Is it possible to make Win 7 look and run like WinXP Pro?

    General discussion

  • I know this kind of question angers people but....

    I use Windows XP Pro and though it's not perfect, I know it pretty well and it doesn't get in the way.

    I used Vista a little; I know it can utilize DX10 and can accommodate more RAM, I never found a reason to upgrade to it.  I found it incredibly frustrating and annoying to use.

    I assume I'll upgrade to Windows 7, but I wondered if Microsoft have considered their customers who would like the option of making Win 7 look and run as closely as possible to XP.  If it'll allow my computer to run faster, more efficiently, more securely and with better graphics - wonderful.  But can I configure it to do all that behind a WinXP lookalike interface?

    Thanks for any replies
    Saturday, July 18, 2009 6:34 PM

All replies

  • You can customize Windows 7 to a wide degree, if you want. Use Windows Classic Theme for the desktop, set desktop icons and taskbar to small, ungroup the Control Panel appearance, and you will have a nearly Win2k look plus a performance gain. If you miss the infamous classical start menu, there are even ways to rebuild that to a certain point. - However, your point of view is a refreshing one. All around the world, "Vista Transformation Packs" or "Let XP look like Windows 7" construction kits are floating through websites and pc magazines, and you prefer the reverse way... Hats off!
    Mobile AMD64 3000+, VIA Apollo K8T800 chipset, 1 G RAM, ATIRadeonMobility 9700, 20x DVDRW, C:XPSP3 (55G),D:WIN7 (25G),F:DATA (250G)
    Saturday, July 18, 2009 7:09 PM
  • I'm a die-hard XP fan myself -- never used Vista on my production machines at all. I DO like Windows 7 though. My biggest gripe is the wacky file navigation. I'd really love to have the good old-fashioned Windows Explorer back, and the new Start Menu's "All Programs" doesn't include my Win32 programs half the time, so I've had to recreate program groups for them. I'll probably revert the Control Panel too, because I'm having an awful time trying to find everything. Gotta' love being able to rearrange items on the taskbar, though. :-)
    Sunday, July 19, 2009 6:30 AM
  • I think pielouka asks a very valid question and I am sure he is not alone.  Many of the changes in Windows 7 are just there for the sake of change.  For example, although I prefer the redesigned taskbar in Windows 7, that's just my personal preference.  I don't see that this is necessary to any of the other functions of Windows 7 and if pielouka would like the taskbar to be like the one in previous versions of Windows then I don't see why he shouldn't have that.

    Sanmartin hits the nail on the head when he says "All around the world, "Vista Transformation Packs" or "Let XP look like Windows 7" construction kits are floating through websites and pc magazines".  The vast majority of computer users don't read PC magazines and only care about what they can do on the computer, not the computer itrself.  I think it would be a tremendously smart move if Microsoft were to produce an "XP transformation pack" that would give you the look and feel of XP with the benefits of 7 and it would help them sell a lot more copies of the new OS.  But I'm not sure if Microsoft can or dare admit this to themselves.      
    Sunday, July 19, 2009 7:54 AM
  • I think most people reading my request think it's quaint, ignoring the fact that outside of the world of those who love to learn and explore new operating systems, new GUIs, there are many, many people, perhaps the majority, who want to use the computer as a powerful and multi-faceted tool with a minimum of distraction and unnecessary learning.

    Software companies rely on our tolerance of the faults and unreliability of their products.  It wouldn't happen with any other type of product.  You buy a new car and on the way home from the dealer, you realize that you can't use the AC if you're listening to AM/FM radio, only Satellite radio.  AM/FM is old technology, they tell you when you call to complain, everyone's listening to Satellite radio now, perhaps you should, too.

    Clearing away all the hype from the publicity and advertising of a new operating system, what does it actually do *better* than the old one?  In simple English.  I have found it very hard to get this information - users/fans turn dismissive and condescending towards someone who is hesitant to sit and learn an operating system all over again for some vague benefits.  If someone could elaborate what Windows 7 can do significantly better than XP Pro - I would certainly be grateful.  I spent hours playing with Win 7 losing patience with it around the time that I couldn't get it to detect my home network (which is now called something else, not a network).

