CustoPack Tools is the new buzz when it comes to customizing the looks of your copy of Windows. It is a package that lets you install CustoPacks which, once installed, can change icons, cursors, images, visual styles, etc. In other words, they will modify your operating system’s appearance.
It looks like the times when users tried to create the illusion of using a different operating system are long gone. At the moment there is a dimmed interest in making Windows look like a Mac or turn XP into a makeshift Windows 7.
The current trend is to make your copy Windows 7 resemble as little as possible with the default configuration of the operating system. CusotPack Tools is free of charge and can help you both install already built skins and create your own transformation pack.
We tested the application only on Windows 7, but the developer makes available CustoPacks for XP and Vista as well. The main application window is split into three parts which let you work with professionally created CustoPacks, create your own from scratch and configure the program.
In order to select from already built packages you have to download
and add them to CustoPack Tools. Once you do this you can easily install one and apply the transformations. For all the changes to be applied a computer restart is required.
The incredible flexibility of the program is proven by the fact that you can select the customization level you want to be applied by any of the downloaded professional theme packs. Some of these present you with full customization options which range from the modification of the standard Windows icons or visual styles to overwriting the set of cursors, sounds and notifications or replacing the logon screen and system fonts.
The level of customization is quite deep and can also include DLL modification. Depending on how different you want your OS to be, the application offers some preset installation types that include more or less changes: Basic, Classic, Full and Personalized (puts you in charge of the selections).
However, if you are the artistic kind and have already manifested it through digital imagery, the app is the perfect ground to express your creativity by building up a customization pack of your own. All the sections tackled by a professional theme pack are available and the level of change is entirely up to you.
Some CustoPacks include the notorious and nifty looking RocketDock
application launcher for a snazzier desktop look and faster access to frequently used computer areas or tools. This can also be imprinted with your personal mark in terms of icons and skin, on-screen position and behavior.
But the most interesting part is that you can include any software in the package and install it together with all the other customizations. Moreover, you can make some settings to be taken into account at software installation, uninstall or boot. Unfortunately, due to lack of documentation on this options, it is unclear how all this works.
As for configuring the application, there are no complicated settings to deal with. Actually, there is little to tinker with, but enabling/disabling prompting for Ask.com toolbar installation is not something to overlook. The odd thing about this is that we never enabled the “option”, yet we did disable it several times.
On the bright side, you are in control of having RocketDock added to the system during the installation of a pack, just like ColorFolder utility (in charge with changing the folder colors). Other than this there is nothing to tinker with.
CustoPack Tools is governed by flexibility, not only because you can create your own package to modify Windows appearance, but also because it lets you change several aspects in a CustoPack, if it is already installed. This includes tampering with the visual style, changing the background image or the logon screen. It may take some time to become familiar to the way the folders and archived items look, but overall it is an improvement (you can also edit it and choose a more familiar icon set).
The installed CustoPack can be changed entirely through the built-in editor. However, accessing it put us on a ~10-minute hold. On the upside, once it loaded anything that irked us was immediately replaced with a more pleasant equivalent.
Although the application is at the beginning of the road and plenty of features are still standing in line to be added, it does an awesome job.
It is stable, free of charge and lets you drop a new look on your copy of Windows as well as revert to the old face easily. For plenty of users one of the CustoPacks available
may be the perfect fit in terms of style; and if minor corrections are in order, the editor is well worth waiting to load. The Good
It lets you build your own package to replace the default Windows look and it also provides a set of choices to select from, most of which compatible with Windows 7 and some designed for XP and Vista.
The currently applied pack can be loaded in the editor and adjusted to fit the user’s needs. The changes cover every aspect of Windows interface, from looks (background image, logoff screen, folders, fonts, etc.) to sounds. The Bad
We waited quite a while for the editor to load the currently installed theme. The lack of the “Home” button makes navigation back to the main menu a bit uncomfortable. Also, we could not find a way to replace the Start orb. The Truth
Despite the minor issues CustoPack is the perfect solution for replacing the one-year old Windows 7 looks with new graphic elements and even sound packs. The customization packages in the gallery affect both the look and feel of the environment and can be modified for an even more impressive appearance.