back to article What if Microsoft had given us Windows XP 2024?

A brave hero has given us a glimpse at an alternative universe, where Microsoft evolved the Windows XP design language. And isn't that a better use of time than coming up with the Copilot key? Huh? key on keyboard Windows keyboards to get a Copilot key – but how quickly will users jump? READ MORE Windows XP arrived in 2001 …

  1. Dave K

    There's bits to like and dislike here obviously, but one thing I will say - it looks a lot more coherent than any official version of Windows since 7.

    1. theOtherJT Silver badge

      Sure, some of it is a bit gaudy, but other than that I'd say that this looks much better than any of the official Windows shells we've had since then. Worth remembering too, that back in the good old days you could configure the desktop colour scheme so a lot of that was fixable anyway.

      1. Tim99 Silver badge

        I always turned on Classic View in XP. It looked like Windows 2000, which I found more restful. It also used less resources.

        1. 0laf

          I think MS Windows peaked with W2000 tbh.

          Fast, functional and did what it was bloody told for the most part.

          Even driver managment wasn't that bad.

          1. doublerot13

            > I think MS Windows peaked with W2000 tbh.

            100%!! And XP sucked until at least its second service pack.

            I remember taking a job in 2005 and they still used Win2000 - I was delighted.

        2. nightflier

          Seconded! W2K was peak Windows. Although, by the time I found the Classic option in XP, I had already switched from W2K to KDE on Linux. No product key, no activation.

        3. BillG

          Windows XP was the last real desktop OS Microsoft ever made. The user commanded, the OS obeyed. XP did not "helpfully" turn options back on "for a better user experience".

          Since XP with each succeeding OS Microsoft has taken more and more control away from the user until we have Windows 10 where it's a constant battle to wrestle control of your computer from Microsoft, and now Windows 11 where the user is a helpless pawn.

          1. rcxb Silver badge

            The user commanded, the OS obeyed. XP did not "helpfully" turn options back on "for a better user experience".

            Oh yeah? Try uninstalling Internet Explorer from XP, and let us know how it goes.

            1. Al Black

              Try uninstalling Internet Explorer from XP

              To be fair, Internet Explorer was the user interface for XP, so expecting to be able to uninstall it was unreasonable.

          2. David 132 Silver badge

            >XP did not "helpfully" turn options back on "for a better user experience".

            Oh god, triggered I am.

            "You can turn Windows Defender off, but we'll turn it back on again later for your protection"

            How about "no, f*ck off, if I turn my AV off that is my decision and my risk and I don't need to be patronized or hand-held"...

            Per the icon, I am currently sitting here with a pint of Crux Fermentation's finest Porter, so my comments might be less coherent than usual (hush at the back there, what do you mean "than usual"??)

            1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

              > "You can turn Windows Defender off, but we'll turn it back on again later for your protection"

              Use the server version. You can uninstall the windows defender feature, just like any other feature.

              1. Roland6 Silver badge

                > Use the server version.

                That would be Server 2003 64bit in Workstation mode aka Windows XP Professional X64 Edition.

                1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

                  > > Use the server version.

                  > That would be Server 2003 64bit in Workstation mode aka Windows XP Professional X64 Edition.

                  Double no. Server 2003 R2 x64 (please R2 with Sp2) has no defender feature to begin with. Using such old versions, besides from "I want a VM running that", does not make sense. And XP 64? What use case?

                  Use Server 2012 to Server 2022. I'd recommend 2022 for obvious reasons, freely available as EVAL. And if you know your way around with dism unlimited eval. It complains "not activated", but it works. Which should be fine for private test installations.

                  1. Roland6 Silver badge

                    > Server 2003 R2 x64 (please R2 with Sp2) has no defender feature to begin with.

                    So it couldn’t be turned on by default…

                    > Using such old versions

                    Not sure about this, I thought we were discussing the world of circa 2010, rather than taking a 2008 copy of XP 64 and installing it on a modern computer for everyday use.

                    But if talking about W10/W11…

                    > And XP 64? What use case?

                    Same as all 64 bit versions of Windows since.

                    Back in the day, a 64 bit version of XP wasn’t constrained by the 4GB limit on RAM (ignoring the Intel x86 addressing scheme which could be used to address 64GB) so useful for CAD and video editing.

                    > Use Server 2012 to Server 2022. I'd recommend 2022 for obvious reasons

                    A couple of years back I picked up a couple of copies of 2019 Std 16 core licences for peanuts, runs very nicely on top of W10 Hyper-V, (well good enough for single user purposes on my laptop) or directly on the hardware (Lenovo L15 supported configuration).

                    So yes, if I wanted more of a workstation than a PC today, I would run 2022, however, I would still prefer the UI to be either W2K or XP rather than W10/W11; just with the functionality, security and stability of the W10 core…

                    1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

                      It switched to, at least, Server 2012 once the line "You can turn Windows Defender off, but we'll turn it back on again later for your protection" came up. After that was the derailing to older versions :D. All versions before have no defender feature, though you could install the what-was-it-named-back-then AV from Microsoft.

