DIY: Turn your Windows PC into a Mac

Ever found yourself lusting over the inspirational look of the Mac operating system? Here are some applications you can download for free to give your PC an Apple-inspired makeover.

Turn your Windows PC into a Mac
Ever found yourself lusting over the inspirational look of the Mac operating system? Here are some applications you can download for free to give your PC an Apple-inspired makeover.

Mac envy is a common ailment that can afflict long-time Windows users. While the easiest fix is for sufferers is to go out and buy a PowerBook or iMac, work and educational environments often force people back into a Windows world. Even if you are content with the Microsoft look and feel, it's hard not to agree that Mac OS X has an elegant user interface, with elements such as the genie effect for minimising windows, the animated dock at the bottom for shortcuts, and glass-like onscreen widgets for displaying mini information panels. If you want to give PC a Mac makeover, here are some applications available for download that mimic Apple's cool effects.

To begin with, download WindowsBlinds and apply this theme to get your desktop looking more like Mac OS X Tiger. Next, replace your Start menu and taskbar with either the ObjectDock or MobyDock to get that nice rollover expansion effect for icons and shortcuts similar to the dock on the bottom of a Mac.

For Dashboard-style widgets, Konfabulator is your best bet; once installed, pressing F8 will grey out your screen and instantly display customisable mini-applications such as local traffic Web cams, to do lists and stock quotes. Thousands of mini-apps are available for download at Konfabulator's Widget Gallery. A handy Aussie built widget is IceTV, an interactive television guide with listings for free-to-air channels.

Windows users will be familiar with the RSI-inducing Alt+Tab method used to switch between running applications: Mac users, on the other hand, have access to a nifty feature called Exposé, whereby pressing a function key neatly arranges previews of all windows currently open on the screen. WinPlosion is the program you need to emulate this on a PC.

Before installing the above downloads, make sure your system has plenty of memory available. Many of them -- especially Konfabulator and WindowBlinds -- are memory hogs and will slow older PCs down to a crawl.

Do you think the look and feel of Mac OS X is years ahead of Windows? Is the Microsoft Start button nearing the end of its life? Have you recently switched over from PC to Mac? How did you find the transition? Have your say below!

This article was first published in CNET.com.au's Downloads newsletter. Become a CNET.com.au member and sign up for free newsletters here.

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About the author

Hi, I look after product development for CBS Interactive in Sydney - which lets me develop a range of websites including CNET Australia, TV.com and ZDNet Australia.

 

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