On my HP TX2524CA (AMD HD3200, PUMA RM-70, 4GB RAM, 320GB HDD) laptop, I am dual booting Windows 7 64bit and XP 32 bit. This is mainly to keep my Windows 7 install clean, and allows me to run a native Windows XP installation.
However, ever since switching to Windows 7, I had gotten quite fond of some its new features. I didn’t really are about every single feature, but for those I cared about, I found applications that made the backwards transition much more comfortable.
All these apps were selected with performance in mind. My computer is not very high powered (AMD dual core CPU at 2 GHz).
General Apps for Windows XP
WinSplit Revolution (Windows 7 AeroSnap)
version tested 9.02
- Rearrange windows and snap to areas of your screen using preset layouts (left, right, top, center, down… customizable).
- Keyboard shortcuts for different layouts, maximize and minimize.
- RAM usage: 21 MB
(sample from WinSplit homepage)
John’s Background Switcher (Windows 7 Wallpapers Cycling)
version tested 4.0
- Cycles wallpapers from a selected folder based on time.
- Scales wallpapers properly, trimming oversized wallpapers and stretching smaller ones while keeping the screen filled and the aspect ratio of your wallpapers intact like in Windows 7.
- Can publish a calendar onto the desktop and many other interesting features as well.
- RAM usage: 25-30 MB (my usage scenario, which is just switching wallpapers from selected folder)
(options from John’s Background Switcher in my computer)
QT Address Bar (Windows Vista/7 Explorer Breadcrumbs)
version tested 0.9.6
- adds breadcrumbs to Windows Explorer
- full review at howtogeek
- unknown ram usage, but snappy to use on my computer. supposedly not all that efficient.
(screenshot of Windows Explorer)
Vista Switcher (Windows Vista/7 Alt-tab with previews)
- alt-tab replacement with previews
- very good performance trade off (barely noticeable delay from unmodified alt-tab)
- mouse over to switch apps
- keyboard triggers
- RAM usage: 11 MB
(screenshot from official page, but running from Windows 7)
Taskbar Shuffle (Reorder items in your taskbar and system tray)
- reorder items in taskbar
- very handy to keep your taskbar organized
Vista Drive Icon (Shows disk usage visually like Windows Vista and 7)
- Shows a little colored bar under your drive in My Computer to show usage.
- RAM usage: 4.5 MB
XPize (Better Visual Themes)
- higher resolution icons
- visual themes
- (not intended to clone Windows 7 appearance)
- RAM usage: varies. Probably 10-20 MB more than if you ran a unmodified Windows XP. Does not feel slower
(xpize screenshot from official site, Luna Royale Black theme)
Apps for Dual Booting
- creates symbolic links between folders. forget about moving files from one drive to another altogether.
- Similar to mounting a drive on your computer, except you do this to folders. When you mount a drive, you see it as the letter you assigned it ‘F:’ for example, and when you move a file into it you write to ‘F:’.
- Creating a symbolic link does it for folders. I linked the ‘My Music’ folder of my Seven in C: drive and XP on E: drive. So whenever I move files into ‘My Music’ in XP, it actually writes to the folder on my C: drive but I still use it as if it is a folder on E: drive.
- “E:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\My Documents\My Music” has same contents" as “C:\Users\Administrator\My Music” and is treated like it is the same folder
- I use it for my music, picture, video, download folders.
- copies passwords, history, bookmarks across Firefox installs SEAMLESSLY. Don’t miss a beat despite being on your XP partition.
List of Some Apps I’ve Tried but am Not Using
These are some other programs I tried. But the performance and stability were good enough to use on my AMD based laptop.
- ViGlance (http://www.lee-soft.com/viglance/)
- slow performance
- stability problems
- thumbnails slow
- ViStart (http://lee-soft.com/vistart/)
- ViSplore (http://lee-soft.com/visplore/)
- style doesn’t fit with my theme
- Visual Tooltip (http://www.chrisnsoft.com/visual-tooltip/)