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Make Win 7 look/act like 2k/XP?

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  • Windows 7
  • Windows XP
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August 2, 2009 7:04:10 PM

Is there any way to make Windows 7 look and behave like Win2k/XP? I don't like the new interface, and I don't need all of the gee-whiz-bang stuff it does with the taskbar, pinning windows, blah blah. I want the OS for its 64-bit-ness and other refinements, but I want the GUI of my 2k and XP workstations....

Thanks.

More about : make win act

a b $ Windows 7
August 2, 2009 7:30:21 PM

Tough Luck. Time to move on and forget anything XP.

If you want XP use XP, if not spend a day or to getting used to a better OS.

If you woulda tried Vista you would already be used to 7.
August 2, 2009 7:44:52 PM

Just don't see the need for changing the way the user interacts with the computer every single freakin time there's a new version of the OS. Have tried Vista, hate it with a passion.

If I have to re-learn the whole OS anyway, I'll go with Debian.
Related resources
a b $ Windows 7
August 2, 2009 8:14:48 PM

Well if you hate Vista you will hate 7. Same thing with a couple tweaks.

Its not like you got to relearn anything. Its basically the same thing with a flashier gui.
August 2, 2009 8:43:56 PM

It is possible to make the new W7 taskbar behave like the one in vista or xp by doing the following.

1. Right-Click on the taskbar and select properties
2. Check the "Use small icons" box
3. In the "Taskbar Buttons" drop-down menu, select "Never Combine" and hit "OK"
4. Remove all of your pinned programs
5. Drag and drop the hidden system tray icons to the taskbar
6. Enjoy!

For the Quick Launch Bar.
http://mintywhite.com/tech/windows-7/windows-seven-7-re...

I haven't really found a way to make it look like XP, or 100% behave like it, but you can make it look like 98.
Right click on your desktop and click "Personalize." Then scroll down until you see windows classic theme. Click on that.

Everything other then the taskbar and the quicklaunch bar will still behave like windows 7.
August 2, 2009 8:46:01 PM

LOL. I despise flash. I've spent the last 9 years using Win2k's interface, and I'm used to it and efficient with it. If i have to learn Vista/7's interface, although it looks the same, from what I've seen when using it, its a far cry from the "old" and rickety Win2k/XP interface. I won't be nearly as efficient as I am now, and increasing my efficiency is the whole point of me upgrading hardware.

At this point I'd be better off with XP 64 since I need the RAM, and not much else.

I guess eye candy is important in the I-Phone age, but I prefer something a little lower-speed and not quite as bloated.
August 2, 2009 9:10:06 PM

Some of that customization actually worked, thanks. What I have a lot of trouble with is file management, I'm used to seeing all of my drives in a nice tree, nothing's really changed since the beta days of WinNT, and now I can't even see those. I right click Start expecting an "explore" option, and instead I get "Open Windows Explorer" which is some kind of evil abomination of a file manager, and now I can't find anything.

I see the C: drive icon and can start to tunnel down the file tree like in days of old, but holy crap, Favorites, Libraries, Homegroup, and a bunch of other useless crap is in there too, with about 3/4" of white space all around it, what a bloated waste of space!!! Gimme back the old explorer.exe interface, I couldn't change skins or make it neon or any other fancy crap, but it damn sure had simplicity!
August 2, 2009 9:23:18 PM

if you're not adaptable, then how can you be useful in a rapidly changing technology sector?
August 2, 2009 9:41:35 PM

LOL!!!!!!!!!! I left a 12-year career in a "rapidly changing technology sector" and now work in an industry that is as different from IT/engineering as you can possibly get without moving to the moon.
a b $ Windows 7
August 2, 2009 9:57:00 PM

With that sort of outlook, we would all be watching B&W TV with no remote control and driving black T model Fords with no heating or airconditioning.
August 2, 2009 9:57:42 PM

tucansam said:
Some of that customization actually worked, thanks. What I have a lot of trouble with is file management, I'm used to seeing all of my drives in a nice tree, nothing's really changed since the beta days of WinNT, and now I can't even see those. I right click Start expecting an "explore" option, and instead I get "Open Windows Explorer" which is some kind of evil abomination of a file manager, and now I can't find anything.

