How to force old applications to have Windows XP look

Windows XP logoIf you are using an old application with old look, you might want to change it’s appearance, and make it look like Windows XP applications. You might try to change Display properties -> Appearance but it will not work on all applications.

This tweak will refresh most of the old applications.

Forcing an old application to have new Windows XP look:

1. Copy following text into notepad or some other text editor

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes"?>
<assembly xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:asm.v1" manifestVersion="1.0">
<assemblyIdentity version="1.0.0.0" processorArchitecture="X86"
name="COMPANY.PRODUCT.PROGRAM" type="win32"/>
<description>MY DESCRIPTION</description>
<dependency><dependentAssembly>
<assemblyIdentity type="win32"
name="Microsoft.Windows.Common-Controls" version="6.0.0.0"
processorArchitecture="X86" publicKeyToken="6595b64144ccf1df"
language="*" />
</dependentAssembly></dependency>
</assembly>

2. Save it in old applications folder and name it application.exe.manifest. For example if application’s exe name is “MyApplication.exe” you should name this file “MyApplication.exe.manifest” (without quotes).
To make it easier you can download this file application.exe.manifest to your application’s folder and rename it as explained above.

3. Run old application to see how it looks. In most cases application will have Windows XP look, but some will not, and very rarely some may not work. In that case, just delete manifest file you created and restart the application.

Example of an old application with old look, and with new look as described above:

Old application in old and new style

5 Responses to “How to force old applications to have Windows XP look”

  1. Neil Parks says:

    My problem is the opposite: I don’t like the clownish XP look. I greatly prefer the “classic” Win 2000 look. How do I get modern programs that already have the “new look” to acquire the “old look” instead?

  2. Chris says:

    That’s my ‘problem’ too.

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