Transform Windows XP into Windows 7 without using Customization Pack

Windows 7 provides lots of new features along with a newly designed interface. It looks very similar to Windows Vista but there are many GUI changes like redesigned taskbar, Explorer, new boot screen and login screen, etc.

If you are still using Windows XP but want to transform your Windows XP into Windows 7, this tutorial will definitely help you.

After following this tutorial, you'll be able to make Windows XP look-like Windows 7. Following is a list of things which are going to change after following this tutorial:

  • Windows Theme or Visual Style
  • Icons
  • Boot Screen
  • Login Screen or Welcome Screen
  • Sounds and Cursors
  • Taskbar
  • Wallpaper
  • Sidebar
  • Progress Dialog Box
  • Shutdown / Log off Dialog Box
  • About Windows Box
  • System Properties Dialog Box
  • Volume Control Window
  • Extras like "Aero Shake", "Aero Snap", "Aero Peek" and "Calculator"
  • A Few Other Mods...

NOTE 1: Please create a Restore point using "System Restore" before applying anything mentioned in this tutorial so that you can restore your system back to default if you don't like the changes.

Also take a backup of system files before modifying them, so that you can restore them if anything goes wrong or you don't like the new change.

NOTE 2: If you are facing problems while saving a file after editing in resource hacker, then make sure you have disabled WFP (Windows File Protection) service using "WFP Patcher" or use "Replacer" to replace the file.

NOTE 3: If you get "Cannot create file" error message while saving the file, please check this tutorial.

So here we start our transformation tour:

1. Windows Theme or Visual Style:

Windows 7 provides a new refreshing look which includes redesigned taskbar and start menu, Windows Explorer and a few other small changes.

You can get the same look in Windows XP by using following theme:

Download SevenVG RTM Theme for Windows XP

If you want a Black version, then you can get it using following link:

Download SevenVG Black RTM Theme for Windows XP

If you don't like the new Windows 7 Superbar, then you can download Normal Taskbar versions of these themes as well:

Download SevenVG RTM Theme with Normal Taskbar for Windows XP

Download SevenVG Black RTM Theme with Normal Taskbar for Windows XP

You can also use an excellent WindowBlinds skin created by "fediaFedia". It requires Stardock WindowBlinds to be installed in your system.

Download Windows 7 WindowBlinds Skin for Windows XP

2. Icons:

You can get Windows 7 icons in XP using "SevenVG Icon Pack":

Download SevenVG Icon Pack for Windows XP

3. Boot Screen:

Windows 7 contains a new animated boot screen which shows animated items/balls that come together to form Windows logo.

You can get a similar boot screen in Windows XP:

Download Windows 7 Boot Screen for Windows XP

4. Login Screen or Welcome Screen:

Windows 7 login screen looks similar to Vista login screen except the new background image and the text displayed at bottom.

Download Windows 7 Login Screen for Windows XP

5. Sounds and Cursors:

Windows 7 sounds and cursors are similar to Windows Vista. You can download both of these things from here:

Download 7 Sounds and Cursors

PS: You'll find the download link in the right-side section of the above mentioned page.

To use sound files, just open "Sounds & Audio Devices" (mmsys.cpl) in Control Panel and go to "Sounds" tab and here you can replace windows default sounds with the new ones.

To use cursor files, first right click on the "Install.inf" file present in the download pack and select "Install" option. Then open Control Panel, click on "Mouse" applet and then select "windows7 Cursors" scheme from the list and apply it.

6. Taskbar:

Windows 7 taskbar has been highly redesigned. It doesn't show opened program's name in their taskbar buttons, instead it only shows their icons. Also the taskbar buttons are a bit large in their size.

You can get the same behavior in XP by using following tutorial:

Get Windows 7 Iconized (Icon Only) Taskbar Feature in Windows XP

Or you can use following small utility which can do the task automatically:

Taskbar Iconizer: Utility to Iconize Taskbar in Windows XP

You can also use following tool to get Windows 7 look-like Superbar in XP:

ViGlance: Get Windows 7 Look-Like Superbar in Windows XP

Windows 7 taskbar also allows you to move taskbar buttons to change their positions, you can get the same feature in Windows XP by using "Taskbar Shuffle" utility:

Taskbar Shuffle: Move Taskbar and System Tray Buttons in Windows

And if you want to get the small "Show Desktop" rectangle at the end of Taskbar just like Windows 7, please visit following topic:

Get Windows 7 "Show Desktop" Taskbar Icon in Windows XP & Vista

7. Wallpaper:

You can download Windows 7 Desktop wallpaper using following link:

Download Wallpaper (via

8. Sidebar:

Windows 7 comes with a cool Sidebar which is displayed on Desktop.

