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Windows XP is dead. Love live Windows XP.
At least, that’s the attitude of some tech fans who simply refuse to give up on the aging operating system. Just because Windows XP isn’t being updated anymore doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the classic Windows XP UI.
Today, I’m going to show you how to make Windows 8 look exactly like Windows XP:

Step 1) Getting the classic Windows XP Start Menu back

First, let’s get you a Start menu. Windows 8 doesn’t really have a native Start Menu built in, but you can still give it one.
First, download a program called Classic Shell from ClassicShell.net. This program is free, easy to setup, and runs like any Windows software. Better yet, you can choose between multiple Start menu designs, including Windows 7, Windows XP, and a mix between the two.

classic shell

After installing Classic Shell, check the radial button beside “Classic with two columns”, which is the option that most closely resembles the Windows XP menu.
Of course, you’ve probably noticed that the Start button in Classic Shell isn’t an official Microsoft logo. To install that official logo, download Start Menu images from here.
Then, open Classic Shell and check the box beside “Replace Start button”. Choose the Custom radial button and then pick your image from the downloaded location.
If your menu looks funny, then change the taskbar settings to “Use small icons in the taskbar.”

Step 2) Preparing to install the Windows XP theme

Next, it’s time to install a Windows XP theme. Unfortunately, Windows isn’t too friendly towards UI-altering themes, so you first need to download UXThemePatcher from here.
uxtheme patcher
This program has one job: preparing your PC for theme installations. After the application process is complete (just keep clicking next), you can restart your system to make the changes take effect.

Step 3) Install the Windows XP theme

You’re not the first person who has installed Windows XP themes on a Windows 8 computer. That’s good news, because it means there are plenty of Windows XP themes available for Windows 8.
My favorite, however, tends to be Royal VS, which offers a minimal installation process and authentic Windows XP UIs and menus.

windows xp windows 8 2

Download Royal VS from here. To install Royal VS, simply unzip the folder and install the application. Just click through all the steps and ignore the instructions – it’s smart enough to install itself.
If you don’t like the awkward, square edges of Royal VS, you can download and install rounded edges using Glass8. Important: if you are installing Glass8, uncheck the box beside Install glass shiny atlas resource. If you check that box, it will probably break the Royal VS theme.

Step 4) Complete theme installation and install the world’s most recognizable wallpaper

It wouldn’t be Windows XP without the world famous grassy hill, would it?

windows xp windows 8

To install that famous Windows XP wallpaper, right-click anywhere on your desktop and click Personalization. Then, click Royal 8.1 Update 1.
This completes the theme installation and places the famous wallpaper on your desktop.

You’re done!

There you have it! You’re now using Windows XP on a Windows 8 machine. And unlike the real Windows XP, this version of XP won’t die after April 8, 2014.

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