Make Vista Look Like Windows 7 for Free

Posted November 7, 2008 by Rob Rogers in Microsoft Vista

Gettng tired of the look of your Vista desktop? By using MSStyles, a wallpaper change, a simple change to your Sidebar and a small registry change, you can have your Vista looking like the Windows 7 interface.

To make things simple (and to maintain a transparency effect when your windows are maximized), download and install VistaGlass as described here.

1. You need to download the Windows 7 for Vista theme by giannisgx89 at Deviantart.

2. Make sure that you are running Aero.

3. Open export the Windows M3 directory from the RAR file to C:\Wiondows\Resources\Themes.

4. Open the Windows M3 directory and double-click on Windows M3.msstyles.

5. When the Appearance Settings window appears, select Apply and then click the OK button.

You can find the wallpaper at istartedsomething (either 1600×1200 or 1920×1200).

Desktop Gadgets:
To hide your Sidebar, but keep your Gadgets, follow these quick steps:

1. Drag any Gadgets you wish to use, from the Sidebar to the desktop.

2. Once the Gadgets have been moved, right-click the Sidebar and select Close Sidebar.

To change the Taskbar to show icons only for open applications:
Vishal Gupta at shows you how to modify your registry and add a WindowMetrics value to gain the effect.

Just unzip the reg file, right-click it and select Merge.

After the registry has been changed, log off your system. When you log back on, the effect will be in place.

When you are finished, your Vista will go from looking something like this:

to something like this:

Here’s a closer look at the Taskbar:


About Rob Rogers

Once a prolific author here on Tech-Recipes, Rob has moved on to greener pastures.
View more articles by Rob Rogers

The Conversation

Follow the reactions below and share your own thoughts.

  • davak

    Love the windows 7 tech-recipes! Interesting how the task manager looks a lot like the dock!

  • brendan

    When i double click the .msstyles the appearence dialogue pops up but theres nothing new in it. just vista aero is highlighted. what do i do?

    • Rob Rogers

      don’t select anything, simply click the Apply button. The msstyle file will load, give it a try.

  • Rherb89

    Sounds good will probably give it a shot.. Boy just when we were getting use to Vista.. Bam windows 7!! LOL

  • Rherb89

    Sounds good will probably give it a shot.. Boy just when we were getting use to Vista.. Bam windows 7!! LOL

  • sdfsdf

    I dont get the Apply button, any other help would do please, thank you

  • BillGates

    thanks nice new look

  • Jbode

    This is great love the task bar the most

  • Jared

    When I tried to download the Windows7 file from deviantart a windows message box popped up asking me to find a program to open the download or save it. Does Vista not already come with a program for unzipping the download? Did everyone else need to acquire a similar program before downloading the Windows7 program?

    • me

      use winrar to unzip the file

  • Bryan

    really like the new look very nice!

  • jelle

    make the taskbar buttons showing as windows 7

    Start > Run > regedit > HKEY_CURRENT_USERControl PanelDesktopWindowMetrics

    In there you must find the a “REG_SZ” with the name “MinWidth”
    (write it without the quotes)
    If you cant find it create one on your won with the name “MinWidth”
    (write it without the quotes)

    Once you find it double click on it and set the number 56 then click ok and close.
    registry and restart your computer.

    it from deviantart

  • Glen

    Look good

  • Anonymous

    I have tried this but my Vista still has Vista Taskbar, but the desktop background changed to Windows 7, I need it to look completely like Windows 7

    • Anonymous

      you have to download the vistaglazz at the top of this page and run it scroll over the one that says show the status of your aero style and select patch you will have to restart and then follow all the instructions on this page for the taskbar to change completely

  • Anonymous

    I have done all I am asked to do but still I can’t get that Windows 7 look, I can only see Windows 7 desktop background but my system still looks like normal Vista.
    Can any body help me out here, I’m badly in need of the help

  • Deegee Garingalao

    Help, I already downloaded the windows 7 theme from deviantart, and I cant find the M3 file stated above should it be on the same folder? and also when i tried extracting the file tp Windoes/resources/themes a winzip diagnostic box pops-us and says that extraction fail,etc etc. please help guys,thanks in advance.

    • ReaperX50Tech

      uhrmmm you should be as an admin

  • Deegee Garingalao

    sorry for the typos guys.. **pops-up. **windows **

  • ReaperX50Tech

    uhrmmmmmm how do i make the show hidden icons like the windows 7 one??