King of Excellent (according to Scaryduck)

Thursday, September 25

Vista, but without the grief.

It seems a common enough request...

"Can you honestly tell me, that you can make XP look like Vista with all it's sugary goodness, but without it's treacly (is that a word?) bogged down-yness?"

In the words of the Duck.

Yes. Yes I can.

And so, here is a concise guide for the fickle amongst you who want XP to look (mostly) like Vista.

Most importantly, these links might be removed at any time. (Or Moved). If you download these links, it is because you have a full, paid for version of Vista, and each and every file is legitimate in source. I am not prepared to give these away for free, and expect the wrath of Steve Bollocks (or whatever he's called this week). I am just making it easier for you to find the files you should already have paid for on your PC.
  1. Download to the c:/windows folder, and uncompress the file. (yes, you want to overwrite the folder)
  2. Download to the c:/windows/resources folder, and uncompress the file (again, overwriting any previous folder)
  3. Download to the c:/windows/web, and uncompress the file (again, overwriting any previous folder. Or, of you want to be really legal, just google Vista Wallpaper, and save it to this folder.)
  4. Install and run Cleartype. Mickeysoft's attempt at making LCD monitors readable. (Pah!)
  5. Download to a temporary folder, and uncompress the file. This time, right click on the 'install.inf' file, and click install.
  6. Now the biggy. Download and install the program UXtheme Multipatcher and follow the instructions to install it. Be warned. This program *changes* the uxtheme.dll file in the windows/system32 folder, and windows will have a bit of a benny about this. When it asks if you want to keep the unrecognised file, wait a couple of minutes before clicking yes, or it'll not allow the change anyway. I found this out to my cost (it didn't bastard work otherwise). Also, it might cause windows to crash with 'Data Execution Protection' on RUNDLL.EXE. In which case, run this installer again, which will return the UXTheme.dll file back to normal, give up, and go and find a pub. This is what replaces the start button with a nice posh circle when possible.
  7. As in all nice Windows Installations, now restart the PC. No really. Do.
  8. Open Display Properties (right-click desktop, choose Properties). On the Desktop tab, click Customize Desktop, checkmark the icons you want on your desktop, then click OK. Now on the Theme tab, choose Vista from the dropdown and hit OK. Our hard work pays off, huh?
Now, you have the basics for looking like Vista, and I think you'll agree it does a pretty darned good job. The problem is, the startup says XP, it has no clock thingy, and there are loads of other things I'm not going into.

To get the clock on the live desktop thingy, I used Yahoo Widgets. It is far from perfect, but at least it has what Vista users crave. And as for startup screen, I used something called bootskin to change the XP startup screen to something more Vista-esque.

There you go. You can have an 8 year old, 64Mb P2-400Mhz with XP home edition on it, and it'll make all your friends 'oooh' as you make them believe you have the latest PC that would have cost you a small fortune with oodles of RAM and hard drive space, when all you really needed was patience and a nice friendly engineer with too much time on his hands to work it all out for you.

*note to Debster* This doesn't work with Windows 98.