    Please don't get me wrong, I DO like and want improvements, I just want them described accurately and their access and use to be as transparent as possible within the pre-existing graphics and interface.  Maybe if a new OS didn't have a new 'look', people wouldn't consider it enough of an improvement over the old one.  The new look lets people believe they're getting something tangible for their money because actual improvements 'under the hood' are so small and hard to detect.

    Rant over  ;-)
    Sunday, July 19, 2009 2:55 PM
  • Here's an amusing article from "How to Geek"

    Another way to make it more like xp is to create your own quick launch in the task bar.

    Also, if you add this value in the registry taskbar previews won't appear as much.



    Sunday, July 19, 2009 4:33 PM
  • Does anyone here really think that Microsoft ignors the desires of the majority of their customers?  The fact that we are here on this forum tells me we are in the minority.

    Sunday, July 19, 2009 6:41 PM
  • I expect that Microsoft would like us to buy a new, improved operating system every few years. 

    I have to search through the masses of hype, PR, advertising, paid/bribed reviews and general geek exhilaration to try and find the exact improvements and benefits that will offset the time and money spent learning all the new methods of doing the things I always do and replacing the hardware that no longer is compatible.

    Like everyone, I also want faster, smaller and better, but my cynical nature and past experience tells me the improvements are not as monumental that advertising would have us believe.

    Enough people seem to be prepared to buy a new Windows every few years.  As I said before, people seem to have almost unlimited tolerance and forgiveness when it comes to computers.
    Sunday, July 19, 2009 7:38 PM
  • I've got to this discussion because I had exactly the same requirement as pielouka, so I shall follow all your suggestions with interest.  I like the look and feel of Win 7 (very like Ubuntu, don't you think?) but I hate Win7 deciding where to put everything for me. 

    Also, I have 2 HDD's in my PC, one running WinXP and one Win7 but, when I boot to Win7, it doesn't see some of the contents of the partitions on my WinXP HDD.  Oh, yes, and another thing, I always partition my hard drives, with just the OS on the C drive - this doesn't seem to sit too well with Win7.

    And this taskbar thing - as I recall, dear old Win2000 allowed you to drag things to and re-arrange the order of your taskbar, and I really missed that with WinXP.

    I want to keep Win7 (because in the end we have no choice and anyway it seems OK) but I want to organize my PC my way, with several partitions, and not Win7's way.

    How are you other partition freaks getting on?  Or, if I'm just old and mad, please enlighten me.
    Thursday, January 07, 2010 6:57 PM
  • omg people... if you dont like 7 go back to xp... XP is slower and less stable vs win7  on the 10 machines i have tried it on.  I could not get XP to run stable on my pc i built in 2007, the same hardware that is rock solid under 7.  Instead of bellyaching about it... just do a google search (or bing if you are inclined) for Classic Shell... it is free and opensource and will let you revert to xp your win7 interface.

    I personally hate XP.  Most of the people that complain about not having the XP interface did not use xp until sp2.  XP was awful until then.  Even with XP, first thing I did was hack the uxtheme.dll and put a different interface on it. 

    If you take the time to learn the interface, it can do powerful things that the classic did not.  Please do not try a new OS... i beg of you!  You could also go to Linux, or MAc if you dont like it... oh wait, the interface is different on those too.  Sorry.

    annhood... i can move my icons all over the place on the taskbar... not sure what you are asking there... As for partitions, you can do whatever you want. I have 4 partition: (c:system, d: games, e:home pix and movies, F: misc.)  I have my pictures folder on e.  You could do that under xp but it required either registry gymnastics or tweakxp.

    I dont really use the libraries yet... havent really seen a need for those yet.  I have everthing organzed by directory and partition.

    Monday, January 11, 2010 9:10 PM
  • OMG....this is EXACTLY what I've been having problems with....I can't find stuff in control panel, I can't find files in search, or even HOW to search in Win 7....nor can I get used to or even like how win explorer works in 7.....I want all the added benefits of 7 but damn, I don't have time or the patience to learn a whole new OS....very anyone found a way to make win 7 work like xp with the added "cool" things and stability etc etc etc??? I need this option NOW....anyone???


    Thursday, June 03, 2010 2:25 AM
  • to search... open the start button and type your search in the text field.  very easy.  You can find anything including any control panel things you need.


    Control panel has more stuff in there, same basic functionality as XP.  it took me all of 20 mins to learn where everything is.


    if you want a shortcut that will list every setting: do a google search for godmode.  it will show you have to have it all set up in one place.  

