The Best of Three Worlds


5 Aug 2011
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Can anything so beautiful and smart be Windows? Yes, but only with the best features from Apple and Linux world combine to create the perfect operating system BY JÖRG GEIGER

Software, games, movies, music, the latest hardware; everything is available for Windows: and everything runs perfectly well too. However, sometimes even the most die-hard fans of Microsoft Windows are jealous of the simple Apple Mac OS X or wish for the functionalities of the powerful Linux. But quitting the Windows world is completely out of question. The good news is you don’t need to either. CHIP shows how the best from OS X and Linux can be combined in your Windows system. Instead of the boring taskbars you can have useful docks with 3D icons and drilled-in functions. With help of cool shortcuts you can achieve spectacular window effects on the screen and a quick preview of documents. This is not all, the OS X has much more to offer: For example, the Time Machine, with help of which one can turn the clock backwards in case of a data mishap and access the automatically created backup. You can easily get all these features for your Windows PC. Furthermore, with the tools we suggest, you can even use the multi-touch functions on the notebook or even start a real Linux prompt in Windows. With help of these advanced system tools mentioned here, you will have tight control over Windows just like any Linux user has on his distribution. In addition to stylish appearance and professional functions our tools also realize a range of additional comfort for Windows: This way, just as it is always possible in Linux in future even you will be able to install a dozen programs in one go.

ATTENTION: The tools in this workshop have been tested in depth with XP, Vista and Windows 7. However, tuning always means changing your system settings. Therefore, we recommend a complete backup.
TIP: It is not necessary to perform all the steps in this workshop at same time. The tools and tweaks introduced here function individually and are independent from each other.

Time Machine: Continuous automatic backups
Although, for many years now Windows has been integrated with its own backup function, it is still not sufficiently user friendly. With Time Machine OS X show how easily backups can be realized. Just connect an external hard disk, configure the backup and that is all; you never need to take a look again. In case of malfunction, one can always access the older file versions using a timeline. The 'Genie Timeline Free Edition' tool enables these functions even on Windows. Just configure the backup once and everything else functions automatically. The software saves the latest status of the system once in every hour. With help of a simple slider in Explorer you can revert to the older file versions and retrieve them by simply clicking on them.

Mac-Aqua: New look replaces Aero Glass
Windows 7 is by all means much more stylish than any of its predecessors; however, it is still not comparable with OS X. With help of suitable theme packets, you can decorate Windows 7 in OS X style. Download the 'Snow Leopard for Windows 7' software.
However, to be able to install new themes on Windows 7, you will require the 'Universal Theme Patcher', since Windows doesn't allow using third-party themes.

IMPORTANT: The Theme Patcher includes a separate program for 32-bit as well as for 64-bit Windows. In case of 64-bit version of Windows 7 you must run each of the three files and click on the “Patch” button.
TIME FOR THE OS-X LOOK: Unzip the theme packs, for example with WinRAR, and copy the content of the 'Themes' sub-folder in the 'C:WindowsResourcesThemes' folder on the hard disk. Now right click in the open space on the desktop and select 'Customize. Now you can see three new entries under the 'Installed designs' option: Snow Leopard Basic, Snow Leopard Glass and Snow Leopard. A single click on Snow Leopard is sufficient for Windows 7 to change its look. A small bug slips in to the Internet Explorer 8 in Windows 7 x64 version: As a result the address bar moves out of place. As a solution, we recommend using Firefox or Safari.
NOTE: The new look not only changes the desktop background, but it also imparts a new design to the taskbar as well as the Windows. In addition, you will see a couple of new icons in the Explorer.

Multi-touch in Windows: This is how it works
Since the introduction of iPhone, multi-touch has been in vogue. With its Magic Mouse and the touchpads of MacBook and MacBook Pro, Apple shows that more functions can be integrated with the input device. This function can be enabled even in Windows as described below.

Apple's Mouse with a touch-sensitive surface can be used in Windows using a Bluetooth adapter. However, Windows 7 does not recognize the functions of this mouse automatically.

IMPORTANT: There is a different version available for 64-Bit systems. If you wish to activate the touchpad with multitouch for your notebook, you must install the Two-Finger-Scroll tool. You can scroll through the websites as well as the text at the same time, whereby you use two fingers on the touch-sensitive surface.

