WindowBlinds 8 unveils radical redesign, adds Windows 8 support

Plymouth, MI software developer Stardock Software has released WindowBlinds 8, a new version of its skinning application for radically customizing the Windows desktop. Version 8 extends support to Windows 8, but drops support for Vista and XP in the process.

Version 8 also debuts an all-new interface, while those who pay for the full version will get a complimentary copy of SkinStudio, Stardock’s skin-editing app, for free.

The most notable change in version 8.0 is the brand new user interface, which has been streamlined and simplified. Users now simply pick a skin from the left-hand side, then use the four tabs -- Style, Color, Texture and Background -- on the right-hand side to reveal additional settings on the right, with the preview window updating as tweaks are applied.

Once the user is satisfied with their changes, clicking Apply Style reveals the new desktop skin in action. Nine skins are provided with the trial version of the program, but a link provides access to thousands more online.

In addition to debuting a revamped interface, Stardock has decided to bundle its skin-editing application -- SkinStudio -- free with this release. Users can then simply edit an existing skin further by clicking the menu button and choosing Edit in SkinStudio to switch to the application. Note that SkinStudio is not included in the trial version.

There’s little doubt the new version is far simpler to navigate and use -- and Windows 8 users may be attracted by the program’s ability to make windows transparent (accessible from the Color tab), but there’s a price to be paid in terms of compatibility, with support for XP and Vista dropped in this new build.

WindowBlinds 8.0 is a free, trial download for PCs running Windows 7 or 8. The full version can be purchased for $9.99.

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