                      Server 2022: Try it, it missed the "UI improvements" of Windows 11 by sheer luck I suppose - or by a big veto from the server guys who did not want that shit as UI. Looks like Windows 10.

              2. RAMChYLD

                Windows Defender was an optional component in XP as I recall it. It only became bundled with Windows 7. The original XP came out before Windows Defender was a thing, and Service Pack 3 rather rationally did not bundle it. The only time you get Windows Defender preinstalled is if you buy a prebuild.

                Speaking of which, I find Windows XP great because how easy and quick it is to slipstream (ie merge a service pack onto the disc intself). No faffing about with DISM and waiting hours for the image to decompress, update and then recompress, and then repeating again and again for every SKU the image supports.

        4. logicalextreme

          Anybody who didn't use Classic View was a monster. The sheer size of the default titlebars made me shudder

          1. MonkeyJuice

            We used to refer to it as the Fischer Price edition in my circles.

            1. Nematode

              Tellytubbies edition here. Just needs TinkyWinky etc on the hill

              1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

                He's in Redmond, WA. Tim "TinkyWinky" Cook

                1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge


                  I got my tech moguls mixed up.

                  Tim Cook is in Cupertino and is of course the Apple Miester. Shame about that, as Tinky Winky fits quite well.

                  Alas, not sure which of the others Satya Nadella would be a match:

                  Dipsy, Laa-Laa or Po.

                  Given the Windows 11 retrograde UI issues, Dipsy and Laa-Laa are in the running

                  1. RAMChYLD

                    Re: Apologies

                    Most likely Dipsy. I vaguely remember that Dipsy has darker face skin color than the rest? Certainly fits nutella's lineage...

              2. David 132 Silver badge
                Thumb Up

                You're definitely not the first to think of that!


        5. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge


          It also used less resources.

          Someone should work out the extra power consumption required for all the unnecessary effects - multyiply that by each and every instance of a Windows Desktop that runs each day thoughout the World, and that's a lot of power/CO2 emissions.

          1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

            Re: Power

            btw, if you turn off Graphics Acceleration, all this annoying effects are also removed - so, it's a catch 22 situation - you lose whichever way. Same as a Casino - overall, the house (of Microsoft) wins

        6. LisaJK

          I still use Open Shell, formerly Classic Shell

          I've been forced to use Windows as far is W10. W2k was peak Windows GUI. W7 was usable, but I was already using utilities to get around the crapiness creep.

          Nowadays, on getting a new PC, one of the first things I install is Open Shell and set it as close as possible to W2k UI.

          The second thing I install is Taskbar Tweaker.

          The third thing I install is Ribbon disabler. Don't get me started on the ribbon. Who the F'K ever thought that's a good idea??? I watch colleagues who've been using it for years, frequently searching for features and clicking the wrong icons.

          The fourth installation is generally Libreoffice, depending on the purpose of the particular PC.

          Why doesn't MS just let us use whatever GUI shell WE want? Why don't they let US control our OWN PCs? Forced updates in W10 are the work of the devil, forcing me to periodically re-disable the ribbon, etc.

          I use Linux for all personal stuff. Personally I think the Linux Mint UI is the cleanest and easiest to use.

    2. chasil

      Themes must live forever.

      Microsoft should be forbidden from ever removing a previous UI that they have introduced for the good of the product.

      Witness the nostalgia of a Windows 7 theme for KDE:

      The reason that Aero was removed was because it was not efficient phones and tablets, so Microsoft resorted to insulting it by calling it "cheesy" as an excuse for Windows 8:

      If every previous Windows UI is "dated and cheesy," then there is no reason to grow attached to the current incarnation.

      If they are all slated to die, then the faster, the better.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Themes must live forever.

        "If every previous Windows UI is "dated and cheesy," then there is no reason to grow attached to the current incarnation."

        And as for anything being dated, whether a UI, art, clothes etc, it's only because someone came up with a different concept and everyone followed the "new way", hence setting the "old way" into a date period and said new designer disparaging the old way and calling it dated in the first place. Don't get me wrong, some designs, fashions, whatever do get improved on, so moving on from isn't always bad, but often it's not improved on. It's just change for the sake of change, especially by fashion designers. It's the business model. The "important" people in the relevant industry tell the rest of the world what is cool and what isn't and most of the world follows along because "ooh, shiny".

        You know what I miss most about GUIs? The way Win95/98 menus could be completely changed and re-ordered to suit what *I* want. Just open the relevant folder and start moving shortcuts around, creating new folders etc so the stuff I use most is where I expect to find it, or just dragging and dropping on the Start Menu itself. The current incarnation, at best, has "recently used" or "frequently used", which changes depending on what used. Which not only is not always what I next want, but the order changes every time I open it.

