBlinds before you find a look that suits your mood and style; we know because we did just that. It would take an array of tools to duplicate what it does with a few clicks. If you use it for 30 days and find you just can't give up its quick-change act, it's not expensive to buy. Thousands more skins are freely available online, too. WindowBlinds also works with a separate tool, SkinStudio, to create skins.
Editors' note: This is a review of the trial version of WindowBlinds 7.4.
WindowBlinds is a software utility that allows you to completely change the look and feel of Microsoft Windows. It works by applying new visual styles, also called skins, across the entire user interface of the operating system. As a result, you gain complete control over the way Windows looks.
WindowBlinds comes with a number of visual styles to get you started. From there you can modify them by changing the color, adding a texture, wallpaper, changing fonts, adjusting transparency, or blur. Create, edit and apply textures. Use UIS0 to apply textures to the Windows Aero visual style. Live previews of skins and transparencies. In addition, you can download thousands of free visual styles from the popular WinCustomize.com. With the addition of the separate SkinStudio, you can create your own skins for use with WindowBlinds.
What's new in this version:
Version 7.40 includes fix for IE sizing issue, Opera repaint issue on scrolling, blurred borders on large bordered skins, and for UltraMon secondary taskbar.