Transform Windows XP into Windows 8 RTM without using Customization Pack

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:

Download 90-Day Trial Version of Windows 8 RTM Absolutely Free

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:

Download Windows 8 RTM Kit for XP

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:

Download Windows 8 RTM Theme for Windows XP

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:

How to Install and Apply Styler Toolbar Skin in Windows XP Explorer?

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:

Download RocketDock Skin to Get Windows 8 Charms Bar in Windows XP, Vista, 7

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:

Download Windows 8 Boot Screen for Windows XP

10. Windows 8 Login Screen:

Windows 8 login screen is not included in the download pack but you can get it from following link:

Download Windows 8 Login Screen for Windows XP

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:

Transform Windows XP into Windows 7 without using Customization Pack

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:

Transform Windows 7 into Windows 8 RTM without using Customization Pack

Feel free to ask any kind of questions in your comment if you face any problem in following this tutorial...

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Posted in: Themes & Wallpapers, Windows XP

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  • you are great Mr. VG

  • Thnx VG for the excellent tutorial and hats off to PeterRollar for creating such an awesome and complete kit!!!

  • AWESOME pack for us XP users ! ! !
    Thx Vishal & Peter...

  • thanx for vg ! ^^

  • How to change icons to Win 8(not win7) icons???

  • VG

    ^^ Windows 7 and Windows 8 icons are almost same so following icon pack should do the job:

  • Thanks for the help,But the icons in taskbar(volume,LAN etc) are still looking like xp .where can i get these icons?
    (I checked both above packs none of them has taskbar icons).

  • VG

    ^^ To change them, you'll need to edit system files and replace existing icons with new icons. You'll need to use Resource Hacker to edit files. You can learn more about system files and Resource hacker at following links:

  • hey VG i installed windows 8 transformation pack 5 but now i want to uninstall it. But its UX back files are missing please suggest how can i uninstall it?

  • VG

    ^^ Check following:

  • cool, although not the original Windows 8 .. but I've been happy with the look like this .. thank you ...

  • hey vg you are just superb..........

  • whether to display the date under the clock in the system tray?
    if it can, how?

  • VG

    ^^ Check following:

  • Thanks VG...

  • Sorry, this theme is too large in file size so it can not be applied. whether there is a smaller theme size like sevenvg , but with the style of windows 8?

  • I Am facin difficulty with styler.I Installed IE8 on my winxp pc and styler is not workin in Windows explorer after I installed ie8.When I uninstalled it, styler in windows explorer starts working.It was not even working with ie7, only works fine with ie6. Please help.

  • Win8RTM kit is 90days trial right? after making all above changes and at the end of 90 days, what shall we do to retain the win8 setting in winXP?
    pls. suggest.

  • VG

    ^^ No, its not any trial product. Its a free and fully functional theme pack. It'll never expire.

  • my windows xp system has only 2 local disks
    if i install windows 8..will there be a problem as if windows 8 cannot be limited to 2 local disks
    need answer admin..plzzzz
    how 2 increase local disks
    space on local disk:58.5 gb

  • VG

    ^^ There should be no problem if you install Windows 8 in free partition. Please share the size of both partitions.

  • Can you post how to install win8 style metro start menu using vistart. I really like ur theme

  • StartMenu.exe file is not running . Getting Incorrect Configuration Please Reinstall Program to Fix This. PLz Reply Fast

  • VG

    ^^ When are you getting this error message? Please provide more details.

  • When i try to open start from rocket dock

  • VG

    ^^ Please check following topic and comments:

  • which frame work is needed for the sbar application when i put my cursor on the thumbnail an error pops up ;(

  • VG

    ^^ Try to install .NET Framework 3.5:

  • I have few questions here, since I downloaded this pack and the visual styles simply did not work. Not by double clicking, not by copying to Windows/Resources/Themes.

    I have just installed fresh copy of WinXP Service Pack 2 32-bit (2002 Edition) on my old PC and I did not update the service pack or install any additional softwares, not even Silverlight or Flash Player or .NET Framework or anything.

    So please tell me, what are the base minimum requirements (Apart from having Windows XP) to make this transformation work?

  • VG

    ^^ Did you run the patcher to use 3rd party themes?

  • i want to covert windows xp to windows 8

  • Um I already use tune up utilities before and it already expired could I still can install the window boot screen.

  • You made our Pc(s) Brand New

  • I replaced my shell32.dll file. But now because of it I am not able to run vlc media player
    it says- The system DLL user32.dll was relocated on memory. The application will not run properly. The relocation occured because the DLL C:\windows\system32\shell32.dll occupied an address range reserved for windows system DLLs. The vendor supplying the DLL should be contacted for a new DLL.

    What should I do now?

  • VG

    ^^ It seems you replaced some resources in Shell32.dll file which are very large in size. Either restore default resources or use different resources which are small in size.

  • Hello vg, I'm having a big problem with borderskin....I can't remove it and when I click on borderskin.exe, it opens and freezes all the explorer programs. What should I do?

  • VG

    ^^ End task of its EXE file using Task Manager and then remove it.

  • I did that, but the explorer remains in the same style. Never mind, I fixed it.

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