Get Windows 7 features in Windows Vista or XP, give your desktop 3D capability or tweak your OS with these 21 free tools and services.

Windows can get a bit dull if you're staring at the same screen every day.

However, there are a number of tools and services on the web that can help you jazz up Microsoft's OS.

Whether it's giving Vista and XP a number of Windows 7 features or simply just tweaking the OS so it suits you. Best of all, they're free. We've rounded our favourites.

Windows 7 bling for your older OS

These five free utilities will give your Windows XP or Vista machine some Windows 7 pizzazz.

Maximising a window on today's large monitors is often a waste of screen space.

In Windows 7, a feature called Aero Snap lets you automatically resize a window to fill half of your display when you drag the window to the screen's edge.

Kick a space out of the feature's name, and you have AeroSnap, an app that brings the same feature to XP and Vista.

Seven Remix XP
Windows 7's visual appeal definitely sets it apart from its aging sibling Windows XP. But this transformation pack makes XP's buttons, boxes, icons, and Start menu look remarkably like the versions in the new OS.

Taskbar Shuffle
The new supercharged Windows 7 taskbar allows you to reorder any of your taskbar items with a drag and drop.

XP and Vista users can enjoy the same functionality with this lightweight system-tray utility (also available in a 64-bit version).

Windows 7 Shortcuts
Windows 7 introduces gobs of time-saving keyboard shortcuts for moving windows around your desktop, focusing on specific windows, or taking a quick peek at the desktop.

This download installs a tiny system-tray utility that adds them to your XP or Vista machine.

Windows 7's Aero Peek feature turns windows transparent, giving you X-ray vision for determining what lies beneath.

Its Aero Shake function lets you minimise every window but the active one via a simple shortcut.

This application brings similar capabilities - and then some - to most of Win 7's precursors.

NEXT PAGE: Your PC, just the way you want it

  1. Improve your OS with these free downloads
  2. Your PC, just the way you want it
  3. Organise and update the Windows desktop