"joshoon" @ DA has ported the same Sidebar to XP which can be downloaded using following link:

Download Link

PS: You'll find the download link in the right-side section of the above mentioned page.

9. Progress Dialog Box:

Windows 7 progress dialog box is different from XP. But we can make our XP dialog box to look-a-like Windows 7 by using Resource Hacker.

Just open "C:\Windows\System32\Shell32.dll" file in Resource Hacker and then go to:

Dialog -> 1020 -> 1033

Now replace the existing code in right-side pane with the following code:

1020 DIALOGEX 20, 20, 237, 134
CONTROL "", 106, "SysAnimate32", ACS_TRANSPARENT | ACS_AUTOPLAY | ACS_TIMER | WS_CHILD | WS_VISIBLE, 65532, 0, 236, 25
CONTROL "Location:", 0, STATIC, SS_LEFT | WS_CHILD | WS_VISIBLE | WS_GROUP, 10, 30, 31, 10
CONTROL "File name:", 0, STATIC, SS_LEFT | WS_CHILD | WS_VISIBLE | WS_GROUP, 10, 45, 33, 10
CONTROL "Time remaining: About", 0, STATIC, SS_LEFT | WS_CHILD | WS_VISIBLE | WS_GROUP, 10, 60, 83, 10
CONTROL "Speed: 10.2 MB/sec", 0, STATIC, SS_LEFT | WS_CHILD | WS_VISIBLE | WS_GROUP, 10, 73, 103, 10
CONTROL "", 104, "msctls_progress32", PBS_SMOOTH | WS_CHILD | WS_VISIBLE, 10, 88, 217, 10

Click on Compile Script button.

You'll also have to replace existing AVIs in the file with new ones. Just download following ZIP file and extract it:

Download AVIs and BMP

After extracting the ZIP file you'll get 3 AVI files and 1 BMP file. Replace existing AVIs in shell32.dll file with these new ones in following manner:

AVI -> 160 ->1033 with 160.avi
AVI -> 161 ->1033
with 161.avi
AVI -> 162 ->1033 with 162.avi
AVI -> 163 ->1033 with 162.avi
AVI -> 164 ->1033 with 162.avi

Now add the 404.bmp file at 404 location in file. Just click on Action -> Add a new resource and then click on Open file with new resource button. Select the downloaded BMP file and click on Open. Now in Resource Name enter 404 and in Resource Language enter 1033 and click on Add Resource button. That's it.

10. Shutdown / Log off Dialog Box:

Windows 7, similar to Vista, doesn't have any shutdown / log off dialog box but we can redesign Windows XP default shutdown box to make it more refreshing like following screenshot:

Download required BMP files from here:

Download Shutdown BMPs

Extract the file and you'll get 4 BMPs with the name:


Now open "C:\Windows\System32\Shell32.dll" file in Resource Hacker and then replace following BITMAPs with the mentioned BMP files:

Bitmap -> 14351 -> 1033 with 1.bmp
Bitmap -> 14353 -> 1033 with 2.bmp
Bitmap -> 14354 -> 1033 with 1.bmp
Bitmap -> 14355 -> 1033 with 2.bmp
Bitmap -> 14356 -> 1033 with 3.bmp

now save the file and open C:\Windows\System32\msgina.dll file in Resource Hacker and then replace following BITMAPs with the mentioned BMP files:

Bitmap -> 20140 -> 1033 with 1.bmp
Bitmap -> 20141 -> 1033 with 2.bmp
Bitmap -> 20142 -> 1033 with 1.bmp
Bitmap -> 20143 -> 1033 with 2.bmp
Bitmap -> 20150 -> 1033 with 4.bmp

Now save the file.

11. About Windows Box:

To change the About Windows box you'll need to change 2 things: The top logo and the text part.