I see the C: drive icon and can start to tunnel down the file tree like in days of old, but holy crap, Favorites, Libraries, Homegroup, and a bunch of other useless crap is in there too, with about 3/4" of white space all around it, what a bloated waste of space!!! Gimme back the old explorer.exe interface, I couldn't change skins or make it neon or any other fancy crap, but it damn sure had simplicity!


Yeah i know i'm not a fan of the extra favorites, and library folder...i don't use them. And i'm not sure if they can be removed. I've chose to ignore them for now.
August 2, 2009 10:25:36 PM

I don't own a TV, bro.

And my car is black. And the A/C doesn't work at present.
August 3, 2009 12:30:25 AM

tucansam said:
I don't own a TV, bro.

And my car is black. And the A/C doesn't work at present.


Go live with the Amish for a year or two... Learn a REAL trade, like farming with a horse-drawn plow, harvesting by hand. In your spare time, learn to make candles. Keep your axe sharp, a dull axe blade will glance off and do your leg some serious damage.

Or, just learn to cope with Win 7... And fix your A/C.
August 3, 2009 12:41:19 AM

this is an amusing thread
a c 209 $ Windows 7
August 3, 2009 1:50:51 AM

tucansam said:
I see the C: drive icon and can start to tunnel down the file tree like in days of old, but holy crap, Favorites, Libraries, Homegroup, and a bunch of other useless crap is in there too, with about 3/4" of white space all around it, what a bloated waste of space!!! Gimme back the old explorer.exe interface, I couldn't change skins or make it neon or any other fancy crap, but it damn sure had simplicity!
I sure hear you 'bro. That's exactly the same as my reaction. But it seems that there isn't very much we can do about it.

I've spent the last few weeks using Windows 7, and I like the new task bar, dislike the new Start Menu, and have come to the conclusion that for my style of use the whole "Libraries" thing is a lot more trouble than it's worth. It's kind of like "Search" - Microsoft keeps boasting about improvements that I never use.

I used to have a very nice customized menu tree which I created by putting a hierarchy of folders and shortcuts into the "Start Menu" folder. Unfortunately, the "Start Menu" folder doesn't do anything any more, at least not that I've been able to ascertain. So I've created the equivalent folder/shortcut tree and added it as a taskbar. That seems to work well enough.

In my XP System I moved my "My Documents" folder onto the D: drive. That still left a lot of Windows-managed files on the OS drive under "Documents and Settings" folder which I could pretty much ignore. I've decided to take the same tack with Windows 7. I've created a separate root folder on my D: drive and I store all my stuff in there. I've created shortcuts to that from the "real" My Documents folder so that I can easily get to my stuff from all of the standard dialogue boxes. I'm not 100% sure that this is the right way to go yet, but it's nice to have all that unwanted cr*p out of the way and to have the files I can see in the explorer window match the files I can see at the command line.
a b $ Windows 7
August 3, 2009 1:38:37 PM

OP - Strongly recommend you not use Windows 7, and simply install the Win 2K or XP version you wish to use.
August 3, 2009 7:14:27 PM

Thanks for all the replies guys. I would stay with 2K/XP except that I plan on running 12GB RAM and want to use an i7, and from what I understand, the newer OS's are better at handling the multiple cores and additional memory (certainly the 32-bit limit -- if 64-bit XP didn't get such poor reviews, I'd be considering it over everything else).


Certainly I'm not shunning progress, nor do I churn butter on the weekends in an electricity-deprived village in the woods. I've just become continually frustrated with interfaces that fundamentally change the way I interact with the computer, that's all. I shouldn't have to learn a new GUI every XX number of years. You call it progress, fine. If you've happy with the new gee/whiz/flash/bang aspects of Win7, more power to you.

I may be old fashioned (hell, I don't even have LED fans in my case or a touch screen on my cell phone, oh the calamity) but I don't look forward to changing the way I interface with my PC just because I want to upgrade to software that lets me use the latest hardware.

