For those that are not planning to install Windows Vista anytime soon, and want the styles and feel Vista has to offer when it comes to eyecandy and functionality, there are a few ways you can do this which can change not only the skins to Vista, but also icons, menus and your bootup screens.The most popular aspect of Vista is its Aero - Transparency and 3D Flip.To get opaque windows on Windows XP, you can try out a various software packages. Forget WindowsBlinds, thats not a true enablement of the Vista experience, what you really need is theBricoPack Vista Inspirat Ultimate 2. This free pack which modifies Windows XP system files in order to change its appearance and make it look like Windows Vista. Before installing this BricoPack, please read the instructions page "about the BricoPacks". You must not install this pack on Windows x64 OS. However I would say this is the easiest and quickest way to change your 32 bit Windows XP OS to Vista Styles.
There is an app called WinFlip which can give you the similar experience of Windows Aero in Vista. It runs in the taskbar and Aero effects (3D flip) can be invoked by pressing the Windows key + Tab. Get it here Download WinFlipOther applications out there that do similar changes are:- SphereSite - Actual Transparent Window- WindowFX- Y'z ShadowIf your a do it yourself type of person and want to teak things individually yourself from scratch, you can modify the Windows XP OS and get the Vista Themes separately following these steps:
1. Get the Uxtheme Multi-patcher which will allow you to use any 3rd party msstyle theme on Windows XP/SP1/SP2 or Windows Server 2003 (with Themes enabled) just by patching the uxtheme.dll (dynamic link library), then reboot after for the changes to take effect.
2. Get a Windows Vista Theme such as the VistaVG or AeroVG Theme, (browse through them here at http://themes.belchfire.net/vista-themes.html) and unzip it and copy it to C:\WINDOWS\Resources\Themes directory.
3. Get some nice Hi-res wallpaper from gnome-look.org or check out my previous article on pimping your desktop with wallpaper.
4. Get a Windows Vista Sound Pack and put them in the to C:\WINDOWS\MEDIA folder. Then in the Control panel > Sounds and change the sound for respective events.
5. For enabling the Aero look you can try the links I specified above for details and options.