WindowFX is a unique desktop customization software.The previous version of WindowFX was released more than two and a half years ago. In spite of it’s uniqueness it’s previous versions had failed to become popular, and for a couple of years no one heard anything more about WindowFx from Stardock.
So what is different this time ? Will WindowFX succeed ?
First let us analyse the possible reasons of failure of WindowsFX v2. Allthough WindowFX makes your desktop look super cool, it comes at a price. WIndowFX does require some processing power. Back in 2002, most people didn’t have more than 128-256MB ram ,PIII were still very much in use and most people were without a graphics card. Hence, most users simply couldn’t afford to have Windows FX running on their system. However in the past few years RAM has become dirt cheap and processors have become more powerful. Entry level Graphics cards are available for a few thousand rupees. Hence, excluding the hardcore gamers most people can now afford to have programs like WindowsFX on their system.
Let us have a look at some of the features which will be present in WindowsFX v3.
? Window Transitions : WindowFX began as a software that added nifty transition effects for various functions in WIndows. This is still it’s main function. Windows transition effects occur when you minimize and restore windows.WindowsFx v3 provides 17 transition effects out of the box. You can set the length of the transition effects to suite your taste.
? Menu Animation : Just as the name suggest, this will add transition effects to menus. It worked flawlessly with all the applications I tried it on. 21 menu transition effects are provided out of the box. Again you can configure the length of the animation.
? First Appear Animation : These animations are shown when a new window is opened or closed. Advanced options allows you to disable this animation effect for windows smaller than a defined size. There are 21 animations provided out of the box.
? Shadows : Windows Xp already has shadow effect but compared to other visually appealing operating systems like OS X, it is pretty average. WindowFx provides 11 different shadow effects, including one which is similar to the shadow effect in mac. The shadows are alpha blended and looks crisp. One feature that I would like to see in the future versions is the ability to increase/decrease shadow size. Currently you can only change colour.
? Taskbar Preview : This is something that will be included in Windows Vista ( Screenshot taken from Paul Thurrott’s Review ). WindowFX shows a thumbnail preview of the window when you hover your cursor over the taskbar entry ( Screenshot ). It also works if the program has it’s icon in the system tray ( eg. Yahoo messenger and Winamp ). However, the main aim of WindowFX is to make your desktop look cool. But the thumbnail preview that pops up looks rather ugly. I prefer the way Visualtasktips works.
? Drag Animation : This comes into effect when you drag a window. Again you can choose any one of the 7 animations that WindowFX provides. I did not like most of the effects, and found them a bit annoying. The only one which I found to be somewhat decent is “Make the Window semi-transparent” while dragging option. This option also allows you to set the transparency level.
? Others : WindowFX also improves upon the Alt+Tab WindowSwitching feature in WIndows XP.Other features include adding transparency to windows taskbar as well as any application. Another interesting feature is “Minimize to size”. This would reduce the size of windows to a desired size instead of minimizing it when you click on the minimize button.Another option worth mentioning is the random transition effect.WindowFX can select a transition effect at random, thus surprising you every time.
Overall WindowFx is one impressive software. This is the specification of the system I tested it on :
AMD 64 3000+ , Asus K8V motherboard, nVdia Geforce FX 5200, 512mb DDR Ram @ 400Mhz, Windows XP 32 bit.
I did not experience any noticeable slow downs, even when it was subjected to multitasking ( Windows Mediaplayer + Y!M + Windows Live Messenger + Opera + Azereus + Flashget ). When not active WindowsFX takes only 2mb ram and 0cpu. So you should be able to play games or do any other activity with ease. However, WindowsFX works best if you have a dedicated graphics card . Else it will run transitions in fall back mode. This may have some effect on the performance of your computer. However, I am unable to verify that.
More transition effect can be downloaded from Wincustomize. One effect that I would urge you to try is the Genie effect. It emulates the Genie effect ( See preview )present in Macintosh.
You can Download the 30-day trial version from here. The full version is priced at $19.95.
Pros : Unique software, super cool transition effects, you can customize various aspects like lengthï¿½and lighting, more transition effects can be downloaded, effects work flawlessly within applications
Cons : Requires a graphics card, some of the transition effects are annoying, can get repetitive, price could have been slightly lower.
My Ratings : 7/10
Video Preview :
[ The transition effects appears choppy at places. This is due to the fact that I was recording my desktop while trying them. Under normal circumstances they work smoothly. Also keep in mind that all features have not been demonstrated. ]