Make XP look like Windows Vista / Longhorn for free!

Posted November 17, 2005 by risherz in Microsoft Vista

Change your boring old Windows XP theme to look like Vista using MSStyles (no shell-packs!) for free! Plus you don’t need to download any software to do it either (so your computer won’t get messed up!). You can do it all by yourself and when you are done it is surely going to look like Windows Vista.

Steps: 1. Theme 2. Wallpaper 3. The Fox 4. Cursor 5. Vista-ish applications 6. Fine Tuning 7. Shell Packs 8. Sidebar 9. Final Result

Changing the XP theme

First make sure that you have patched up your uxtheme.dll file. So go read my other recipe if you haven’t so already. This recipe also tells you how to change your themes.

Now you are ready to do some downloading.

There are many msstyles themes out there that look super cool and look like vista/longhorn.

You can also get shell packs and windows blinds themes but some people claim that this can mess up your computer badly.
The theme that I found works best is VistaXP by -kol! (but it was so popular that MS got it removed). Just go to google to find themes that work well. These themes will make your computer look like Windows Vista for sure. So… go ahead and download it.

Then unzip or copy it to C:\WINDOWS\Resources\Themes

Now you can change your computers theme to the Vista theme you chose.

Changing the Wallpaper

There are lots of Vista wall papers available. Chances are that you have one included with your theme as well. If you don’t then you can try your luck at WinMatrix’s great post for Vista wallpapers. If not then you can always search on Google for Vista Wallpapers.

Getting the Fox

Another great way of getting an impression that you are in fact using Internet Explorer 7, just like how it is on Vista is to get Firefox, and then use one of the many user designed themes and changing the look of the browser. If you don’t have Firefox already, then make sure you get it along with the Google toolbar as well, as it will help you keep track of your e-mail and at the same time search the web!

Once you get Firefox install one of the many Vista like themes here. Vista-aero and myFireFox are one of the popular ones out there.

Changing the cursor

You can download the aero cursor pack over here. Just read the read me file supplied and enjoy. Additionally, you can go to How to change your mouse pointers article and change your mouse pointer to the 3D-White (system scheme), it looks very similar to the original cursor in Vista.

Getting Vista-ish applications

Now once you are done that. And you like some transparency on your computer get these two very cool tools.

Vista Explorer: Something like the original Vista explorer but for XP and plus it has….. transparency. YES! IT IS TRANSPARENT! Just like the original one.
Internet Explorer (transparent version!): This is also very similar to the real internet explorer. Plus the internet explorer button on the task bar says internet explorer 7 (good for fooling people)! You can also get the real IE 7 (no transparency though)
Now your system should look like Vista for sure, but why stop when you have come so far?

Get the Alt-Tab Replacement PowerToy! This shows you the windows you are switching to (sort of something like in the real windows vista)…

Fine tuning

After that, fine tune your font settings and turn on ClearType fonts with the ClearType Tuner PowerToy (you can also do this online). Since the real Vista uses the font ‘Segoe UI’ which is a cleartype font, you can mimic the real fonts by using ClearType.

However, some themes already come with the Segoe UI font so don’t forget to enable it while you are using it.

Shell Packs
If you really want to get shell packs to do what you can already do on your own then here are some of them:
The brico pack by CrystalXP
The Windows X longhorn Transformation pack by Windows X

Please keep in mind that the shell packs don’t customize your computer to look like the latest Vista/Longhorn builds, so your computer might not look like the recent Vista screenshots.

The Vista Sidebar
Since the links in Alex the Beast’s recipe do not work anymore, you can head on over to Thoosje’s website and get the Thooseje’s Sidebar version of Windows Vista’s Sidebar instead and put that on your computer too.

And when you are done that you can start celebrating! In fact you can claim that you have Windows Vista already, and nobody will doubt you. One last step enjoy and don’t forget to show-off your new look!

Take a look at these screenshots of how your PC will look once you are done. If I didn’t put that System Properties window up there then I’m sure I could have fooled you too!

note: I haven’t included a screenshot with the longhorn sidebar. If you want to view a screenshot of it then please go to Go to Thoosje’s website.


Things I used in these screenshots: The YAFVC3 VS (and all the things included in the download, wallpaper from Winmatrix and icons for recycle bin and my computer from modified version of explorer found in YAFVC theme (install modified explorer.exe > right click on desktop > properties > desktop tab > customize desktop > change icon > type in ‘C:\WINDOWS\explorer.exe’ > select icon > OK).


The Conversation

Follow the reactions below and share your own thoughts.

  • hashem

    thank you very much

  • Lilshado

    it has a infostealer.gamepass

  • r342s

    Your Vista start menu sucks man

  • threema

    working 100%

  • sameh

    thank you very much

  • Jerson

    Thanks a lot I been looking for this one!