3D-Dock: Animated taskbar with new functions
Instead of a page wide taskbar OS X offers the almost magical Dock, on which 3D icons with animated surfaces have been housed. If a program is started the icons bounce, and with the Mouse-Over-Effect you can pull these with the cursor. You can integrate this tool in Windows with help of the small tool “RocketDock”. Just go through a standard installation routine and launch the RocketDock from the program folder.
At the beginning the tool is located right at the top edge of the screen, since you still have the taskbar at bottom. Right click on a free space on the taskbar and clear the checkmark in front of the 'Lock the taskbar' option. Now, you can move the taskbar to the right edge of the screen with the drag-and-drop method. Click on the second icon from the right on the RocketDock, to customize the program settings. For example select “Start RocketDock with Windows” and “Minimize window in the Dock“, and under “Position” select the lower screen edge as the optimum option. In “Appearance” you can customize the appearance with skins. By clicking on “Search online”, you can even get a “Leopard Skin”.

Finderbar: The intelligent bar for Windows 7
CLEVER AND USEFUL: The “Finderbar” mini-tool adds the typical menu bar for the active programs on the top edge of the screen. So as to enable the function, position the Windows taskbar on the top edge of the screen. Set the taskbar to “Use small symbols” and continuously superimpose these. The theme packet described above functions only with Windows 7. However, there are optical packets available for XP and Vista. In fact these are much more comfortable to use than the Windows 7 solution. For XP, at best download the “FlyakiteOSX” on the computer.
This packet includes everything that one may require for the Windows XP
face lift. Vista users should opt for Vista OS X 2009.
IMPORTANT: For this visual pack to function, it is necessary that the SP1 is already installed. Vista OS X too has suitable wallpapers integrated in it; imparting a new design to the window frame. It also has Boot logos installed.
NOTE: The account control impedes a part of the installation. Therefore, begin with the “msconfig” tool over “Run” and under “Tools” select the “Deactivate user account control (UAC)” option. You can install Vista OS X after a fresh bootup. Subsequently, reactivate the account control. So as to make Vista look identical to OS X, you must hide the sidebar and move the taskbar towards the top edge of the screen.

Additional applications: Safari, iTunes & others for Windows
COOL WITH OS X: Suitable programs are pre-installed for the important tasks. But, Microsoft has removed a few tools from Windows 7. Thus, the user must integrate these. In order to match with OS X, we recommend three programs.
SAFARI: Anyone who wishes to give Windows the looks of OS X, cannot do it without this browser. One does not require playing around much, since Apple already offers a Windows version. Thanks to the web kit engines, the browser is somewhat quick and currently shares the top spot for speed with Google Chrome. It already has most of the basic functions pre-installed, for example tabs, search field, bookmark management and pop-up blocker.
Eye-catcher: The start page shows the most frequently visited websites like a mini window. Scroll through the History using Cover Flow for the Apple feel.
PICASA: In OS X, iPhoto is the ideal tool. It is a universal tool for anyone who captures digital photographs. Picasa is very similar to iPhoto and in fact it can do much more. The program arranges the photos and videos as per the date when it was captured, groups them according to the events and allows publishing your own creations in various ways. Furthermore, it offers an option to upload photos and videos onto the web and allow friends access to these. It is also possible to export locally, for instance to hard disk or over photo DVD along with slide show. Basic editing functions, such as red-eye effect correction or brightening are also integrated in it. The most remarkable addition since the version 3.6 has been the face recognition feature. In this, the program scans your photos for faces. The persons identified must be named only once, and subsequently Picasa allocates the photos automatically. You can search for persons using Picasa and thereby display all photos, quickly.
ITUNES: Be it OS X or Windows, iTunes is the standard for owners of iPod, iPhone and iPad. Most of the users have already installed it on Windows. However, anyone who wants that OS X Look must install it.

ATTENTION: This tip is for users who wish to learn in detail about the “Prompt”. It is possible to enable a real Linux Shell in Windows to the start and that with “Cygwin”. Technically speaking, Cygwin is a compatibility layer, which creates a Unix environment in Windows. Linux adds numerous applications to Windows.
To start with, one can use Linux system commands in Windows, for instance to quickly connect files to each other or to configure settings in scripts. However, the main advantage is something else: With help of the Linux environment, you will be able to execute Linux tools in Windows.
This is how, for instance you can use programming fans’ open source compiler. Another example: Google’s new network scanner skipfish, which has been designed for Linux. Only with Cygwin
can it be used in Windows.

