How To Apply Windows 7 Visual Style To XP Desktop

Windows 7 is a real eye candy. It looks awesome. I know many Windows XP users would like to make XP look like Windows 7 (that’s why you’re here, right?), because, either they don’t want to upgrade yet, or they can’t.

If you have some crap PC (don’t worry, I know it’s only temporarily) or maybe some other obstacles that don’t let you install Windows 7, then this will definitely help you…

I know that you would, at least like to feel that Win 7 design if you can’t use the Windows 7 itself. All those newly designed features like big and iconized taskbar buttons, Windows 7 Superbar, or even full Start ORB. Now you can have all that in Windows XP too.

Here’s how your desktop will look like after you complete the steps below:

windows 7 visual style for xp

And here’s how to make it possible: (UPDATED with taskbar hack included into theme package)

1. Download Windows 7 Theme “SevenVG RTM” for Windows XP theme here and extract its contents. You should see a folder named: “SevenVG RTM Theme for Windows XP by Vishal Gupta”.

2. In this folder, you’ll get 5 more folders:

a) Fonts – This folder contains Segoe UI fonts required for the theme. Run “Fonts.exe” file to install them.

b) Styler Toolbar – This folder contains Styler setup and SevenVG styler toolbar skin. It will provide toolbar and commandbar in Explorer that looks like Windows 7.

c) Theme – This folder contains the main theme. LATER, you will run “Theme.exe” file to install it.

d) Iconized Taskbar Hack – This folder contains registry script to enable Iconized taskbar in Windows XP

e) Extra Common Tasks – This folder contains 2 extra shell styles: Bottom and Left dark blue.

3. Make sure you have patched the “uxtheme.dll” file (needs to be patched to allow 3rd party visual styles).
Download and run the UXtheme Patcher from here:

For XP SP3 UsersDownload UXTheme Patcher here
For XP SP2 UsersDownload UXTheme Patcher here

4. Now, run the Theme.exe (from the folder described above) to install the windows 7 theme. Apply the theme using Desktop Properties.

Ok, you have applied the new theme and should now see the difference. If, for some reason, your taskbar is not iconized as on screenshot below, you will need to do one additional step, to make iconized taskbar buttons on your XP to look just like on Windows 7.

How to make iconized taskbar buttons on your XP:

Windows 7 taskbar doesn’t show text in application buttons, it only show their icons. Here’s how it will look like after you follow these steps:

And as you already know, previous Windows versions used to show icon as well as text in all application’s taskbar buttons. That takes too much space when you open lot of applications. And here is how it looks (although you know how it looks because you are using it now, but just for the record…)

As you can see, Windows 7 new iconized taskbar feature looks cool and it also saves a lot of space in the taskbar area.

There are 2 ways to do this.

Download a registry file which will automatically make necessary changes in your registry base and make your toolbar look like in the image above (the easy way – recommended)

Manually make the changes in your Windows registry base to apply the above effect. (for advanced users).

I hope you have chosen the easy way, but if you really insist that you want to do it yourself, manually, then here’s how to do it:

1. Type regedit in RUN dialog box and press Enter. It’ll open Registry Editor. Now go to following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USERControl PanelDesktopWindowMetrics

2. In right-side panel, create a new String value “MinWidth” and set its value to “-255″

3. That’s it. Log off or restart your system and get ready to have iconized taskbar on your system.

That’s all you need to do to make that XP desktop look as shiny and cool looking as Windows 7.

If for some reason, you want to restore the default taskbar behavior, just delete the “MinWidth” String value and log off or restart your system.

Thanks to Vishal for this lovely theme.

[tags]wallpapers, themes, windows, xp, vista, windows 7 ,mods, visual tyle, windows theme, free[/tags]

Enjoy! And don’t forget to subscribe to RSS so you get all new posts.

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33 Responses
  • Bash Bosh Reply

    WOW, very cool article :)
    I will try this on my XP system!
    Thanks for sharing Genni ;)

  • GenniCe Reply

    I’m glad you like it. It’s nice feature for non-Windows 7 users… Enjoy!

  • DBCooper Reply

    I am amazed with it. It is a good thing for my research. Thanks for sharing!

  • Greg Reply

    This is really cool looking. Is there any way to make the taskbar a little shorter. My laptop has a standard screen and it’s a little tall. No big deal, but if it can be changed that would be great. It looks really cool though.

    • GenniCe Reply

      Just right click on any blank space on the Taskbar, and then select Properties from context menu. On the “Task Bar and Start Menu Properties” dialog, go to “Taskbar” tab, and then tick or check the checkbox for “Use small icons” option.

      That will make your taskbar smaller and will provide you more space.

  • Daniel Reply

    After I’ve applied this theme, how can I get back the original Windows XP interface? Thanks.

  • GenniCe Reply

    If you want to remove theme, then just uninstall SevenVG Refresh Theme in your control panel >> Add or remove programs.

