Fancy having a peek at Windows 8.1, but put off by the idea of upgrading? Windows 8 UX Pack offers you a glimpse into the future of Windows without committing you to installing the full operating system. It basically skins Windows 7 to give it the distinctive look and feel of Windows 8.1, including the Metro theme, which basically uses a widget-like display to give you access to various tools and apps.
Although the UX Pack wraps things up nicely in its own installer, we’d still strongly recommend you have some kind of drive-imaging backup in place: Paragon Backup and Recovery Free is one such tool, or you could opt for a system rollback solution like Comodo Time Machine.
With your fail-safe backup in place, you’re free to proceed. When you install the program, you’ll first need to select the Windows 8.1 theme you want to apply (you can change this theme later after installation by re-running the setup program). Once it’s installed and applied you’ll have the distinctive feel of Windows 8.1 on your PC.
Your wallpaper and window furniture will have changed and you should notice the flatter, matt finish provided on scroll bars and progress indicators. There's the full Metro UI desktop emulated, giving access to Mosaic and the new Aero auto-colourisation. In short, you get a very pretty new desktop.
Sadly, a pretty desktop is more or less all there is: there are no major new functions here, and ultimately you’re overlaying a pretty new skin over the top of Windows 7. Once you're bored of the new look and feel, run the program again and select Uninstall to remove it. It's nice to pretend you have a brand new PC, but it's not really a patch on getting the real thing.
New UX Pack v8.0 features include:
- Added Aero Frame UI from Transformation Pack version in case default Aero can’t be enabled
- Added betta fish default user logon screen
- Added Windows 8.1 wallpapers
- Changed Immersive UI back to Newgen with lower memory usage configuration
- Fixed program being able to install on Windows 8
- Fixed wallpaper not changed when applying theme
- Fixed WinMetro always running on startup problem
- Updated Newgen to latest free version 12 Preview #3 with Windows 8.1 themed
- Updated Windows 8.1 authentic start orb
- Updated Windows 8.1 logon screen background