Opening New Vistas


Oct 10, 2007
The new release in Microsoft Windows is Vista. It is very demanding as it requires even more resources than XP. However, customising XP to make it look like is Vista is not at all tough. It must be known that there are certain dll's in the system32 folder.

If these dll files are replaced by files which have been customised to give a Vista effect or actually Windows Vista dll files then the look of Vista can be attained. No person will ever guess that the windows you are running is XP. It becomes even impossible if the system properties tell that you have windows Vista installed. The best part is that the RAM and CPU consumption as compared to Vista would be much less and you would actually be enjoying the same Vista experience.

I shall mention some of the files that are actually needed to make your Windows XP look Vista, such that there will be no need to download any heavy software that is needed for the interface conversion.

Changing the theme

When Windows XP 2007 was out in Pakistan, I searched the market far and wide and tried to integrate its components in my old edition of Windows XP 2006. Windows XP 2007 contained Vista integration and hence, most of its files did not work on Windows XP 2006. I copied the theme files from the resources folder of Windows XP 2007 and actually pasted these files in the Windows XP 2006 Resources folder. The experiment was unsuccessful because the Dll file that actually handled the theme files in XP 2007 was different. However, the dll file which enables support for Vista themes is uxtheme.dll. If you search Google for this file you will very easily get hands over it. Now the question arises, how to replace this file as the original system file will be in use? For this you will have to enter the safe mode by repeatedly hitting the F8 key at the system start-up and download Vista Mods on XP V2 which contains a replacer which is easy to use and can patch system files safely and easily. However, before patching you must take care of a few things

1. You are only and only in SAFE MODE!

2. You create back-up of the system files you want to replace and place them in a separate folder at a safe place in case any anomaly occurs which I'm sure won't.

After patching the uxtheme.dll with the help of instructions of the replacer you should reboot immediately. Now paste the theme files in .msstyle format to the resources folder in Windows XP. Go to desktop properties and you should be able to use the themes properly now.

The theme I have chosen above is known as the Windows Vista Basic theme. The theme will generally change the Task Pane, Skin and the progress bars.

The font

The system Font that Windows XP uses is Trebuchet MS. That is not the case in Vista. Vista uses a different font which is known as Segoe UI. You will also have to get this font from the web to change the font of XP.

To change the Font after you've got it from the web copy/paste it in the fonts folder and go to the Appearance Tab and select Segoe UI as your font and Apply for the changes.

The shell animations

The shell animations of the system are controlled by the famous file shell32.dll. Shell32.dll is also available in the Vista Mods on XP V2 Pack. This is not software but simply a set of some dll files with a replacer to help you attain Vista like animations. Shell32.dll does not only change the system icons but also does a lot of other changing to the system if patched properly for example, it can change the Run Dialog box, the Copy/Paste and Delete animations, the throbber located in the right hand corner of every window that you open. Some of the cool effects of vista attained by patching are as follows.

Logon/ Logoff dialogue box

This was one difficult thing to discover. I was actually updating my system. I came to know that after installing one of the updates my beautiful Logon/Logoff Dialogue Box and the Shutdown Windows dialogue box had been changed to the old horrible looking Windows XP dialogue boxes. This update helped me to know that the exact file required to change the dialogue boxes is msgina.dll. Again you would find msgina.dll in the Vista Mods on XP V2 pack and replace it in safe mode using the replacer. You would get the following effects.

The system properties

Consequently, with XP installed its easier for any one to know about the operating system you've installed unless you patch three of the files of System 32. These files are xpsp1res.dll, xpsp2res.dll and sysdm.cpl. These files are also available in the Vista Mods on XP V2. Patch these files using the replacer to attain the following bombastic effects.

The boot screen

It is very simple just find the file ntkrnlpa.exe and ntoskrnl.exe on the web which has the boot screen for vista and patch the original system file after backing it up in safe mode and you would achieve the Vista Boot Screen.

Taskbar clock

L Clock is a utility designed to convert the XP Taskbar clock into a complete Vista one. Try searching it on the Web.

