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Microsoft's new Operating System Windows Vista's supposed to be more secure. Doesn't always run that great on old computers, in fact, I'm sticking with XP on the old ThinkPad here, but I'd like a little taste of Vista without having to pay for it, of course. I'm Tom Merritt, Editor from CNET.com on this edition of Insider Secret I'll show you how to get the flavor of Vista for free.
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Let's start with widgets, little programs that float around on your desktop. Vista's widgets are in the Windows sidebar. You XPyers can have widgets, too. One way is a free program called Desktop Sidebar from desktopsidebar.com. You can customize it to work similarly to Vista, and even download a skin that makes it look like Vista's Aero glass. Another option is the Yahoo widgets engine formerly known as Konfabulator. This isn't a sidebar, but it can run similar widgets to the Windows sidebar. See? Of course, one easy way to get the Windows Vista feel is to run Internet Explorer 7. In fact, your Windows update adviser may've already forced you to upgrade. IE 7 is the default browser in Vista. So, if you really must, you can get some Vista feel by running that as well. One more tweak, in Vista you can hover over the programs down on the taskbar and gives you a little preview. You go to the Microsoft.com you can download a power toy for XP called Alt-Tab Replacement. It does the same thing when you're Alt-Tabbing. Of course, if you just want to power through and redo everything on your machine and wants to look like Vista, you can get the Windows Vista Transformation Pack. Go to windowsxlive.net, it redoes your entire machine as Vista and it includes a sidebar. A warning though, the Vista Transformation Pack changes system files, so don't just do it on a whim. And you should read all the documentation first. However, once it's installs, you can fool your friends and family in to thinking, you have Vista. Hopefully, these tips can tide you over until you upgrade to a new machine or you just give up and switch over to Linux or Mac. I'm Tom Merritt for CNET.com, enjoy your new Vista.
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