windowblinds-7

WindowBlinds 7 Review

Caveats

There are a few caveats to using this software, however.  Windows 7 has a feature that lets you easily find a particular window by making all other windows “invisible” but keeping their outline.  This can be easily demonstrated by hovering your mouse over the bottom right of the taskbar to “show desktop”.  When using a skin that has textures, all of these windows show the texture rather than becoming invisible.


An example of what happens when textured windows don’t play nice.

Additionally, there are a few applications that just do not play nice with WindowBlinds 7.  I noticed that Microsoft Excel’s window disappeared.  Once I switched back to Windows Aero then Excel worked just fine.  Other applications already have their own skin, such as Steam and iTunes, which is just fine and probably wouldn’t work well with a custom skin anyway.

These caveats are really small, and really aren’t deterrents from using WindowBlinds 7.  Like the Excel issue, you may find some applications that just do not work well with being skinned.  There are hundreds of user-generated skins at Win-Customize.com, so any compatibility issues you encounter may be due to an immature skin.  Stardock also makes some professional-looking addon skins, and they cost about $5 each.  If you want to create your own skin (or edit existing ones), then it will cost you an extra $20 to purchase Stardock’s SkinStudio.


Microsoft Office doesn’t like being ‘Blinded.

It appears that the WindowBlinds 7 technology has finally matured enough to truly enhance your desktop experience.  You can finally make Windows your own without sacrificing performance.  There are a few minor issues that still need to be worked out, but this is the best version of skinning software I’ve seen, as it works with Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7 and finally supports 64-bit Operating Systems.  If you’re a customization junkie, then hop on over to Impulse (Stardock’s online software and game distribution platform) and download it now.

REPORT CARD : Stardock Software’s WindowBlinds 7.
category rating comments
Quality 4 Included skins are rather good, but there are still a few minor bugs to work out.
Innovation 5 Finally skinning software that works in every modern Windows OS.
Performance 5 Bypasses Microsoft’s GDI to ensure buttery-smoothness.
Installation 4 Interface design has new usability that may throw off users at first.
Value 4 Costs $20, but it opens up a whole world of new skinning options.  You will be spending several hours getting your desktop just right.  Lots of free skins, but the really good ones cost $5 a pop.
FINAL VERDICT: 4 out of 5 stars
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Alan is a web architect, stand-up comedian, and your friendly neighborhood Grammar Nazi. You can stalk him on the Interwebs via Google+, Facebook and follow his ass on Twitter @ocmodshop.