Windowblinds 5.5

Stardock released WindowBlinds 5.5 today. WindowBlinds is a program that enables users to customize the look and feel of the graphical user interface of Microsoft Windows. By applying "skins", WindowBlinds can change title bars, borders, push buttons, scroll bars, the taskbar, the Start menu and virtually every element of the Windows environment. Thousands of different skins exist and can be created using a free program called SkinStudio.

WindowBlinds 5.5 is a major update in that it is the first program to allow users to change the look and feel of Windows Vista. Thanks to a new technology called "SmartSkinning", WindowBlinds allows skins created for Windows XP to be used to skin Windows Vista. WindowBlinds 5.5 then transforms the skin, on-the-fly, to conform to the new user interface conventions of Windows Vista to give it a distinctly Windows Vista look and feel. Users of .msstyles files on Windows XP can use SkinStudio to convert their favorite .msstyles to WindowBlinds 5.5 to run natively on Windows Vista.

For Windows Vista users, WindowBlinds 5.5 makes use of the new hardware accelerated Desktop Window Manager (DWM) to ensure the highest level of performance. WindowBlinds 5.5 also skins the client controls of "non theme aware" programs on both Windows XP and Windows Vista so that users get a consistent look and feel across all their applications.

WindowBlinds has over 12 million downloads at CNET's Download.com and is, by far, the most popular desktop enhancement program of all time. It has also been licensed by companies looking to deliver their own branded looks to the desktop including Microsoft, Nintendo, ATI, nVidia, Ziff-Davis, Blizzard, and more.

Stardock has also begun work on WindowBlinds 6 which will provide a host of native features to Windows Vista such as custom blur effects, Sidebar skinning, glass toolbar skinning, and some new features that Stardock is keeping under wraps. Users who purchased WindowBlinds 5 after February 1st will receive WindowBlinds 6 free. A beta of WindowBlinds 6 will be available for registered users shortly.

Users can download WindowBlinds 5.5 directly from the newly re-designed WindowBlinds.net website. The enhanced registered version is $19.95 or can be purchased as part of Object Desktop, Stardock's flagship suite of desktop enhancement programs which includes IconPackager, DesktopX, ObjectBar, DeskScapes, LogonStudio Vista, and more.

WindowBlinds 5.5
Requires: Windows XP, 2003, or 32-bit Windows Vista (64-bit support coming shortly)

Screenshot: >> Click here <<
Screenshot: >> Click here <<
View: WindowBlinds

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5.50 Release
-----------------
Technology Preview with support for 32-bit Windows Vista (no 64-bit Vista support in this iteration).

5.49s
-------
Windows DreamScene on Vista Ultimate and WB should be happier with loading/unloading.
Returning to Aero if you've disabled UAC should be settled down.

5.49o beta
--------------
Additional tweaks to skin applying.
Wavelab issue should be fixed.

5.49n beta
--------------
Update to correct Corel fixes being too broad and impacting shellstyles.
Should also correct UAC prompts not skinning.

5.49m beta
--------------
Workarounds for Corel Office apps to try and keep them somewhat happier under Vista.
Fixed issue with clicking in Office 2007 apps.

5.49l beta
-------------
Fixed issue with password entry fields not showing characters
Start button shouldn't go black on unload/switch to Classic
Tweaked sizing code on skin changes

5.49k beta
--------------
Fixed issue with Corel 12 starting maximized.
Fixed issue with OS/2 Warp 4 skin.

5.49j beta
-------------
Fixed a rare loop bug that could have stopped skinning.

5.49i beta
-------------
Updated to correct a crashing issue that was found. Reboot required.

5.49h beta
--------------
More updates and tweaks than you can shake a stick at.

5.49e beta
--------------
Refreshed to not have a Jan 1 beta timeout.

5.49d beta
--------------
My bad, updated 2 additional images with the Vista build. Same as 5.49c otherwise.

5.49c beta
--------------
More internal work.
Made arrow on Welcome dialog visible again.
Added explorer selection images.