CD/DVD images: Access them easily without a drive
Apart from their relationship to Unix, Linux and OS X also have a few more striking features in common. For example, both these systems can mount CD/DVD image files without requiring an optical drive. In both these systems a double click or a shell command is sufficient to mount an image as a virtual drive in the file system. You can integrate this practical function even in Windows: For this purpose, CHIP recommends Daemon Tools Lite. Using it you can use up to four virtual drives at the same time, in which you can mount CD/DVD/Blu-ray images (ISO, BIN, NRG). However, be careful when installing these ingenious tools: If you continue responding to every dialog box with 'Yes', then at the end of the installation you will not only end up with the Daemon Tools, but even the Ask toolbar will be installed. So make sure you read the messages in the dialog boxes before clicking 'Yes'.

Safe on the Internet: Surfing and E-banking
Windows users are most prone to viruses and trojans. On the other hand, with Linux and OS X, one can surf the Internet without any additional security measures. Solution for Windows users: For browsing the Internet switch over to the Linux mode, whereas for all other tasks use Windows. It is very easy to enable this option—all that you require is the 'VMware Player' and the 'Browser Appliance Virtual Machine software. The player is an environment for all virtual machines. Browser Appliance is similar. It's a Linux system based on CentOS. It has been designed so ingeniously that one does not feel he/she is actually using Linux, but only sees Firefox on the display screen. Thus, you can easily surf the web with Firefox 3.6.3. The browser however, runs on a virtual machine on Linux. This way worms and trojans do not stand a chance.
DISADVANTAGE: As opposed to the slim Firefox that takes up very little disk space, the Browser Appliance occupies considerably more than 1 GB of hard disk space.

Prompt: New power functions for Windows
The first, what a die-hard Linux fan misses in Windows, is a real prompt. However, Windows 7 includes PowerShell—as compared to standard prompts which are executed using “cmd”, PowerShell not only executes commands, but it even processes complex scripts in an independently developed programming language. PowerShell can be downloaded for XP and Vista from the Download Center of Microsoft for free, whereas it has been already integrated in Windows 7. For instance, you can control the active processes with a few commands. Anyone, who wishes to see all active programs, simply has to type “get-process”. Your can even view programs that hog memory with the PowerShell. Thus, the command “get-process | where {$ -gt 20 MB}” displays a list of active programs that are consuming more than 20 MB of RAM.
If you find this process to demanding, you can integrate these system tools even with graphical interfaces. Since it is a forte of Linux that it allows to scan the system completely. The users can read-out even the trickiest of the system information. Anyone, who wishes to experience Windows in a similar informative style, should use the “Windows System Control Center”. This collection of tools is extremely compact and yet it encompasses hundreds of tools.
Tip: The user simply has to double-click on the packet; however, it is downloaded directly from the Internet if the user wishes to use a specific tool. For example Bluetooth: Anyone who wants to detect the Bluetooth devices that are active in the surrounding should click on the 'Network Utilities' heading under the 'NirSoft Utilities'. The 'Bluetooth View' tool is located here. The program is downloaded and launched automatically by simply clicking on it. The packet contains all system tools, for example the built-in “Process Explorer” which is a task manager or “Autorun” which is a tool to test the Autostart. An additional advantage: The suite offers a useful shortcuts for the prompt function. You can comfortably access the most important Windows commands using a graphical interface.

Software packets: Install multiple tools
in one go
Installing software is not a difficult task in Windows. Nevertheless, OS X and Linux prove it practically how it is considerably easier. Instead of running through the process of going through numerous dialog boxes, specifying settings and then restarting the computer, Linux on the contrary allows a comfortable selection of tools with help of the package manager. The user simply has to select the programs he wishes to install by clicking on them or with help of the command prompt. These are subsequently loaded and installed in one go. This shortcut is generally useful when one has to execute any software frequently.
An Internet service enables this function for Windows users: Download the browser from The website lists every type of free programs available, for instance the tools mentioned in this article such as Safari, iTunes and Picasa. The programs are categorized into sections such as web browsers, messaging clients, media utilities, imaging tools, security tools, file sharing and developer tools. By marking the checkboxes, you can specify which tools you wish to install on your PC. Once you are done selecting all programs, you simply have to click on 'Get Installer'. The service then prepares a packet of the selected programs and allows you to download it. All you have to do is execute the package and all the programs are installed in a single go. It cannot get any easier than this.

Source : Chip magazine.
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