Download the required BITMAP file from here:

Download About Windows BMP

Open "C:\Windows\System32\Shell32.dll" file in Resource Hacker and then replace following BITMAPs with the downloaded BMP file:

Bitmap -> 131 -> 1033 (For XP Professional)
Bitmap -> 147 -> 1033 (For XP Home)

Now open C:\Windows\System32\msgina.dll file in Resource Hacker and then replace following BITMAPs with the downloaded BMP file:

Bitmap -> 101 -> 1033 (For XP Professional)
Bitmap -> 107 -> 1033 (For XP Professional)
Bitmap -> 128 -> 1033 (For XP Home)
Bitmap -> 129 -> 1033 (For XP Home)

Now to change the text of dialog box, open "C:\Windows\System32\xpsp1res.dll" file in Resource Hacker and then go to:

Dialog -> 14352 -> 1033

Now replace the existing code in right-side pane with the following code:

14352 DIALOGEX 20, 20, 275, 198
CAPTION "About %s"
FONT 8, "MS Shell Dlg"
CONTROL 0, 12297, STATIC, SS_ICON | WS_CHILD | WS_VISIBLE, 7, 55, 21, 20
CONTROL "Copyright (c) 2009 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.", 13578, STATIC, SS_LEFT | SS_NOPREFIX | WS_CHILD | WS_VISIBLE, 35, 75, 210, 10
CONTROL "This product is licensed under the Microsoft Software License Terms to:", 13586, "SysLink", 0x50000000, 35, 105, 180, 20
CONTROL "user name", 13575, STATIC, SS_LEFT | SS_NOPREFIX | WS_CHILD | WS_VISIBLE, 45, 125, 180, 10
CONTROL "org name", 13576, STATIC, SS_LEFT | SS_NOPREFIX | WS_CHILD | WS_VISIBLE, 45, 135, 180, 10
CONTROL "Physical memory available to Windows:", 13570, STATIC, SS_LEFT | SS_NOPREFIX | WS_CHILD | WS_VISIBLE, 35, 152, 133, 10
CONTROL "", 13571, STATIC, SS_LEFT | SS_NOPREFIX | WS_CHILD | WS_VISIBLE, 170, 152, 88, 10

Click on Compile Script button and save the file.

12. System Properties Dialog Box:

To make System Properties dialog box look like Windows 7 one, visit following tutorial:

Get Windows 7 System Properties Dialog Box in Windows XP

13. Volume Control Window:

Windows 7 contains a redesigned Volume Control window which shows better details and graphics for device volumes. Now you can get a similar window in your XP.

Get Windows 7 Volume Control Box in Windows XP

14. A Few Extras:

Windows 7 provides 3 new features which are called "Aero Shake", "Aero Snap" and "Aero Peek".

"Aero Shake" is quite useful. Suppose you have more than one windows opened and you want to minimize all other windows except the window which you are working on, then you have to simply shake the current window with your mouse and all other windows will be minimized automatically. Shake it again and all minimized windows will be maximized again.

Using "Aero Snap", you can minimize, maximize, resize windows by just dragging-dropping them to the screen corners.

"Aero Peek" has replaced the old "Show Desktop" button. It can be found as a small rectangle present at the end of Windows 7 taskbar. When you hover the mouse cursor over it, it allows you to peek behind all open windows by hiding all windows and showing only outlines of all windows.

There are several 3rd party software available to provide these features in Windows XP. You can find them at following link:

Ultimate Collection of Free Tools to Get Windows 7's Aero Snap, Aero Shake and Aero Peek Features in XP

Windows 7 also contains a new redesigned Calculator which has new GUI and new options.

You can get the same calculator in Windows XP using following link:

Get Windows 7 Like Calculator in Windows XP

15. A Few Other Mods:

1. Windows 7 Desktop context menu is much different than XP one.

Following are a few things which are new in Windows 7 menu:

  • "View" menu visible in Desktop context menu
  • "Arrange Icons By" renamed to "Sort by"
  • "Properties" renamed to "Personalize"
  • "Auto arrange icons" and "Align icons to grid" options moved from "Sort by" menu to "View" menu
  • 2 new options "Screen resolution" and "Gadgets" added to the menu

So above are a few changes which are new in Windows 7 but we can get them in XP using following tutorial:

Get Windows 7 Desktop Context Menu in Windows XP

2. Windows 7's Programs menu is similar to Vista but very different from XP, you can use following tutorial to make your XP Programs menu similar to Windows 7:

Change Look-n-Feel of Windows XP Start Menu

3. In Windows 7 explorer, A small status bar is displayed under each drive icon showing the filled and free space in the drive.

You can also do the same in XP by using a 3rd party utility:

Download Vista Drive Status for XP

Just run the file and it'll add the status bar for each drive.