WB 5.49b beta
-------------------
Added back start menu blur
Fixed taskbar blur oversaturating
Fixed per pixel button alignment on maximized windows
Fixed event log crashing
Fix for when the secondary screen is larger than the primary causing max issues with some skins
Fix mdi windows sometimes not showing as maximized when they should
Fix for Firefox jumping
Tweak for some button issues
Some work for handling non DWM capable machines
Wallpapers code tweaked to handle wallpapers intended for multiple monitors
Internal work and improvements from OEM testing.

WB 5.49a beta
-------------------
Against, this is a 32-bit only build for Windows Vista and Windows XP. There will not be a 64-bit beta in November.

-Tweaks for the occasional reports of explorer crashes on initial load
-Event viewer crashing is a known issue in this build.
-Prompt on IE7/Explorer dialogs with the textbackground painting black is known.
-Some known issues with titlebar button on office 2k7 with some skins.
-Minor corruption with excel 2k7 client area being looked into.

WB 5.49 beta
-----------------
This beta build is 32-bit only. Please reboot after installation of the beta, though that should just be a beta limitation atm. System information for the 32-bit XP build will report itself as WindowBlinds version : WindowBlinds 5 (5.1 (build 81 x86)) , we haven't changed its version string yet.

-Added support for Windows Vista. RC2 and RTM builds should work, but it is likely any pre-RC2 build will be unhappy. Windows Vista Starter Edition is not supported, but all others should be functional (including per-pixel support on Windows Vista Home Basic with WDDM drivers).
-Added enhanced user interface for XP and Vista
-Added blur transitions on skin changes
-Fixed Corel X13 jumping
-Fixed IE7 tab text painting to paint in a better color (for some skins)
-Fixed hourly changing of wallpapers
-You must have WDDM drivers for your video card on Vista for this build to work.
-We know about the black text background with IE7 password prompts. There's also a missing arrow image somewhere, see if you can find it!

Please use the Stardock WindowBlinds Forum to report any issues. Be sure to include information on your video card, driver level, version of Windows Vista, and what skin you are using. http://forums.stardock.com/?forumid=167

WB 5.10 release
---------------------
-Tweaks to wallpaper handling and internal updates
-Updated x64 builds
-Updated help file
-Updated wbconfig to remove some legacy compatibility settings
that were no longer being used with WB5
-Updated activation binary with additional error handling

Please note that 5.10 does not support Windows Vista. We will be starting
the beta for the version that does shortly.

9/21/06 13:17 676,016 Activate.exe
9/23/06 14:15 426,129 wb.chm
10/09/06 11:24 529,512 wblind.dll
10/09/06 12:51 738,304 wblind64.dll
10/09/06 13:25 168,960 WbSrv.dll
10/10/06 17:39 675,504 wbconfig.exe


WB 5.01m beta
--------------------
Added limited support for per pixel effects on unsupported hardware. What does this mean? It means you can enable the option to attempt to use per pixel effects on hardware/driver combinations that do not claim to be able to support it. You must still be in 32-bit color mode and moving/sizing windows will only show a border for the window (you will not see the contents of the window while updating).

Fix for Photoshop CS2 and unskinning
Fix for oddball crashes with the Yahoo music engine

9/21/06 15:29 679,088 wbconfig.exe
9/21/06 15:29 535,320 wblind.dll
9/21/06 15:29 226,992 WbSrv.dll


WB 5.01l beta
------------------
-Updated wallpaper feature to copy jpg out of skin directories to the
.\WindowBlinds\Wallpaper dir for use with the wallpaper changing features.
Click the Rebuild List button on the Skins tab to force that if this is an
update installer over an existing WB build.

8/25/06 18:11 149,168 WBDB.dll

WB 5.01k beta
-------------------
-Adjustments to wallpaper changing
-Tweaks to bitmap handling code to attempt to address occasional odd loading
of images or not loading of images

8/19/06 15:24 667,136 wbconfig.exe
8/23/06 18:13 529,000 wblind.dll
8/23/06 18:18 176,128 WbSrv.dll

WB 5.01j beta
------------------
-Attempted fix for report of pp corruption on login
-Fixes for bits cut out of titlebar in XP Corona and Kryptonite (Kryptonite needs
a skin update (not included) to fix its systray issue).

8/15/06 18:50 534,800 wblind.dll
8/15/06 18:50 181,936 WbSrv.dll

WB 5.01i beta
------------------
Performance optimizations for previews, applying, and general bitmap useage.