  • Leomagas

    If you want Vista look, try window blinds!

  • raf


  • Anonymous


  • fuck u

    Get more proof and pics

  • RAK
  • windrazxor

    Hey. Can You Uninstall This Easily?

    Thankks and great recipe too.

  • Anonymous

    i like this theme

  • Xpuser

    I got the start menu but the log off and Turn off computer buttons got disorted or something while i was TRYING to replace the explorer thing. Unfortunatley i couldnt get all transparent windows. HELP!

    • Briguy

      just use System restore

  • qwertyacme

    just use the google desktop sidebar, it may not be EXACTLY like the vista one, but it’s better.

  • qwertyacme

    UberIcon – Google it.

  • Tanish

    can’t downloadable

  • SMS

    Very good

  • Undisclosed

    Nice instructions given there. =D

  • Briguy

    Why dont you use BootSkin and LogonStudio to make the “Vista” look more Vista? I use that and i have my logon screen set to Vista Ultimate and my bootskin set to Vista Ultimate. It’s sick. Another thing, you should use Res Hacker and hack your Start menu text to nothing,that way it’ll really look like vista, because after all, vista doesn’t have start menu text. Check out the real screenshots of them.

  • David Parsons

    I can’t see why anyone using XP wants it to look like Vista.

  • saveang lychea

    the boot screen or start manu is good looking

    • Rideon mower guide

      Yes i agree with ya mate

  • tasos


  • windows32

    it works!

  • Veronica

    i love it.. im so desperate of the Vista look. i want it badly for my xp. thnks:)

  • Phil

    I have service pack 3, what do i do??

  • Anonymous

    Will it make my PC slow???

  • faizan


  • BiGAnZz

    Dont download, its virus!

  • Jack

    I use vistamiza…the only problem is that it slows down your computer

  • yuvaraj

    Ya its nice

  • aw

    Wew, I Like it!!! xDxD

  • Anonymous

    hw 2 dwnld vista theme

  • PortalGod

    Nice! i tried using the crystal xp/bricopack app before this tut, and it lagged me so bad that i couldnt run any apps at all. almost any window that popped up would freeze. i couldnt change the settings, so i tried running the uninstall and that froze. but i used msconfig to boot to safe mode and uninstalled it that way. oh well. Nice Tut!

  • Name

    that’s cool Bricopack SUX!

  • amar

    it is fantastic software

  • Ashley Thomas

    I have tried all this but its still not what i want. I have purchased the full version of Windows Blinds (by Stardock) and i love the package i have. I have also purchased fences (by Stardock) and iconpackager. These really help, but i want a program so that my desktop icons are single click, but all my other icons stay the same.

    Can anyone please help me??

  • mike
  • ashley

    how do i download this theres nothing to click on

  • jim

    dont try vista transformation pack u have to reinstall windows

  • atul goswami

    jkgf jfjf ufghg

  • atul goswami

    and i go to ps 117

  • kenn

    yeah yeah yeah..great 🙂 “KOL”

  • krishna

    so coollllllllllllllllllll

  • mina

    it is excellent

  • Jordan

    It is not working where the heck do i download the freakin theme?


    Yeah! Cool but can this theme be removed afterwards

  • elevat

    good job if work!

  • umesh

    its goood

  • Rudy

    You can get some more original Vista and Windows 7 applications for XP here (port):

    Good luck & long live XP!

  • :D

    people dus it work????

  • Bravo

    i m not able to change my themes in that way what but other things are working thanks….

    • Anonymous

      when u go to properties from right clicking on dekstop ur installed theme is not in theme tab but in appearence tab.(if u have installed it in resources folder of windows)

  • asd


  • abin

    Nice! i tried using the crystal xp/bricopack app before this tut, and it lagged me so bad that i couldnt run any apps at all. almost any window that popped up would freeze. i couldnt change the settings, so i tried running the uninstall and that froze. but i used msconfig to boot to safe mode and uninstalled it that way. oh well. Nice Tut!

  • faisal

    nice article

  • praneeth

    super thnx a lot

  • praneeth

    i think its making my sys slow[:o][:x]

  • mauricio

    hey can anybody tell me if this works or not?

  • Anonymous

    Verry Nice. I like it

  • Reagan

    I am using Window XP. It really i can change it look loke Vista

  • jpenny

    i have service pak 3 what uxthremdll do i use

  • Anonymous vista fan

    really good, absolutely brilliant, 10/10 must get

  • cedric

    do you know which website that give sidebar free download for xp???

    • Anonymous

      try yahoo widgets……
      works for me..
      if side bar is better then please tell me

  • adnan

    very cute

  • HeNdRi

    thx this is wat i want from before…………i can make my XP to vsta,actually i have downloaded the Windows XP sp 3 coz i thought it looks like vista but then its not,so i tried finding in google vista appereance,then this websites comes first,i choose it and these information helps me.. ! Thx

  • Anonymous

    its very nice

  • J**** K***


  • dev1333

    Thank you Very much!!!