4. To get the Breadcrumbs in addressbar you can use "QT Addressbar":

QT Addressbar: Windows 7 Addressbar Clone for Windows XP

5. In Windows 7 whenever you hover your mouse cursor over a Desktop icon, it shows a cool transparent rectangle over the icon. You can get the same effect in XP using following tool:


Get Windows Vista and 7's Desktop Icon Mouse Hover Effect in Windows XP

That's all for now. After following all the above mentioned steps, you'll get Windows 7 look-n-feel in Windows XP.

NOTE: If you have any problem with Resource Hacker and want to know about it, then please go through following tutorials:

All About Resource Hacker in a Brief Tutorial

List of Files to be Customized using Resource Hacker

List of a few Locations in Windows XP System Files to be Customized using Resource Hacker

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Posted in: Themes & Wallpapers, Windows XP

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  • Thanx..
    My xp nw looks like windows 7. You are a genius.

  • this is perfect and works flawlessly!!

    thank you so much for your hard work. Not only the files but also the advice and the instructions are invaluable!

  • Thanks..........
    My xp really changed into windows 7.

    My special thanks to your site.

  • GOD Bless You "VG"
    Hats Off for such a Wonderfull Sharing :-)
    You have Made Me Your Fan ;-)

  • Thanks vishal for this superb theme pack.

  • I don't always comment on articles or tutorials but when I do, I make sure it's good! LOL
    Seriously man, you're the best! I have tried ALL of this steps and turned out great! Very easy to follow instructions too.

  • this is soooooooo cool, i downloaded it & it rally looks like windows 7.

  • Thanks a lot VG.. :)

  • you are a total genius man.

  • My Windows xp Look Like Windows 7
    Thank's VG Thankyou Very Much......

  • Big help , excellent explanation !
    have a good day

  • Its 100% working.Wow!i am very excited and happy.Thanks a lot

  • nice work ..........wonderfull theme.....thanks lot.........

  • Awesome stuff. Used it with a stripped down version of XP and very happy.

    Now, I don't know much about this stuff but is it not possible to make a super-fast stripped down XP with all these Windows 7 look-alikes already included? Has anybody done this? That would be amazing.

    Cheers! :-)

  • VG

    ^^ Check following:

  • hey awesome work VG but i got a problem my restored files are lost so is there anyway tht u cud help me to restore ths back 2 normal

  • VG

    ^^ You can either extract original files from Windows setup or try sfc /scannow command:

  • it would be great is this were all included on a windows setup iso, do you know where can i get something like that?

  • VG

    ^^ Please check following:


  • Hey vg its too much so thxxxx.....

    Mene aap a ek tutorial dekha he jisme win 7 desktop context menu me apna name ad karna ho to kaise kia jata he aap ne registry me se add karna bata ya hey win 7 me or win xp me iski shell32 215 menu item me se edit karvaya he ......

    Visha ji muje aap ye bata saktey ho jo desktop context menu win 7 me name add karvana he but regestry se nahi systm ki file se jo aap ne xp me karwayi he istarah ki file se to wo kon si file he plsss hume batana ..... Humey aap email karna thx 4 adv. Visha ji

  • VG can you help me about the "then run me" error?

    every time i run it and install it. it say that "cannot create sevenVG RTM/bkg.png" and a pop-up message box appear and says "some files could not be created. please close all aplications, reboot windows and restart this installation." and i restarted my pc and after clicking the "then run me" i close all the open application and yet still same problem appears over and over again. :(

    please help

  • VG

    ^^ First exit from Styler using its system tray icon and then right-click on the "Then run me" file and select run as Administrator option.

  • i think its better to install windows 7 instead of doing this

  • How to use the Progress Dialog Box in Xp Please help me

  • VG

    ^^ You'll need to use Resource Hacker. Check following tutorial to learn more about it:

  • Boot Screen
    Login Screen or Welcome
    Progress Dialog Box
    Shutdown / Log off Dialog Box
    About Windows Box
    System Properties Dialog Box
    plz help me i can't use these.

  • The windows 7 desktop menu is not working in my xp .What kind of solution there.

  • VG

    ^^ What problem are you facing? Please provide more details.

  • it is not working

  • uxstyle is not working it is coming uh oh something went wrong

  • when I save the modified shell32.dll it automatically refreshes back to its original state. please help me in that !!