And I guarantee you I'm not alone in my opinion :) 
August 3, 2009 7:30:19 PM

just change the theme to windows classic
August 3, 2009 7:59:32 PM

change is evil and comes from the devil. Whats with this crazy rock and roll the kids are listening to? Oh, the kids today, with the hair and the clothes!!! ...and don't get me started on that BLACK president! The very fact that you've used a magic box is an abomination. Don't make it worse by learning to use a new version of the magic box. God will smite you for sure.
August 3, 2009 8:09:49 PM

yet the network the magic box uses is used more heavily than any other form of communication for the word of god to be spread, embrace the magic box, it is your friend, and if you dont want to then just die and go to heaven then ull learn that heaven is actually a computer program runing on windows xp with an i7 and 24gb of ram and that hell is a program running on windows vista ultimate running on a pentium 2 wtih 96 mb of 66mhz sdram, 32 mb in each of the 3 sd ram slots
August 3, 2009 8:24:37 PM

tucansam said:
Is there any way to make Windows 7 look and behave like Win2k/XP? I don't like the new interface, and I don't need all of the gee-whiz-bang stuff it does with the taskbar, pinning windows, blah blah. I want the OS for its 64-bit-ness and other refinements, but I want the GUI of my 2k and XP workstations....

Thanks.


why the hell would u wanna do that w7 looks amazing

can't wait till games come out using DX 11

anyways also you can make them compaitable by going into the properties of a shortcut or the exe and run it in compaitability mode of xp
a b $ Windows 7
August 3, 2009 8:46:51 PM

tucansam said:
Thanks for all the replies guys. I would stay with 2K/XP except that I plan on running 12GB RAM....


May I suggest Windows Server 2003, then. It can be made to handle that amount of memory, it looks like XP, and isn't XP64.



Otherwise?? Well.. Although you can set the GUI to Classic mode, or make a skin and have it look like you want it to... The paths you use to navigate around in XP are different in 7 - not completely, but still different enough. And without deeper technical knowledge, you will not be able to redesign the file hierarchy to make the OS be what you want it to be. I doubt you'd be able to do that in 32 bit, and wouldn't even think about trying that in 64. There are a second set of libraries used by WOW (not the game: "Windows on Windows") to run 32 bit programs natively. So I would strongly recommend against moving things around unless you are sure of what you're doing, and have all of the pointers straight.

Not a dig against you, and please understand that I'm not taking a shot. But rather than tapdance around the point I'll just say it bluntly: Since there is a (real or perceived) "need" to go 64 bit, just order a Windows 7 book or two from Amazon once they're available, put your "new OS" learning cap on, and get on with it for what it is.


August 3, 2009 8:57:03 PM

y dont u just use xpx64, i used it fro a while and i experienced no issues
August 4, 2009 1:10:40 AM

Windows 7/Aero/whatever "looking amazing" has little to do with my overall computing experience. I haven't seen my desktop wallpaper in six months. My taskbar is run on the right-hand side of the screen, resized so that only the "Start" icon is visible (no text), and right now there are 46 icons on it showing running programs. I like things simple, tight, and out of the way. Wasted screen real estate ranks up there with child molsters on the "things that piss me off" list. Aero may look cool, but like I said, the gee-whiz-bang stuff isn't for me. My Solaris desktops run xfce, nice and lightweight, super fast, no frills. All I'm saying is that, after nine years of use, I've got XP dialed back to where I want it, efficiency-wise, and now I've got to start all over again because every time Microsoft releases a new version of windows, the fundamental interactivity with the system changes 180 degrees.

Thanks for the suggestions of 2003 server and XP64. Will 2003 server handle the multiple cores like Vista/Win7 will? And I've heard bad things, overall, about XP64, mostly that its a kludge at best.
August 4, 2009 4:35:40 AM

2003 server will do fine with multiple cores.

Just adding something interesting, I have a IPCop box with WUC, server 2003 x64 and XP64 uses the same updates, so that could be a reason why all the "Bad reviews" are there, simple compatibility issues, I know some applications are just not compatible with windows server.

