Friday, 6 January 2012

ViGlance is the Best Taskbar Replacement for XP and Vista


One of the most notable facets of Windows 7 by far is the new taskbar (called SuperBar) it implements. It may not be overly revolutionary, as application docks seemed to exist since the beginning of time. However… It was inspiring enough to change the mindset of how people should access their computer right across the board.

Since the introduction of the newer taskbar, Ubuntu introduced Unity (that very same taskbar on crack cocaine, sitting on the left side of the screen) and Mac – well Mac is just Mac, the operating system is designed to sit there and look pretty by default, so, remaining with a graphic intensive dock is important for that O/S.

Ok… So what about Vista and XP?

There are a few options available for people to replace the taskbar; You can go all out and get an imitation “Dock” that emulates the Mac O/S like RocketDock or ObjectDock -- But if you are anything like me where those shiny attractive things quickly lose their lustre and start to annoy more than facilitate. You can change the registry and add minor tweaks facilitating the current operating system to sort of mimic Windows 7 – But you are constantly reminded how futile such effort is. Or utilize a taskbar replacement tool that allows you to have a “superbar” overlay on top of the traditional Windows 95 style taskbar.

These are two main options (i could find) available:
  1. SBar – an opensource project on codeplex. Looks good, crashes better, and works only on 32 bit architectures.
  2. and ViGlancea not so open source project done by some university student who has some quirky passion  (and talent) on building system mods for Windows.
Seeing that I have used both on different architectures and different versions of Windows (XP, and Vista) I can declare that ViGlance performs the best of them thus far.
image<- Yes, it’s Vista, with VIGlance
image <- Windows XP, with VIGlance
Pros
  1. It’s fast: starts fast, shows previews fast, doesn’t require the latest video card to run. Doesn’t wait 33 seconds to show a multi-window preview.
  2. It’s natural: seems to work naturally with the existing taskbar. allowing quick-launch buttons to remain, and various other system traits to remain.
  3. Simple options. Right Click the notification icon, change something, be happy. Done.
Cons
  1. It does “Crash” from time to time, and sometimes locks into it’s own transparency. But, if you put a shortcut on your desktop to restart it, you can move on without concern.
  2. Doesn’t have the full Windows 7 feature set: like close a window from it’s preview, or have all the desirable right click options, or the icons demonstrating something is pinned or not.
Recommendations for the maker
  1. Make it open-source. Who knows, perhaps someone will step up to the plate and contribute to it.
  2. Have the notification icon work as a separate process as the taskbar. Which can launch (or automatically launch) the taskbar replacement program “ViGlance” or the start menu replacement program “ViOrb” upon crashing, or on demand. Also, when clicking the notification: show the desktop.
  3. Add the remaining features that Windows 7 has to offer.

Anyways… That’s my few minute promotion on ViGlance.
If you are any interested in getting it for yourself go here:

http://lee-soft.com/viglance/

If you know of alternatives – or have any comments whatsoever, leave a comment below.

Until next time,

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