Welcome screen

The file responsible for changing the welcome screen is logonui.exe. Present in the system32 folder this controls the image and many other features of the logon screen. You may find many welcome screens on the web from

Vista sidebar

The desktop without the sidebar is incomplete. The sidebar adds a cool effect on the desktop. It can be downloaded from . It really makes the desktop rock!

3D flip effects

Don't be surprised. These effects are possible in Windows XP. You just have to download TopDesk from the web to enjoy these 3D effects for windows. Just keep you Direct X updated. With TopDesk it actually becomes possible to flip windows using the same Alt+Tab key combination while browsing the windows with Tab key which is exactly the same as Vista!

Vista cursors

It is difficult but I leave the task for you to search them now as you must do some homework on your part too. You will surely enjoy the Vista cursor as it provides better animation. I was surely relieved to get rid of the sand clock. This is what shall happen when you place the file with the .cur (Cursor) in the Cursors Folder located in the WINDOWS folder. Go to Control Panel select Mouse in Classic View and then substitute these aero cursor animations one by one. Oops! You got me. Well search them on the web by the name of Aero Cursors.

Visual tool tip

For the last and the final effect you shall have to download Visual Tooltip which shall provide you with thumbnails of minimised windows you can pin these thumbnails or let them disappear after a while or add a thumbnail to dock as shown in the second picture. These thumbnails are periodically updated along with the work being done. This gives a really wonderful effect to the windows.

Changing the wallpaper

Google is your best partner. You can get a lot of good windows Vista wallpapers from Google Images . Simply, type the keywords Windows Vista Wallpapers and you shall find a lot of good wallpapers to suit your needs I have used the wallpaper by the name of Vista Bliss. Here are some extra files to help you along your way to achieve interface conversion completely. Finding these files would be difficult but I actually took some of these from Vista! See if you can find these too. A bit difficult but not impossible though.
u remind me of one point someone once made!!!painting your old corolla to look like Ferrari, wont take it 60 miles in 3 seconds!!!

GUI i just another part of OS,when vista was developed it too was improved with many other features ranging from its kernel to security loopholes,

I would just say it simple!!changing parts of your XP GUI to make it resemble Vista is just another way of showing little understanding of OS.

if XP and Vista were anywhere near resembleness then Big software manufactures wouldn't miss deadline for vista drivers updates,and we wouldn't have that compatibility issues that so many small developers are dying to overcome.

i would generalize that,for any minimalistic thinker,changing user interface would transform XP to Vista.BUT no,it will just give you that Ferrari look in your old corolla,and it would never make your corolla anywhere near Ferrari superiorness!!

try buying vista,if you cant afford it for now,better wait.since XP is still way better than most OS's ever made!!a
try buying vista,if you cant afford it for now,better wait.since XP is still way better than most OS's ever made!!a

PP, better than what OS's? I thought you once pointed that Windows platform was a hindrance....well, by inference..

Thankyou for your ideas, I think its getting too much and this article has already got your views. Its for people who are interested in customizing their windows. As an OS customizer I take great pleasure in this.
PP, better than what OS's? I thought you once pointed that Windows platform was a hindrance....well, by inference..


you are right buddy!!i pointed out that the whole computing scene was getting boring..,especially for people who are interested more on the overal productivity and development.

here windows sucks as many would suggest!!BUT that wont stop any expert from advising you to stick with XP for your daily activities like SME's and lots of other life encountering scenarios.

its the truth that microsoft windows covers 90%+ of the PC market and generaly OS category.

so apart from lacking creativity and that freedom people always are fetching for in development mode windows still serves best majority.

and if i have to use the same criteria choosing sides for majority then neither LINUX OS X or even VISTA can best XP in THAT!!

yes it does lack millions of things...,BUT it serves best..,an average user..,whom we are addressing here.

BUT incase we go back to the geeky side and starts addressing the real features..,regardless the usability,and other socially acompained issues then YEAH LINUX is as far better..,i would say!!
Not to hijack the thread,

Pangu, how do you compare XP with Ubuntu, user base aside.

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