This isn't Windows XP -- it's a new version of Windows 10, and you can install it now for free
If you want to run a modern operating system like Windows 10, but miss the simplicity and aesthetics of Windows XP, then we have some great news for you.
Windows EXPERIENCE Freestyle Update is a free Windows 10 mod that does a fantastic -- and virtually flawless -- job of mimicking Windows XP, and you can download and install it now directly from the Internet Archive.
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This isn’t some early proof of concept, but a fully functioning Windows 10 mod which has undergone testing and a few revisions and is now considered complete.
Its creator, travis#2800, says the Freestyle Update may well be the last one, "unless there are new discoveries in making Windows 10 more faithful to Windows XP". It's certainly hard to see how he can improve on this release.
There are -- naturally -- some known issues to be aware of in this mod and these are:
Changing from Luna to any other theme may cause the screen to be black and kick the user out of the desktop. Go through the process of changing themes and it will apply. This also fixes broken WindowMetrics from the aftermath.
⦁ The program that is used to force the Basic (Non-DWM) Window Borders is broken when installing this mod with any language but en-US.
⦁ The Appearance tab on Display Properties crashes the applet, use "Change Luna Theme" on the Control Panel to change themes.
⦁ Inactive Caption Text color is inaccurate, this has something to do with Windows 10.
⦁ Dialogs, Strings, and Menus will be unmodified if you use any language other than en-US.
⦁ Any DPI above 100 percent will be broken. This mod is incompatible with ANY type of DPI scaling.
⦁ File Explorer's toolbars may look messed up when it's opened when it's maximized by default.
⦁ Tray area of the taskbar will be broken when showing all tray icons.
⦁ Volume system tray may not change the volume. This depends on your sound configuration and the Sound Devices.
⦁ Some of the menus on File Explorer will not work (ex. "Favorites", "Help"). These are only here for the sake of accuracy and being faithful to Windows XP.
⦁ On-Screen Keyboard will show a QWERTY + CJK layout.
⦁ Internet & E-mail may look wrong on Royale/Royale Noir & Zune/Embedded, this can be fixed by adding one black character (?) when renaming each of them.
⦁ All themes other than Luna have incorrect DWM Window Frames. This will be noticable when a program is not responsing, running a program as SYSTEM or TrustedInstaller, and the small delay forcing the Non-DWM (Basic) Window Frames.
⦁ Windows Messenger does not work. This is due to Microsoft shutting down the servers. If you feel so in using it, look for trusted services that hosts servers for MSN/Windows Live Messenger. I personally recommend in using Escargot (https://escargot.chat/). Though be cautious on using these outdated services, even if they're secure.
The Windows EXPERIENCE Freestyle Update download clocks in at 3.7GB and can be found here. Let me know what you think of it in the comments below.