    Wednesday, June 09, 2010 8:03 PM
  • Really? well, I'm going to check that out right now....I so hope you are right...THANKS!

    In regards to your suggests on search and finding the settings....I've tried all that and I'm basically in the same position as "pielouka" that I don't have the time or the energy to try to learn a new whole system...the bells and whistles are great and the stability, great...but to do some basic searches and settings so I can just go to it, like I know how to...would be much easier and less frustrating....I just need to be able to use and get to my stuff w/o having to learn how to again when it's already learned and used for so many years one way. I've tried to "get used" to the new way, it's just not practical for me to have to read through all the "how to's" and when it's something that's supposed to work the "same only better" well, it doesn't "feel" that way a lot of times, or thorough for that matter.

    I have a massive file somewhere with all my pics over many years on here and I have yet to find it...and that scares me as I KNOW it would not have been "mistakenly" erased.

    Going to check out this "godmode" deal now...thanks!


    Saturday, June 12, 2010 9:15 AM
  • For whatever it's worth,


    Months ago I went ahead with Win 7 and found that there wasn't too much that I had to learn and I have been very happy with it.

    Saturday, June 12, 2010 1:48 PM
  • Have you found out how to do that? that's what I need, desperately, and "godmode" doesn't do it
    Wednesday, June 16, 2010 4:31 AM
  • so you gave up on what you were looking for in the beginning of this thread?
    Wednesday, June 16, 2010 4:32 AM
  • Microsoft needs to tke a chill pill when it comes to the high resolution eye candy and the windows dektop manager takes to much resource, even if you apply the classic theme style. Windows 7 calculates faster but the graphics system slows page loading and detracts from program performance. Please cut the resolution down somewhat so I can utilize the new kernel and capabilities to the fullest extent.
    Wednesday, June 16, 2010 6:22 AM
  • My fears were that there'd be lots to learn and that it'd look different - it'd be a big disruption for me.  Well, that wasn't the case.  The worst thing involved in using Windows 7 was that an external soundcard wasn't compatible with it.


    I did a little research for instances where I couldn't figure out how to do something in Windows 7 and it all went pretty easy.  I'm happy with the system.


    If you're unprepared to spend ANY time getting to know how to use it or replace any hardware or software that is incompatible, then obviously you shouldn't try it.  For me though, the effort needed was minimal and the OS is excellent.

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010 10:03 PM
  • There is a big problem in this world...and that is too many retarded people live on this poor planet...most people think that if there is something new out there and it looks flashier and "cool" then it is better...the reality is that this assumption is completely wrong 99% of the time. And with this whole Win Vista/7 business, better looking does not mean better performing... I wish Microsoft would just die off as a company and the Standard OS that the world would be working with was some sort of Linux based software that could support some MS legacy software like, Office 2003. Thats is it... is it that hard to make a stable software that has all the power of the modern OS, utilizing 96GB of RAM, the best performing video drivers, without all of the bullshit color schemes and animating windows and the rest of that resource gobbling nonsense? SERIOUSLY, is it that ____ difficult? I HATE WINDOWS VISTA/7 with a ____ passion!!!!! Someone please hand the motherfuckers who made it look so ____ retarded!
    Monday, August 30, 2010 10:56 PM
  • There is a way to create the the small Quick Launch icons as Windows XP.  I found the page right here on Technet by a Microsoft employee (who practically begged that the just try to use the new Taskbar, he was *sure* eventually it would be liked).

    What was really nice is you got the best of both worlds.  I would put the align the Task Bar to the left (stupid wide screen monitors today), have small Quick Launch buttons to the left of the new fangled Task Bar, and voila.  Real nice setup.

    This isn't the original article but it explains what to do.  I customize the look, basically changing all the defaults (as is typical with Microsoft's choices as with what is "best"):


    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 9:09 PM
  • Some of us have to work for a living and don't have time to sit around trying to find something that MS in their Greed decided to change so people will give them a couple hundred $$$ every few years.

    Yes Win7 is stable but its file system sucks. I want Windows Explorer to work logically like XP's did.