As for the whole "im more efficient with 2k/xp", been using Vista for almost a year now, and W7 for 3 months, when you get used to it, you'll be way more efficient, and i say this because i hated Vista in the begining.

The file structure isnt that hard to figure out and to change, granted took me an hour the first time, now it takes less than 10 min to get it the way I like it.

I do use the new GUI cause classic view takes away the start and type, the search is awesum, press start and type what you want and it gives it to you almost instantly, Super caching is great too, just be patient the first 2 days. Give the OS time to learn you.

Just my 2 cents worth...
a b $ Windows 7
August 4, 2009 7:01:39 AM

Why not just use Win7 and have it autohide the taskbar, if you're so picky about wasted screen space. In my mind, using the bottom 15 or 20 pixels as a taskbar doesn't bug me, since it's perhaps 2% of the overall screen height (1200 pixels), but on a smaller screen, it could become more significant.
August 4, 2009 8:58:35 AM

In Windows Explorer, right click in the white space on the left where all the libraries are and select "show all folders." That way it doesn't hide all the useful things like the recycle bin.

Libraries are essentially just virtual directories made up of several actual directories. It basically just allows you to add all of the locations where your documents are in one place. You don't have to use it, and personally I don't see much use for it unless you're really disorganised.

Also note that folders like "Downloads" that are accessible from a quick link on the left are changeable. You can have them point to a different location and have Windwos move all the current files/folders in Downloads to the new place.
a b $ Windows 7
August 4, 2009 9:20:36 AM

ummmmm when you get used to the new layout its actually alot more efficent and effective then that dinosaur xp - give it time and get used to it

things change for the better - welcome to the real world
August 4, 2009 9:42:30 AM

Jonmor68 said:
With that sort of outlook, we would all be watching B&W TV with no remote control and driving black T model Fords with no heating or airconditioning.


You mean I have been living in the dark this whole time?! I'm not giving up my model T or my high-tech 1976 color television!!! My model T races down the highway at a whopping 27 miles an hour, man, how dare you!!! :lol: 




tucansam said:
Thanks for all the replies guys. I would stay with 2K/XP except that I plan on running 12GB RAM and want to use an i7, and from what I understand, the newer OS's are better at handling the multiple cores and additional memory (certainly the 32-bit limit -- if 64-bit XP didn't get such poor reviews, I'd be considering it over everything else).


Certainly I'm not shunning progress, nor do I churn butter on the weekends in an electricity-deprived village in the woods. I've just become continually frustrated with interfaces that fundamentally change the way I interact with the computer, that's all. I shouldn't have to learn a new GUI every XX number of years. You call it progress, fine. If you've happy with the new gee/whiz/flash/bang aspects of Win7, more power to you.

I may be old fashioned (hell, I don't even have LED fans in my case or a touch screen on my cell phone, oh the calamity) but I don't look forward to changing the way I interface with my PC just because I want to upgrade to software that lets me use the latest hardware.

And I guarantee you I'm not alone in my opinion :) 



I don't even have a cell phone. LOL If you need to talk to me that effing bad, leave a message or email me. :)  Seriously. I am weird about stuff sometimes... And I just don't like talking much.

Also.. What's wrong with churning butter in the woods?... I also make mead and my method of protection are viking era swords. I even sleep in chainmail pajamas, that I made myself. (LOL) :lol:  (I'm just kidding)




belial2k said:
change is evil and comes from the devil. Whats with this crazy rock and roll the kids are listening to? Oh, the kids today, with the hair and the clothes!!! ...and don't get me started on that BLACK president! The very fact that you've used a magic box is an abomination. Don't make it worse by learning to use a new version of the magic box. God will smite you for sure.