  • Aaqib Khan


  • Anonymous

    can you help me find a sp3 vista/longhorn theme cuz i cant use the uxtheme cuz im not administrator

    • Anonymous

      crack the administrator account if u want to.
      reply for the link.
      u need bart-peBuilder(3.2 mb)
      windows sp2 cd
      and a cd writer.
      hack the account and the admin will not even know

  • Anonymous

    its not in the theme tab as a *.theme file but u will find it in appearence tab.
    its mentioned in “how to patch uxtheme.dll” recipe.
    i recommend u read it one more time.

  • Anonymous

    when u go to properties from right clicking on dekstop ur installed theme is not in theme tab but in appearence tab.(if u have installed it in resources folder of windows)

  • Connor Smith

    I found a better and easier to understand way to do exactly what you explain on youtube but if I never looked at this site I would never have got this far

  • Anonymous


  • Glance World

    Nice Sharing

  • Anonymous

    it is very nice.

    • msn cams

      WINDOWS 7 is best.. try it..

  • Smart Person


    Found it in google, it has the VistaXp download links

  • Anonymous

    thank you for this prodect
    iam very need to it
    b cause i head the one themes every time i was change it

  • Anonymous

    ownage :L

  • Anonymous

    good pack

  • Anonymous

    Nice :]

  • Anonymous

    this is a best

  • Health Tips

    wow…thanks for this tutorial, very nice

  • Anonymous

    What Will I Download….To Make The Start Button New how to make it new

  • Anonymous

    there may be any problem with dll sir i had the same problem with my pc but when i format my now its working wery good t

  • Anonymous

    is this just a screen shot or an actuall theme?

  • Anonymous

    this isn’t helping me at all.
    i am am trying to play wizard 101 but my computer is not allowing it i tried installing updates llike it told me to and i changed the compatibility and on it it had different types of computers except mine and thats y it isn’t working how do i put windows vista in the list. i really need it to work or else it was all for nothing. please help me.

  • Anonymous
  • High Five

    Seems cool.

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    izat se aik jaga par icon rakh day. ta’ k wahan se download karlein . itni bakwas karne ki kya zaroorat hai

  • A

    Uhm… trojanized as expected…

    Scan Started Sat Mar 06 23:26:04 2010
    C:Documents and SettingsMDesktopYAFVC3 1.5VistaStartVistaStart1.3.exe: Trojan.Dropper-10500 FOUND
    ———– SCAN SUMMARY ———–
    Known viruses: 726053
    Engine version: 0.95.3
    Scanned directories: 26
    Scanned files: 59
    Infected files: 1

    Data scanned: 104.30 MB
    Data read: 84.95 MB (ratio 1.23:1)
    Time: 55.172 sec (0 m 55 s)

  • Anonymous

    evan easier than all of that google search download vista transformation pack

  • Mr. Angga Yudha

    Thank’s My Friend ….

  • Anonymous

    I am very Happy For Downlode if +923323144917

  • Anonymous

    Kool but the Vista Explorer Link does not work

  • Spoddle

    Very, very impressive! This is guaranteed to trick people into thinking you have Windows Vista (Though some might consider Windows 7, lol). I like it!

  • iwanttaskbar

    where can i download a taskbar because my taskbar didn’t change

  • Büyü Bozma

    cool, have you checked the bricopack? It changes all and makes your xp look more like vista/longhorn. It also changes the default icons and other stuff.

  • LIKITH00001


  • Saadalgbaly

    شكرا كتير وميرسى

  • Khan Bhurgri

    give window vista

  • Nad

    ur preview is a real vista. look at your start button. 🙂

  • yeayeabonel

    it seems no.5 step links doesn’t work anymore

  • Fred Bullet

    I patched ‘uxtheme.dll’ file and then copied the folder to ‘C:WINDOWSResourcesThemes’, but it won’t show up in my list of installed themes…?

    • Renee’

      Erg! I just CAN’T get it to work! When I downloaded the VistaXP theme (yes, I found someone’s hidden link to it ^_^) I unzipped it to C/ WINDOWS/ Resources/ Themes. Then, I checked on which SP (Service Pack) I had. It was SP #3. I didn’t see a like for the #3 file, so I downloaded #2, and also replacer. I changed it so everything was okay for my computer could change themes. When I went to change to VistaXP, the unzipped file said 0kb. AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Help me! O.o

  • rohan

    nice share

  • ajay


  • Parveen dolkiya

    I love thems

  • latest news

    Its amazing.., its really working well…, Thanks for give this………..

  • ???

    Could i download a win7 theme for it?