    Friday, April 01, 2011 5:56 PM
  • I have to wonder which XP you're talking about. Do you use an original SP0 disk or do you use an SP3 disk with a full post xp update pack and updated driver packs? That should get the performance up nicely. On my end I only recall bsoding xp a handful of times all the years I was running it whereas I've had 7 bsod five times this month alone.

    I can get 7 to operate somewhat like XP in the sense that it looks like vista right now, and vista's interface was more like XP than 7's, but the one thing that really annoys me is that they removed the ability to make panels on all sides of the screen to hold all the launchers that I use. I actually kind of prefer even vista to 7 since i have to turn off nearly everything that makes 7 7 in order to make it run as smooth as I can. Once I've done that however, 7 just looks like a crippled vista. Vista actually doesn't run that badly compared to XP once you turn off all the silly visuals.


    Friday, September 16, 2011 5:54 PM
  • You could change the theme around so that it looks like xp

    Turn off Windows Aero

    Make the control panel in classic mode

    Make start menu as classic mode

    Saturday, September 17, 2011 7:54 AM
  • Yes, there is a whole cottage industry in making Windows 7 look and work like XP. . Now why is this? Well, most of the rest of us actually do work, using a computer as a tool so that we can do other things. So, when the developers make it harder for us by moving things around and changing how things work THEY GET IN THE WAY! And many of us who would like a faster more secure system cuse their souls.

    I have included what tools etc. I have found in this reply

    Here is a quick list of things you can do to get back to a system that works enough like XP so that it doesn't get in the way.

    First you can right click on the screen and change the background to a classic look. Then you can change the taskbar and start button to change the way these components work so that they work and look more like XP. The next trick is to open the C drive and setup the folder properties and use the new layout option to change how the folders and files work so that they work more like XP.

    At there is a tutorial of a whole list of tools to change the GUI to work like XP. The ones I like are either CSMenu or Classic shell (both free) that change the start menu and taskbar to an XP look and work. At there is a whole list of file managers (free) that change how explorer work. The how to geek web site has a whole list of utilities and tutorials on how to get rid of the break crumb behavior as well as getting back the up one level button or get back the alt tab functionality. Finally there is a site called Thoosje that has a utility that will allow you to change the logon boot screen etc. back to a more XP look and gives you more control.

    Many people have specific things they want and most of them can be found by rummaging around on the internet. I know using a search engine is like working with a blind and deaf palm reader, but with patience it works. If you use Google remember that most of the free stuff has been orphaned and will be listed many pages down in favor of the stuff Google gets paid to list first. It all comes down to creative search query input.

    As an example some people want to customize their desktop icon size and believe it or not you can find out how to do this on Microsoft's site. I believe it entails hold down the control key and using the scroll wheel.

    I hope this helps, pass it around for those of us that want to side step "Microsoft's better idea."

    • Edited by mikifinaz Saturday, January 14, 2012 9:13 AM
    Saturday, January 14, 2012 9:08 AM
  • Yes, I've done that using the Microsoft add-in "Virtual PC and "XP Mode", both of which run under Win7; they can be downloaded* and installed from the Microsoft website at the time that you install Win7 (or later, if you like).  On the Win7 desktop, an icon for XP Mode will appear after add-in installation.  Double-clicking that icon will launch XP Mode.  You are now in Windows XP operating system and can customize it just as you did in native XP, with all tools available that you had in native XP --- form, fit, and function.

    I have done that customization and XP Mode looks and operates EXACTLY like native XP.  I can copy, cut, and paste from Win7 to XP Mode and vice versa.  BUT, remember that XP Mode, like native XP is 32-bit and Windows 7 may (or may not) be 32-bit --- I choose 64-bit Win7 for my new PC to take advantage of greater memory and hardware features that are not available in 32-bit architecture, so I have to be careful in what I put on Win7 and what I put in XP Mode.

    Transferring control back and forth from Win7 to XP Mode is a snap (1-click).  In my case, I have XP Mode to run older programs (like Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheets that have hundreds of programmed macros that won't work in Excel).  I use Win7 for Internet connections, e-mail, pictures, music, documents and videos.  I download financial data from the Internet into Win7, then copy to Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheets in XP Mode for computations.  Works like a charm.

    * Microsoft's downloading and installation instructions are very detailed and, if followed exactly, will result in successful installation -- even I did it.

    Good luck with yours.

    Wednesday, February 15, 2012 6:02 PM