8/09/06 19:09 528,474 wblind.dll
8/09/06 19:14 176,128 WbSrv.dll

WB 5.01h beta
-----------------
-Tweaks for start menus
-Tweaks for taskbars on right and top
-Fix for button animation issue
-Updated helper text for activation

7/05/06 17:22 16,664 activate.lng
7/06/06 10:32 675,504 Activate.exe
7/13/06 19:37 659,456 wbconfig.exe
7/14/06 18:22 176,128 WbSrv.dll
7/28/06 19:29 534,288 wblind.dll

WB 5.01g beta
------------------
Fixes problem with pages not painting correctly when a window is made semi-transparent.
Fixes a problem with gamma adjustment not impacting all parts of a skin.

7/14/06 5:23 528,474 wblind.dll
7/14/06 5:22 176,128 WbSrv.dll
4/13/06 5:29 32,768 tray.dll
7/13/06 6:37 659,456 wbconfig.exe

WB 5.01f beta
------------------
Added taskbar blur to the preview
Fix for some uis1 menubars not painting colors correctly.
Modified startmenu painting on hardware without per-pixel support

6/29/06 11:20 534,288 wblind.dll
6/29/06 11:20 181,936 WbSrv.dll

WB 5.01e beta
-------------------
-Updates to correct a problem with debugging other apps with some skins.
-Fix for maximized titlebar in Cyclops.

6/20/06 11:06 533,776 wblind.dll

WB 5.01d beta
-------------------
-Fix for where some skins ignored titlebar margins in 5.01c

6/06/06 12:09 533,776 wblind.dll

WB 5.01c beta
------------------
-Additional performance optimizations
-Updated semi-trans start menu code to reduce flicker on low-end machines

6/05/06 14:00 533,264 wblind.dll

WB 5.01b beta
------------------
-Modifications for the reported crashes with some skins
-A bunch of performance optimizations, especially new methods
that should benefit ATI cards

5/30/06 19:49 532,240 wblind.dll

WB 5.01a beta
-------------------
-Performance opts and other internal update prep
-32-bit beta only, though the x64 install will still be the 5.01 release

5/22/06 20:55 531,728 wblind.dll

WB 5.01 release
---------------------

12/06/05 21:29 95,232 wbui.dll
2/05/06 12:58 176,128 WbSrv.dll
3/13/06 17:51 42,672 32Set.exe
3/13/06 17:53 120,496 Screen.exe
3/13/06 17:53 38,576 skincst.exe
3/13/06 17:54 238,256 wbload.exe
3/19/06 14:33 657,920 wbconfig.exe
3/20/06 10:54 522,330 wblind.dll
3/20/06 10:59 727,040 wblind64.dll

I would like to able to change Adobe CS2 apps to Classic as they are ugly as hell in Aero.


Adobe CS2 isn't skinned with Aero to begin with...the program itself doesn't support it. Vista will change your theme for you to a standard theme (not classic). This goes for Paint Shop Pro X as well.

It's nice that the screenshots actually look good. Normally when a new version of WindowBlinds comes out they use ridiculous screenshots of bloated looking themes.

Andre - you just exclude that app from being skinned entirely and it'll be classic. Classic isn't a skin, it's the actual kernel-level GUI of Windows XP/Vista.

Worth every $ IMHO. Running both XP and Vista and I'm completely satisfied.

Stardock has also begun work on WindowBlinds 6 which will provide a host of native features to Windows Vista such as custom blur effects, Sidebar skinning, glass toolbar skinning, and some new features that Stardock is keeping under wraps. Users who purchased WindowBlinds 5 after February 1st will receive WindowBlinds 6 free. A beta of WindowBlinds 6 will be available for registered users shortly.
Great!

Upon trying the shareware version I weren't able to select Classic skin in the 'per-application' settings. Is it limited to shareware.. or what?

I would like to able to change Adobe CS2 apps to Classic as they are ugly as hell in Aero.

Lare2 said,
Neowin has never been that fast regarding news on the front page :P

Why don't you do something about it then?
Oh, and it was available earlier for subscribers. I wanted Brad (Frogboy) to cover it anyways seeing as he could tell us more.