  • VG

    ^^ Check following:

  • intel 845glva motherboard, with winXP media center edition.
    in device manager sound driver showing its working properly but in control panel sound and audio device showing "no audio device". and the sound tri icon not showing. and cannot get any output audio. when i going to install audio driver its shown me a massage like this "No audio Device found. Please restart system and try again". i did but still not working... Please VG............ Help me..

  • VG

    ^^ Try to uninstall the driver from Device Manager and then reinstall driver. If it doesnt work, there might be some hardware problem.

  • Here's a few suggestions:

    Alongside the SevenVG theme, also use Aero7 TrueTransparency skin.

    It'll add a near-perfect replica of Aero Glass to every window, and includes Aero Snap. I would say to use BorderSkin but it's buggy.

    There are other mods on DeviantArt that replace the XP taskbar icons (volume, Wifi, battery) with Windows 7 ones.

    Download T-Clock 2010 and you can customize it to look exactly like the Windows 7 taskbar clock, showing both date and time.

  • sir, in the progress dialogue box i could not replace the avi file in the shell32.dll what should i give in the space for resource type,resource name,resource language? plzzz help me...

  • VG

    ^^ Please check following:

  • vg,one more question i cannot save the avi(modified) in resource hacker.plzz tell me the solution

  • VG

    ^^ Please check articles given at following page to learn more about Resource Hacker and its issues:

  • thankzzz vg.........

  • VG, i runned the vi con remastered file but it shows an error message that it cannot initialize properly(0xc0000135).plzz give me the solution

  • VG

    ^^ Install .NET Framework.

  • hi vg.. i install every thing but still is does looks transparent like win7...
    plz help

  • cannot change windows system property box . please help

  • VG

    ^^ What problem are you facing?

  • vg,if i do the following process all the files in computer will be deleted or not?

  • VG

    ^^ I didnt understand. Please provide more details.

  • if i do the following process and convert my pc from windows xp to windows 7 then all files in my pc will be deleted? please tell me,please?

  • VG

    ^^ Why will all files in your PC be deleted? This process is absolutely safe.

  • pmfsl jagadish. You are simply changing your GUI interface with these tools. No other functionality of your XP will be affected. It's 'just for fun' (and seriously not for amateurs btw) Do not attempt this if you don't understand fundamentally what you're trying to achieve.

  • all the stuff is good,actually its great
    but when i use to log on it ask me for password what can i do?

  • VG

    ^^ Try following:

  • thank you very much
    it helped me alot
    your page rocks VG
    love you :)

  • now I have 1 more question
    when i log on my logon screen doesn't appear
    it shows only about windows dialog box
    what can I do for this problem

  • VG

    ^^ When you use automatic login tweak, it'll not show welcome screen.

  • best in the world
    thanx dude

  • I want to log in to a website that excludes XP. Will making these changes allow my computer to appear as a Windows 7 machine to that site? BTW I have windows xp on my mac via parralels.

  • VG

    ^^ No. It'll only change Windows XP look.

  • You are awsome.i like your articles but i want an article for converting xp into win 10

  • Ohh the good old days when I was not yet in College. In 2011, I have loved coming back to this article over & over again when I was using XP. Good move Vishal! Not putting dates on articles & comments is a good idea!

  • Great tutorial!!By the way, I recommend Start Menu X as an alternative to the boring old one (even though your theme spiced it up!). It doesn't look like the one in win7, but it is awesome nevertheless. Also, could you please suggest me any method to awesomize the system tray (not only the icons, but it should also look like the one in win7), because that's the only thing I really need now to complete my personalisation.

    P.S.: That shell thing of yours (in the left side of explorer) is a masterpiece!!! Wonder where you got that pic...

  • VG

    ^^ Did you try ViGlance?

  • Yes I did, but it's too laugh for my system an besides, I don't think your theme can be applied to that.

  • Dammit Auto correct!
    I meant to say that I did, but it's too laggy. You'll get the other half...

  • VG

    ^^ If you dont want to use ViGlance, you can use the theme in addition to following:

  • Well, that takes care of the clock, but if you have any software for changing the way the icons next to it are shown, tell me. And I thank you nevertheless.

  • Well, it seems ok, but the sixty-four thousand dollar question is, will it bring along some performance enhancement? or is it just a matter of screen view?

  • VG

    ^^ The transformation tutorials only change look of Windows OS. They have nothing to do with performance improvements.

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