OS X but Need to Use Windows? FlyakiteOSX May Help by Alan Zisman (c) 2006 First
published in Low
End MacAugust 8, 2006 Mac2Windows
If you're reading this on Low End Mac, I can probably assume that you'd
rather be using a Mac than a Windows computer. You don't need a lot of
convincing that it's a better way to be working with a personal
The theme of this series of articles has been ways that Macs can work
in a world dominated by Windows computers; this article, however, is
for the would-be Mac-user who has to work on a Windows computer at
work, school, or home.
Despite some reports of installing Mac OS X onto a standard PC, and
despite Apple's Boot Camp and Parallels Workstation allowing Intel Mac
owners to run Windows, there's no easy way that I'm aware of turning a
PC into a Mac.
are, however, ways to make a Windows PC look and feel more like a Mac.
My favourite is a free download that goes by the name FlyakiteOSX,
which promises to allow users to "Modify. Simplify. Aquafy" their
Windows PCs. Their website takes visitors to a bogus OS X boot
sequence, complete with a bogus log-in screen. (You don't really have
to type anything to get to the next page).
Once into the website, they explain that FlyakiteOSX is a software
package designed to let a computer running Windows XP look like one
running Mac OS X. The website includes a description of the software,
tutorials, downloads for the FlyakiteOSX software, and links to other
website describes FlyakiteOSX as a "transformation pack", something
more than just a skin or a theme changing Windows wallpaper,
screensaver, standard icons, and cursors. It does all that, but it also
installs replaces a variety of system files, tweaks the registry, and
installs a variety of third party software such as two different Docks,
a program to roll-up (windowshade) open windows, an application to add
user-configurable shadows, and one to provide alternatives for folder
You get an OS X-style System Preferences alternative to the Windows
Control Panel. There's even a program to add a Spotlight-like desktop
search option. (If this makes you nervous, it's all completely
it's not all or nothing: Users can choose whether they want the full
meal deal, or they can pick and choose which pieces of the system to
modify - and they can alter their choices at any time.
There's a great attention to detail: A wide variety of icons and other
resources are replaced with more Mac-like equivalents. I really like
the aquafied-look of the Apple Menu/Start Menu, for instance. And the
mapping of the various Control Panel items into the pseudo-System
Preferences panel is nicely done.
end result isn't quite a Mac, however. It's moved the Windows task bar
to the top of the screen and replaced the default Start Button with a
blue Apple icon, but it's not a menu bar. (The program's tutorial
includes links for downloading several Finder wannabe programs, but
none really worked to my satisfaction.)
The Docks are kind of nice, but neither of the two included seems to
indicate running programs, at least in my tests, though minimized
applications end up on the right, beside the Trash (er Recycle Bin)
Some of the visual effects don't quite work
100% either; in some (but
not all) programs, the vertical scroll bar seems to resemble a series
of white and blue sausage links in some software, for instance.
And look at the side-bar in the Open With dialogue box: The Aqua-style
icons are too large, and there's no way to scroll down to the items
pushed out of the way.
default mini-icons to minimize, maximize, and shut down a window are
replaced with nice OS X-style glowing yellow, green, and red bubbles -
but in most cases they remain on the Windows-default right corner of
the window rather than the Mac-style left corner. (The online FAQ
suggests purchasing Stardock's WindowBlinds in order to get this
Of course, underneath the pretty face, it's still Windows. Internet
Explorer, for instance, gains the About dialogue from the Mac version
of IE, but it still has all the vulnerabilities of the Windows version,
including making it too easy to inadvertently download and install
Still, if you're stuck on a Windows XP system, FlyakiteOSX makes it
easier to at least pretend you're using a Mac.