Flip 3D-like solutions for XP and Home Basic
If you happen to be one of the many folks that have a system pre-loaded with an OEM version of Windows Vista Home Basic, or just haven’t stepped into Microsoft’s new generation of OS and are still running XP, here’s a little tip on how you can have your system mimic Vista Aero’s slick new Flip 3D task switcher.
First, I should preface this with the tidbit that I spent a couple hours looking around the net for some way to hack my lousy Home Basic to enable the Aero theme (glass/transparent windows, thumbnail preview and Flip 3D task switching). Despite the claims of about a zillion Web sites all touting the same registry hack – it appears this isn’t possible. What follows is part one of my free “Aero alternatives”.
Shock Aero 3D
Shock Aero 3D is pretty damn close to the actual Flip 3D effect, and at this price (it’s freeware), we’re certainly willing to overlook any small discrepancies. The program allows you to choose between a flat “tile” display, or the cooler “flip” effect that stacks your open program windows on a 3D z-axis.
The utility also gives you quite a bit of control over animation effects and background styles, both so you’re able to customize things and so you’re able to disable more graphic-intensive processes should your system not be able to handle them.
Shock Aero works on XP/2000/2003/Vista systems with OpenGL support.
I’ve no idea who comes up with these names, but considering this comes out of Japan, I guess we can allow for a bit of a tongue-twisting moniker. Madotate is similar to Shock Aero in the style of its effect (throwing your open apps onto a 3D axis), however where Shock Aero separates the application selection from your desktop, Madotate integrates right into it.
By a small button which the program adds to the top-right of your windows (beside the minimize, maximize, close buttons), you are able to instantly slide the open app into 3D-mode and out of your way. The windows automatically dock to the screen edge they are closest to.
Madotate comes with a rather comprehensive set of options to customize things. You can turn transparency of the 3D-ified windows on or off, tag the windows, change the angle and distance of the effect, set hot keys to effect both the active program and all programs, and a few more.
As mentioned, Mandotate is a Japanese program, but some kind folks went to the trouble of translating it into English. Grab the English version here, or if you’d rather, get the original from the site of the author, Takayuki Shinohara.
Madotate works on pretty much every version of Windows since Windows 95.
Both of the programs have their pluses. Shock Aero has a slightly simpler functionality about it, while Madotate has more organizational/workflow possibilities. When it comes to resources though, Madotate wins hands down, barely pushing the 6MB mark on memory resources.
Know of any other apps that add some pizazz to the otherwise rather mundane task-switching functionality? Leave us a comment.
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