The latest version of the tools, which aim to give users the Windows 8 look and feel in earlier versions of Windows, have been updated to better reflect the changes introduced in Windows 8.1 as well as provide a number of other tweaks and bug fixes.
The Windows 8 UX Pack 8.0 aims to emulate larger portions of the Windows 8.1 classic desktop, including non-Aero effects and the new Charms bar. The new release makes a number of significant changes to achieve this look, including adding the betta fish default logon screen and Windows 8.1 wallpapers while updating both the Start orb button and logon screen background to emulate Windows 8.1.
The new release also adds the Aero Frame UI from the Transformation Pack in case Aero can’t be enabled, and switches the immersive UI back to Newgen with a less demanding memory configuration. Newgen itself has been updated to the latest free version (v12 Preview 3) with the Windows 8.1 theme.
Fixes include resolving an issue whereby WinMetro always runs on startup as well as ensuring wallpaper changes when applying the theme.
The Windows 8 Transformation Pack 8.0 goes slightly further in skinning the entire UI, plus includes additional elements to make it possible to emulate the new desktop and Modern UI in earlier versions of Windows, including XP and Vista as well as Windows 7.
Version 8.0 includes the same changes as found in the UX Pack, plus adds the new Segoe fonts used in Windows 8.1, updates the graphics and icons in system files to Windows 8.1 and introduces a new feature that checks the system file updates to ensure there aren’t any conflicts with Windows Update.
It also enables the Aero Frame UI by default in case DWM isn’t detected or running while also improving the DWM detection method. Also improved is the font installation method to avoid causing problems with the font cache.
The update is rounded off with a number of bug fixes and tweaks. Both Windows 8 UX Pack 8.0 and Windows 8 Transformation Pack 8.0 are available now as freeware downloads, with the UX Pack requiring Windows 7 or later, and the Transformation Pack working on Windows XP or later.