Users who remember and like the appearance of Windows XP might not be very impressed by the default look of Windows 10. The appearance can be changed to some extent using UxStyle and third party themes, but in Windows 10, Microsoft prevents the taskbar from being skinned using visual styles (themes). Today, we will see how to skin Windows 10's taskbar to give it a Windows XP appearance without using patches or themes.
All we need is everyone's favorite Start menu replacement and system enhancement tool, Classic Shell. Recently, its developer implemented the ability to skin the taskbar in Windows 10 and earlier versions of Windows too. The user can change the taskbar text color, change the color to make it different from the title bar color, change its transparency or set a background image or texture for the Windows taskbar.
As of this writing, only the beta version 4.2.7 of Classis Shell allows doing this. To proceed, you need to download Classic Shell 4.2.7 from its official web site (use the red button 'Download Beta'):
After that, you need to prepare Windows 10 for a better XP look and feel. Do it as follows.
- Right click the Taskbar and pick Settings from the context menu:
- When the Settings app opens, turn on the option called Use small taskbar buttons as shown below:
- In Settings, go to Personalization -> Colors. Pick the following color:
- Scroll down and enable the option Show color on title bar:
Now you can close Settings.
Install Classic Shell you downloaded earlier and do the following.
- Download the following archive: Download Classic Shell XP suite
Extract all its files to any folder you like. I will use the folder c:\xp.
The archive contains the taskbar texture, the wallpaper and the Start button to be used with Classic Shell.
- Right click the Start menu button to open Classic Start Menu Settings:
- By default, the Settings dialog opens in basic mode: You need to switch it to the extended mode by ticking the "Show all settings" checkbox to get the following look:
- Now, go to the tab called Taskbar and enable the "Customize taskbar" option. There, you will find a number of options which you need to change.
- Click the option "Taskbar texture" and then click the [...] button to browse for the file xp_bg.png that you extracted from the archive:
In horizontal stretching below, set "Tile": This will make the taskbar look like in Windows XP.
- Next, go to the Start button tab (the tab to the left of the Taskbar tab in Classic Shell). There, tick the option "Replace Start button" and then click the option "Custom button". Then click "Button image" and then click the [...] button. Again, browse for the file XPButton.png you downloaded and extracted from the archive. You will get something like this: Click OK to apply the Start button image.
Now, it is a good idea to apply the genuine bliss wallpaper. While I included it in the archive, I suggest you to read this article: Windows XP support has ended today: A farewell to the venerable OS. There, you can get the 4K version of this beautiful wallpaper.
Finally your Windows 10 will look as follows:
See the following video to watch the whole process of this customization:
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If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment. What do you think about this trick? Do you like the appearance Classic Shell allows you to get?