I KNEW IT!!!! :lol:  j/k!
August 4, 2009 1:47:23 PM

I think with enough tweaks, you can make Win7 more efficient than XP and you'll get used to the interface. Eventually you'll have to anyway...why not start building new habits now? :-/
a b $ Windows 7
August 4, 2009 1:52:04 PM

why go to windows 7 if you want it to look like XP?here's an idea STAY WITH XP!!!! its not like windows 2k where you cannot use later versions of software with it anymore.
a b $ Windows 7
August 4, 2009 2:09:17 PM

captaincharisma said:
why go to windows 7 if you want it to look like XP?here's an idea STAY WITH XP!!!! its not like windows 2k where you cannot use later versions of software with it anymore.




...because the OP wants to use 12GB of memory, and does not want to use XP64.
August 4, 2009 2:12:05 PM

leo2kp said:
I think with enough tweaks...

Why can't we get something from Microsoft that is out of the box WTFBBQLOLGTFO fast?
a b $ Windows 7
August 4, 2009 2:12:11 PM

New layouts on my favorite web page, and I am the first to complain. "what the hell, I liked the old page just fine.....this new one simply sucks"
Change the posting tags on Tom's forum, again, I am the first to go "oh crap, what have done to the forums now, this really bites, and really pisses off the people who have been around here for a while."
Drive down the road in my gas guzzling 99 Durango with the V-8 Magnum, and I see that they changed the price of gas today, and it didn't go down. I am going to have to get rid the old thing, even though I love driving it and has been a perfect vehicle for 10 years now.
One thing you have to get used to in life, is change. For better, or for worse, nothing ever stays the same.

a b $ Windows 7
August 4, 2009 2:14:17 PM

randomizer said:
Why can't we get something from Microsoft that is out of the box WTFBBQLOLGTFO fast?



I believe the axiom is "What Intel Giveth, Microsoft Taketh Away" :lol: 
August 4, 2009 2:24:39 PM

jitpublisher said:

One thing you have to get used to in life, is change. For better, or for worse, nothing ever stays the same.

Usually worse. Supermarket and food manufacturer profiteering push prices up at rates way higher than inflation while every change of packaging causes the net weight to go down by 20% (yep, I saw a block of choc go from 250g to 200g overnight). Sometimes the price goes up as soon as the weight drops.
August 4, 2009 2:25:48 PM

Scotteq said:
I believe the axiom is "What Intel Giveth, Microsoft Taketh Away" :lol: 

Which is why productivity doesn't really change no matter how fast your hardware is.
a b $ Windows 7
August 4, 2009 2:33:20 PM

Yah.. to an extent. But I'd opine that the slow part of the productivity equat....





<wanders off to get more coffee>



<chats to an office mate>



<sees a new voicemail, and retrieves the message>



<decides the caller is FOS, and therefore SOL>



....slow part of the productivity equation is sitting on his butt in front of the screen, rather than it being the computer's fault. ;) 



August 4, 2009 2:39:43 PM

Can't argue there.
August 4, 2009 11:30:42 PM

tucansam said:
...now I've got to start all over again because every time Microsoft releases a new version of windows, the fundamental interactivity with the system changes 180 degrees...


Thus Vista = 180 degrees and W7 = 360 degrees? Good, you're right back where you started. Either get XP x64 or realize you're not the center of the universe and everything doesn't exist to benefit you -- deal with change, it's going to keep happening.

Besides, the changes made from XP to W7 weren't designed to slow things down, they were designed to speed things up and simplify them. Give W7 a week with an open mind (key point there) and you may just find out that there's less archaic and more efficient ways to do what you've always done.

And what the hell are you doing running 46 programs at once? The few seconds to load a program that brutally inefficient in your mind? Do you have an aneurysm every time there's a Windows or driver update that requires you to reboot your computer and start all these programs again?
August 5, 2009 1:44:54 PM

Yes, I do have an anuerysm every time have to reboot. I'm used to Sun and SGI workstations where my uptimes exceeded one year. And yes, the hourglass is like looking into the eyes of the devil. I don't close anything, I move it around until I need it later.
August 6, 2009 6:59:59 PM

this thread is a pathetic display of close-mindedness. i recently switched from XP to win7, and havent looked back. and like you, i do a lot of intensive work (although you have failed to mention what this all important work is, unless i missed it) working on freelance 3D projects/editing photos/video. i think you are grossly exaggerating the importance of your work, and the multitude of work you perform. adapting to changing software is part of life as a computer user.
August 6, 2009 8:10:51 PM

mickeypowelll said:
why the hell would u wanna do that w7 looks amazing

can't wait till games come out using DX 11

anyways also you can make them compaitable by going into the properties of a shortcut or the exe and run it in compaitability mode of xp


