I posted on Twitter in response to Linus Tech Tips that I made my Windows 10 installation look like Windows XP's Luna theme. This is just because I like the look of XP more than 10. It may be nostalgia as it's the first version of Windows I used, but I also like the more colourful look of it. So here's how I did it.
Side note: This isn't extensive. I'm a bloke in a bedroom, and I did this for funsies. I changed what I could, but there's a lot I haven't noticed or haven't found a way to change. If you know how to change bonus stuff like system tray icons, please DM me on Discord or Twitter and I will add it to this blog with credit of course.
What We're Starting With
I am using Windows 10 Home for this. This computer is my own, so you can see I have things on the taskbar and all. But this should work for you as well.
Stardock WindowBlinds 11
The first thing I suggest doing is downloading WindowBlinds 11. This is software made by Stardock and allows you to change the Windows taskbar and titlebar appearance greatly. They have an XP (Luna) preset that we can use. The current version is 11, but this may have changed by the time you read this.
You can purchase Stardock software via their website, but I prefer to do it through the Steam page.
While we're here, we might as well grab Start11, another program by Stardock. (I promise this isn't sponsored by them; their software is just the best for this job..!)
We'll use this software later. But you can use alternative software to Start11, such as Open-Shell. Which is free, but a little less robust. The choice is yours but I use Start11, specifically the Steam version. (Again, there may be a future version available for you)
If you're following this guide exactly, then download Start11 as well as WindowBlinds 11. There is usually a bundle available for them both.
Let's first set up WindowBlinds 11.
It should look like this when you download it.
We just need to select the XP (Luna) theme from the selection available.
... And hit "Apply style to desktop"!
Your screen (including other monitors) will blur while this process takes place. Sit back, have a quick drink, whatever you do. It takes a moment.
But you should be left with this after you close the WindowBlinds 11 configuration window.
Cool! The taskbar, window titlebars, and even the progress bars are changed!
(I haven't worked out how to change the titlebars of specific applications, such as Google Chrome. So please tell me if you work out how to do that!)
Let's get Start11 set up. Slightly more involved, but not too hard.
Load up Start11 after it has finished downloading. It probably looks like this.
Turn on "Use the Start11 Start Menu" and make sure "Windows 7 style" is set in both the style and substyle. The result is that your start menu will look like the Windows XP menu.
Next, click "Start Button" on the left-hand menu in the Start11 configuration window. It probably looks like this.
Ensure that "Use a custom start button image" is turned on, and click "Pick image".
This will allow you to select a custom image to be used as the start button.
The image you need to select is the "XP_Button_ClearType.png", which you can download from my Google Drive.
It should instantly update your start button to use the new image.
Tidying the Taskbar
Now is a good time to hide any unneeded junk on your taskbar. Do this right-clicking an empty space on the taskbar, and hovering over "Search" and "News and interests", making sure both are set to "Hidden" and "Turn off" respectively. Also, make sure "Show Task View button" does NOT have a tick next to it.
The Classic Background
How could I forget? We need to change the background to "Bliss", arguably the most famous image ever taken. You can find that on my Google Drive as well. Find it in your file explorer, right-click it, and click "Set as desktop background". Simple!
Ah, this is looking familiar!
That's the visuals done, let's do a little change to the sounds!
One of the biggest things about XP for me was the sound. When you click a folder in file explorer, you'd hear this subtle click sound. And while it may be annoying to some, I really liked it. So I'll show you how to bring that back as well, since it was clearly ditched for future versions of Windows.
Open your (new) start menu, and search for "sound".
This will bring up the option in the control panel, and by default, it will show the "Playback" tab, showing your audio output devices. Switch the tab at the top to "Sounds". It will look like this.
I don't know what sounds really need changing, but I re-enable a few that I want. The first being the checkbox at the bottom "Play Windows Start-up sound".
The sounds we need to change are "Windows Log-off", "Exit Windows", "Start Navigation", and "Empty Recycle Bin". Match these sounds to their named audio files using the dropdown box at the bottom of the window. You can click the "Test" button to hear the sound and ensure you have the right one. (Note that "Start Navigation" is the click sound that plays when you open a folder)
Hit "Apply" when you're done.
I don't have images of this because I haven't done it. But here are a few things you could do for extra authenticity.
Windows Photo Viewer
The Windows 10 photo viewer isn't good, in my opinion. Zooming is complicated and it doesn't seem as responsive as the original found in Windows 7. Plus, the Windows 10 version is equipt with all the modern spyware that Microsoft subject you to nowadays.
Side note: I recommend using Spybot Anti Beacon to limit Microsoft's power on your computer. Remove the preinstalled crapware like Candy Crush and Bubble Witch.
The original photo viewer is still around, it's just disabled by default. You can use these registry editors to bring it back. Then you can set it as the default viewer in your system settings. Download the registry editors from my Google Drive.
This is about as far as I've gotten with making Windows 10 look like Windows XP.
Any improvements? As I said above, please tell me! Together we can go back to a simpler time... When Windows looked fun.