SacRat's Windows Customization blog
Published on August 7, 2004 By sacrat In OS Customization

Many users think, that Stardock's best application is Windows Blinds. Other praise DesktopX. My opinion on this is very different. If Stardock ever released a really good program it is called Cursor XP.

Cursor XP is cursor ehnacement application, having some really nice features. If you ever tried to replace default Windows cursors you must know, that this process is very hard due to numerous limitations: strict size and color (no alpha support nearly 'till XP) limitations can drive you mad. Surely, there are numerous excellent cursors in plain CUR or ANI format, but that doesn't change the whole thing.

CursorXP lets designers create some really interesting stuff. No wonder it became popular among skinners and theme developers. First of all, with cursor XP you can create freeform cursors with nearly any size. Besides, each cursor can be animated (animation frame sequence could even be programmed manually!). Additionally cursors have a "click" state, which is not really useful, but sometimes creates nice FX. Not a bad start, right?

With few mouse clicks it's possible to configure an existing curstor set (theme) thus customizing it to a state you want. For example, one can add a shadow and define its size, sharpness and transparency, adjust transparency and size levels of the whole theme and even color it, adjusting HUE or RGB values.

Additional features, implemented in CursorXP plus (commercial version) include adding special effects (which start annoying you after a minute of usage), sound events (the default set of sounds is poor enough) and trails. The last option is not only annoying (lots of similar pictures ), but can greatly increase program's CPU usage. Besides, all the "follower" and "particle" images are very similar and barely look attractive (ever wanted to see Windows logo following your cursor?).

Bugs. Even in the latest program's version they exist, whough they're not very annoying and won't possibly even notice them. The most typical glitch is referred to drawing cursors. Sometimes (very rarely) an ugly default Windows cursor is seen through the nice "XP" cursor or in other cases it disappears (I'm quite sure, that it's a system behaviour, so developers barely can fix that). Sometimes CursorXP causes visual bugs in games, so better turn it off before starting playing

Generally the program is quite interesting and unlike with some other "decorations" you'll have no noticeable system slowdowns while using it even on heavy tasks. The commercial version with more "interesting features" looks less attractive and down't worth its money, IMHO. Developers should implement something really new to interest people in it.

Additionally one can order Oranda cursor pack. It's probably the most eye candy theme set for cursor XP, though I still prefer free Pixtudio theme for daily use.

Overall CursorXP a very good program. Nice looking, stable, fast... I've been using it for a year already and feel completely satisfied. Besides, there's simply no alternative The only competing program (dreamrender) I know hasn't been updated for a long time and thus makes no sense using it (the only truly interesting feature there was a particle system; much better, than Stardock's one).

on Aug 07, 2004
Thanks for writing this. CursorXP is one of my favorites, too, and doesn't receive enough credit.

Some of the cursors are highly functional, others are just gorgeous. (And some I don't care for, but to each their own!)

My default cursor is Gear, the one that was used in the movie The Recruit. I return to it over and over.

What do you use?
on Aug 08, 2004
My favorite is Pixtudio. The most usable cursor set ever, IMHO. I tried tens of tother, but they're not that good.
on Aug 08, 2004
I agree!! I think cursor XP doesn't get all the cudos it should!!!!
on Aug 08, 2004
Oh and I use, more often than not, APB's MyBoss 2. Very cool and vey funny!
on Aug 14, 2004
all you have to do is turn those particles, followers, tails off in the mouse or curxp setup.In fact where the double ghrtaphic occurs the most is in icon packagerbut then a refresh of the cache sures that. By6 the way Stardock did not develop Cursor XP. it was designed and put in place buy these 2 great Italian guys who knew how to build a program. They hooked up with Stardock. Of al;l the desktop appearance tools I have evr used this is by far the mmopst stable. the biggesst problem I have seen are those theme contributors who don't bother to build a cursorxp theme but just throw a bunch of png file in a folder and call it a curasor xptheme. I'm surprised
Cus has left them up there with no instructions on how to convert them etc. but thats quality control and we won't go there today!