UPDATE: Tutorial updated to match latest Windows 8 RTM UI.
We all know that Microsoft has released final RTM version of its latest OS Windows 8 and a free 90-day trial version of Windows 8 RTM can be download using following link:
Windows 8 comes with lots of new features and GUI changes such as new theme, boot screen, cursors, start menu, ribbon UI in Explorer, etc. You can take a look at all these new features in our exclusive Windows 8 review.
If you are still using Windows XP and are not in mood to install Windows 8 but want to enjoy all Windows 8 new features and GUI changes in good old Windows XP, this tutorial will definitely help you.
This tutorial will assist you in transforming Windows XP into Windows 8 without using any 3rd party customization pack. You'll change all the things manually to make Windows XP look-like Windows 8 RTM.
Following is a preview of the output which you'll get after following this tutorial:
Following is a list of things which we are going to change in this tutorial:
- Windows 8 theme for Windows XP
- Windows 8 style blue borders in program windows
- Ribbon UI in Windows Explorer
- Windows 8 style Metro start menu
- Windows 8 look-like Charms Bar
- Windows 8 style right-side details pane in Windows Explorer
- Windows 8 sounds and cursors
- Windows 8 style Taskbar
- Windows 8 boot screen
- Windows 8 login screen
- Windows 8 style dialog boxes
- Windows 8 look-like System Properties and Personalization window
- Windows 8 version info
- Windows 8 wallpapers
- Windows 8 fonts
- Some extras such as icons, start screen, etc.
First download Windows 8 RTM kit created by our friend "PeterRollar" @ DA which contains all stuff which we are going to use in our tutorial:
Once you download the above RAR file, extract it using WinRAR or 7-Zip and you'll get a folder containing the complete pack.
Now follow these simple instructions:
NOTE: Please create a Restore point using "System Restore" before applying the changes 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 replacing them, so that you can restore them if anything goes wrong or you don't like the new change.
So here we start our transformation tour:
1. Windows 8 Theme for Windows XP:
First thing which you need to install or apply is the Windows 8 theme which will provide Windows 8 look-n-feel to Windows XP. You'll get the theme in "Visual style" folder present in the pack. Check out following guide to apply this theme:
2. Windows 8 Style Blue Borders in Program Windows:
To get Windows 8 look-like blue borders in programs windows, you'll need to install Border Skin software which can be downloaded from here and then copy its EXE file and paste it in "BorderSkin Blue" folder present in the pack. At last run "BorderSkin.exe" file and it'll provide the blue window borders.
3. Ribbon UI in Windows Explorer:
Now you'll need to install Styler software and apply the styler skins present in "Styler toolbars (Ribbon UI)" folder present in the pack. To learn how to use Styler, please visit following tutorial:
It'll provide Windows 8 look-like Ribbon UI in Windows XP Explorer. You can select any of 3 skins available: Home, Maximize the ribbon or Minimize the ribbon.
4. Windows 8 Style Metro Start Menu:
To have Windows 8 style Metro start menu, you'll need to install ViStart. Once you install ViStart, apply its skin from "ViStart" folder. You can also enjoy ViStart and this Metro Start Menu skin in other Windows versions such as Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.
5. Windows 8 Look-Like Charms Bar:
The "win8_consumer_preview_charmsbar..." folder present in the pack contains a skin for RocketDock utility which will provide Windows 8 look-like Charms Bar in Windows XP. Check out following tutorial for more details:
6. Windows 8 Style Right-Side Details Pane in Windows Explorer:
Windows 8 shows the details pane (aka common tasks or shell style) in right-side of Windows Explorer. If you also want to have the same feature in Windows XP, you'll need to take help of shellstyle.dll file present in "Right side shell" folder of the pack. To use it, you'll need to replace existing shellstyle.dll file present in "C:\Windows\Resources\Themes\Theme_folder\Shell\NormalColor\" with this new one.
7. Windows 8 Sounds and Cursors:
If you also want to enjoy Windows 8 sounds and cursors in Windows XP, you can get them in "Media" and "Cursors" folders present in the pack. You can apply them using Sound and Mouse applets present in Control Panel.
8. Windows 8 Style Taskbar:
Now you'll need to install SBar which provides Windows 7 and Windows 8 like Taskbar functionality in Windows XP and Vista. After installing SBar, apply the skin present in "SBar Skin" folder of the kit.
9. Windows 8 Boot Screen:
Now it's time for installing Windows 8 boot screen. You'll need to install "Tuneup Utilities" to apply the boot screen. The boot screen can be found in "windows8_rtm_bootup_by_peterrollar-d58c74u" folder of the kit. Check out following tutorial to apply the boot screen:
10. Windows 8 Login Screen:
Windows 8 login screen is not included in the download pack but you can get it from following link:
11. Windows 8 Style Dialog Boxes:
If you also want to enjoy the new look of file copy, move, delete progress dialog box, shutdown dialog box, etc in Windows XP, you can replace existing shell32.dll file present in "C:\Windows\System32" folder of your Windows with the new customized shell32.dll file present in "Shell32.dlll" folder of the pack. You'll need to use Replacer for this task.
12. Windows 8 Look-Like System Properties and Personalization Window:
To get Windows look-like System Properties and Desktop Personalization window, you'll need to replace existing sysdm.cpl and themeui.dll files present in "C:\Windows\System32" folder of your Windows with the new customized files present in "windows8_rtm_sysprops_and_personalization..." folder of the pack. Again you'll need to use Replacer for this task.
13. Windows 8 Version Info:
If you want to change Windows XP version info with Windows 8, i.e. when you check Windows version by typing winver command in RUN dialog box or using any other method, Windows will show the version info as Windows 8 release Preview instead of Windows XP.
To change version info, you'll need to replace a system file "xpsp1res.dll" present in System32 folder with the new DLL file present in "Version info W8 RP" folder in the pack. You'll need to use Replacer for this task.
14. Windows 8 Wallpapers:
The kit also contains a few official Windows 8 wallpapers which can be applied using Desktop Properties.
15. Windows 8 Fonts:
You can also install Windows 8 fonts in Windows XP by copying all .ttf files present in "Windows 8 Fonts" folder of the pack to "C:\Windows\Fonts" folder or Fonts applet present in Control Panel.
16. Some Extras:
There are many other things which are same in Windows 7 and Windows 8 so you can visit following exclusive tutorial to get Windows 8 icons, Aero Shake, Aero Snap, Aero Peek, Calculator, Paint, Context menu, Drive status bar, etc:
Also visit following tutorial to install some 3rd party software which also work in Windows XP and provide Windows 8 features such as user picture tile in Taskbar, Windows 8 Start screen, etc:
Feel free to ask any kind of questions in your comment if you face any problem in following this tutorial...