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Animate your Start Menu user pic

Posted August 2007 by Steve Sinchak

In early builds of Windows Vista, testers were shown a  new 3D interface powered by the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) that was filled with animations of all sorts.  This interface was very cool looking. However, because of delays, Microsoft had to cut the use of WPF in the UI and most of the “WOW” was removed.

Thankfully, there are some very talented developers out there that have made utilities to bring back the excitement of the cut features.  The one I am covering in this article, is the animated user picture shown on the Start Menu.

Using a great utility called 3D User Picture, you can easily make your start menu look just like the video above.

  1. Visit Ave’s Vista Stuff and download 3D User Picture.
  2. Extract the files, run 3duserpic.exe and click on the Start Button to see 3D User Picture in action.
  3. If you want to tweak the appearance, edit values.ini.

Sample values.ini:

;values file for ave's 3duserphoto

; author=ave [info]

author=ave [frame]




height=96 [photo]




height=64 [position]



ymargin=0 [shutdown]



ymargin=4 [rendering]





; 0 = jumbo (256x256)

; 1 = extralarge (48x48)

; 2 = large (32x32 or 48 x 48)



doNotScaleSmallIconsUp=0 [animation]



xStart=90 zLength=90

xLength=90 zAdd=0

xAdd=15 zStationary=0

xStationary=15 rotationLength=46



3D User Picture requires a DirectX 9 compatible graphics card. I have experienced issues with explorer.exe crashing on a laptop with a Intel GMA950 graphics chip that is DirectX 9 compatible.

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