    And if you want to make taskbar look like XP again, then you will need to manually delete “MinWidth” value from windows registry,

    To run windows registry, just type “regedit” in to your Run panel.

    Go to: HKEY_CURRENT_USERControl PanelDesktopWindowMetrics and just right click on the MinWidth value, select delete and that’s all.
    Restart computer and you should be back at normal…

  • Fatic Reply

    any screenshot?

  • GenniCe Reply

    There is screenshot posted above. Enjoy!

  • Kaige Reply

    Everything is perfect, except internet explorer. My yahoo toolbar and my menu bar are black. When I move my mouse over them, they change to the W7 style, but otherwise it’s just a solid black bar. Help?

  • Kaige Reply

    Nevermind, it flickered a few times and then magically fixed itself!

  • GenniCe Reply

    I’m glad everything is ok now, Kaige. Enjoy!

  • hanimynis lov u Reply

    wow! thanks man for sharing!
    its so cool…

  • Folca Reply

    My iconized taskbar buttons aren’t working even if I did the registry, manually and the file that you recommended.
    What can be the problem? It just stays the same.

  • GenniCe Reply

    You don’t need to do it manually in the registry, if you previously used the reg file that I recommended. Both of these do the same thing.

    Maybe you did it with the reg file and then again manually, which reversed it back to normal again… That’s the only thing I can think of…

    Try to delete the key from the registry, then restart Windows and then just use the reg file that you downloaded. That should fix it I think…

    If you’re still having problems, feel free to give me some more details and I will be glad to help you out.

  • Folca Reply

    Is there some kind of Email or AIM I could contact you with? It could take a while. I’ve somewhat ran into another problem.

  • GenniCe Reply

    Folca, You can send me an email by using the contact form on this blog and after that I’ll send you mail with my IM so I can try to help you with your problem.

  • Folca Reply

    Hey, Im just waiting on your part, my email is both the ones, displayed here on gnoted, and the one that I sent you, my AIM is FolcaFries, or my MSN is on the email that I showed you :)

  • Hi Reply

    Hey GenniCe! i noticed that you replied to someone with an answer to how to make the toolbar smaller. Well i tried it but it didn’t work!
    Here’s what i did.
    >right click on toolbar
    >clicked properties
    then on the taskbar menu, i don’t see the ”use small icon”
    Can you help? please and thanks!

  • Hi Reply

    Hey GenniCe again!!
    nevermind about my previous question, i need to remove the windows 7 skin off.
    im trying to remove all the stuff i downloaded from
    i deleted some but yeah…
    Anyways the iconized is still there when i reset it back to xp style..(little box, fat toolbar)
    please help!

  • GenniCe Reply

    To restore the default taskbar behavior, delete the MinWidth String that you added to Windows Registry.

    That should do the trick.

  • Peter Reply

    Hey Bro this is really cool…
    However i would lke to knw if thr is any way we can increase the icon size in the superbar…
    I applied the registry tweak n also gt the new tasbar bt the icon size is small compared to windos 7 which shws bigger icons in taskbar……
    Plz suggest if thr is any way…
    Thank You =)

  • Ali Reply

    i want to try this…but am afraid that it might be permanent…if we do it, can we get our original xp theme back afterwards?

    • Dennis Reply

      Yes, you can reverse back to your original XP theme, just by going right click -> properties -> themes, and then in the drop-down choose “Windows XP Default”.

      And as for iconized taskbar… You will need to apply it manually as I have described above (the 3 steps), and then when you want to reverse it back to default, just go to the same location in Registry as above, and delete the string that you created. The “MinWidth” string.

      After you delete it. Everything will be just as it was before.

      I hope that clears out the dilemma.
      If you need more help, feel free to ask.

  • riswan Reply

    hi gennice thx a lot 4 share its awesome….sorry if my english bad im from indonesia
    in indonesian kamu hebat u’r good!!!!
    thank u so much…..

    • Dennis Reply

      No problem. I’m glad you like it.

  • riswan Reply

    hi Gennice i want ask u for the sound …..
    startup and logoff sound are still same with the sound of XP can we change that with the sound from W7?
    best regrad

  • chris b Reply

    thanks you so much i was looking around for this and im glad i found it thanks for makeing it free every other one sayed it was free then when i downloaded it it sayed you to sighne up but i just wanted to say thanks

  • chris b Reply

    and you did a good job on it too it looks just like windows 7

  • Hanken Reply

    Nice, and works very well ^^

  • holly Reply

    I cant get the first link you put on to work? the one that downloads the theme. it just says it doesnt work. is there any way of still doing it?

    • Dennis Reply

      Holly, thank you for letting me know. I’ve updated the post with new links and an updated version of Windows 7 theme with fixed bugs. All links work now.

  • newman Reply

    by doing above procedure it changed xp look to vista style but what about windows 7 style , i am currently enjoying vista style on xp but also wants win7 style how to do that , and why it changed to vista not to win7 style

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