Stardock just released WindowBlinds 6 Beta, which is a huge milestone when it comes to skinning. This version adds a host of great new features for both Vista and XP users, with the most notable thing being the blur effect. Why is that so great? Well, it’s available for XP users as well as Vista users, so you don’t have to spend a fortune on a new operating system if you just want it to look good! Here is an example of the blur effect on Windows XP:

WindowBlinds 6

Aside from that there are also a host of options available in WindowBlinds 6 so that almost all aspects of your operating system look exactly the way you want it to. Here are a bunch of screenshots I took of the configuration screens (click on the thumbnails for a fullsize version):

WindowBlinds 6 Configuration WindowBlinds 6 Configuration WindowBlinds 6 Configuration WindowBlinds 6 Configuration WindowBlinds 6 Configuration WindowBlinds 6 Configuration WindowBlinds 6 Configuration

All of those screenshots were done while running WindowBlinds 6 Beta on a computer that is several years old and has an integrated graphics card. I don’t get all of the pretty effects that some of you can have (one example is that I only see an outline of a window when I move it around the screen), but as you can tell the blur effect still works. And as far as performance goes…I noticed no difference running WindowBlinds when compared to not running it. I really don’t know how Stardock does it.

Here’s a list of features currently available in WindowBlinds 6 Beta:

  • Animation overlays
  • Blur glass effects on both Windows Vista and Windows XP
  • User created sub-styles
  • Full font control
  • Explorer backgrounds
  • Complete Windows Vista skinning (including a sidebar skinner)
  • New Leo skin (that’s what I was using for all of the screenshots)
  • Faster performance
  • And much more!

When the final version of WindowBlinds 6 makes it out the door there will be 6 brand-new skins created by the Stardock Design team. There will also be a SkinStudio 6 Beta released soon so that skin developers can start taking advantage of the new features.

If you want to try out WindowBlinds 6 Beta you’ll need to have an ObjectDesktop subscription. Any users that purchased the standalone version of WindowBlinds 5 after February 1, 2007 will get a free upgrade to version 6 when it is released, so you can buy that now and rest easy knowing you’ll get the next major upgrade when it is available.

I have a strong feeling that we are going to see some great skins being developed for WindowBlinds 6, and this application will take XP’s skinning abilities to a whole new level with the added effects. Now I can’t wait to give this a shot on Vista to see how well it purs! :)

Source: Stardock News