I switched to 7 RTM x64 a week ago. The 2 things I despise the most about vista and 7 are the revamped "windows explorer" and the "complete layout change in how files, apps and settings, profiles, temp files, configuration content, etc are stored".

If I could change anything, I would restore the "friendliness" of the XP explorer interface for file management and restore the easy to remember and work with layout/directory structure of XP. Trying to locate temp files and application configuration files is a pain in the ass. What sucks more is that it is 5 times harder to locate and remove spyware infections from a vista or 7 box than it is from xp or earlier versions of windows. Even with the best apps available and alot of experience, removing spyware from vista and 7 is like finding a needle in a haystack in many cases.

In regards to making 7 look more like xp and run even better, another thing that can be done is to turn on the "optimize for performance" option which turns off alot of eye candy but preserves the overall 7 experience. That really helps, especially with the gpu performance, menus, windows, etc. That is just my 2 cents.

-- MaSoP

NOTE: My system is currently spyware and virus free. My spyware and virus removal complaints are from my experience with trying to remove it from other peoples computers that run vista home premium.
a b $ Windows 7
August 7, 2009 3:36:47 AM

Bite the bullet and familiarize yourself with the new GUI. Once you know where everything is, then your productivity will go back up because you'll know where everything is. Fuming about change and making yourself resistant to it is the quickest way to become unproductive. Who knows... after embracing it, you may actually come to like it.
August 7, 2009 4:06:16 AM

I suppose the big question is "why change it at all?" If it ain't broke, don't fix it right?
a b $ Windows 7
August 7, 2009 5:31:24 AM

Then we simply would not advance in anything. There are a lot of things in history that we wouldn't consider "broken"... but yet there is always room for improvement. The 386 processor wasn't broken... but there was definate room for improvement, wouldn't you say?

The changes in each version of Windows may or may not reflect improvement depending on your point of view... but they are still not so drastic that you couldn't adapt to them in a reasonable amount of time. Change is only as difficult as you make it... if you are stubborn and resist it constantly, you'll never adapt or you'll adapt much more slowly than someone who is more willing to accept it.

The change may not be absolutely necessary... but it is pretty much inevitable. Why waste time and effort complaining about it when you could better use that time to adapt?
August 7, 2009 5:40:46 AM

If the change improves things then fair enough. But aesthetics often don't, so you have "downtime" while adjusting but the end result is no net benefit. Some would argue that the Vista/W7 GUI is more intuitive, but other would argue that it's an absolute time waster due to excess clicking to do what you want (I agree with both depending on the task).
a b $ Windows 7
August 7, 2009 5:49:39 AM

I think you guys are being a bit harsh on him. I to hate the way vista's explorer works. You can't browse to your application data folder, its hidden. WTF is up with that? If Randomizer's tip of show all folders works, then I really wish I had known that 6 months ago. I dread fixing Vista machines because I look like an idiot because I can't browse to where I want to go.

I'm planning on getting win7 at some point. I'm also planning on working my way through its odd interface. But I feel some of you need to cut some of us a little slack. We've used this same interface for quite a long time, and to just change it (for the worse) is a bit frustrating.
August 7, 2009 6:02:45 AM

That thing I mentioned is only for Win 7 and doesn't un-hide Application Data (which is hidden in XP too IIRC so I don't see your point there), just all the usual stuff from Vista that is hidden in Win 7.
a b $ Windows 7
August 7, 2009 6:09:14 AM

Application data is a hidden folder, but you can unhide the hidden/system folders in XP. AFAIK, this can't be done in vista. I did eventually get there, but I don't remember how. (had to go through my documents foler if I remember correctly.)
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