        I have to use Win10 at work, and it's more like going back to what the Linux haters always complained about; the dreaded command line. It's easier to to type the program name in the search box than to go hunting through the menus!

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: Themes must live forever.

          The official Microsoft design guides used to say never to move icons around automatically, only by active user choice.

          And now they even move the Start menu button while your mouse is hovering over it...

          How the mighty have fallen.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Themes must live forever.

            Rules are meant to be broken…

        2. Roopee Silver badge

          Re: Themes must live forever.

          Perfect explanation of the idiocy called fashion! Thank you.

          Also I totally agree about the return to a pseudo CLI (which I’m not keen on) - what’s the point of a GUI and a design language, however pretty, if you have to type to find things!!

          For you ->

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Themes must live forever.

          Agreed, except for in the statement 'everyone followed the "new way"', replace "everyone" with "Microsoft". The users ("everyone else") had no choice in the matter.

          Long live LibreOffice, which still looks like MS Office 97. No hunting for where MS put things THIS time every year or so!

          1. fromxyzzy

            Re: Themes must live forever.

            Thunderbird has recently had a big interface revamp because they have fallen for this line of thinking. "We're losing marketshare, it must be because it looks old!" Meanwhile the functionality has been on maintenance mode for a decade and the revamp has brought nothing new on that front.

      2. fromxyzzy

        Re: Themes must live forever.

        This article had me thinking, actually: The flat 'look' was introduced in windows 8, about 10 years ago, which was about 11 years after the introduction of the 3D look introduced in XP.

        What new ugly paradigm will they force upon us with Windows 12 next year, because surely flat is dated now?

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Themes must live forever.

          "What new ugly paradigm will they force upon us with Windows 12 next year, because surely flat is dated now?"

          Good point! Yayyyy!!!!. What could be worse than "flat" look and non-obvious clickable links? Am I being too optimistic? I've never had to deal with arty designers, let alone UI designers, no my optimism may be misplaced by ignorance of just how bad a "new look" could be ;-)

          1. David 132 Silver badge

            Re: Themes must live forever.

            To strike out in a bold new direction, the UI in Windows 12 will strobe every few milliseconds between flat-style and Motif-type faux-3D.

            What do you mean, "that doesn't actually please everybody?"

  2. vistisen

    Oh look, a consistant approach to UI, what a novel idea!

  3. HKmk23

    Said many times

    Windows 7 was the last windows that made any sense whatsoever, since then it has just deteriorated into bloatware that thinks every user is mentally retarded.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Said many times

      I think by this point, and I include myself here, if we’re still using windows we ARE mentally retarded.

  4. cookieMonster Silver badge

    insight into what might have been if Microsoft had taken its finger

    out of its arse

  5. VicMortimer Silver badge

    Ugly, flat, and hideous.

    What I'd really like is if Apple had continued with the theme plans from Copland.


    At least the Mac still has a mostly consistent user interface.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      That radically changes every release.

      Why do Apple and Microsoft do that? The cost is astronomical.

      1. drand

        The cost may be astronomical, but then so are the marketing budgets and revenues. Sadly. I don't know why they do it but someone, somewhere will be convinced it makes more money than doing it sensibly.

      2. CountCadaver Silver badge

        Same reason the car industry do - "new" sells

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      It was consistent up until OS 9, then fairly consistent from 10.1 to 10.6, then who knows what the next version is going to bring...

      1. h0bbes

        I think it was consistent until the advent of OS 8. That is when the superfluous eye candy and bloat began to creep in.

  6. mikus

    I only use windoze as a runtime for Visio and Project, or other odd one-off windoze-only tasks, XP that I can with 384mb of ram and 5gb of disk was perfect. Anything after only added spyware, telemetry, and garbage I never wanted or needed.

    If visio/project ran in wine, I never need windows at all, but Microsoft would never let *that* happen.

    1. navarac Silver badge

      Watch out, Visio and Project are for the scrapheap sometime as well.

  7. Omnipresent Bronze badge

    Fast install.

    Being that it took less than three days, and half a dozen passwords to get started, I assume there is no data theft, telemetry, or baked in AI.

  8. karlkarl Silver badge

    It would just be funny to see people say how "modern" it looks. It would be good proof that people's opinions of aesthetics are entirely what Microsoft dictates.

    It would bubble down to something far more important though; we would have a good push to get rid of defective shite like Gnome 3+ and KDE 4+ and go back to something more useful.

  9. Alf Garnett

    I do wish OS developers would leave things alone that work. When I used windows, I hated having to relearn where everything was when I installed the latest version. I use Kubuntu now. Their developers are also guilty of changing things around all the time. It's confusing when I look online for help on how to do something. The instructions in the article tell me how to fix the problem, but when I try to follow them, nothing is where the directions say it is. Android is the worst for this. Instructions for finding something in Android 10 aren't good for Android 11 . ARRRRGH!

    1. MacroRodent


      You might like XFCE. It's UI has stayed the same for the past 10 years or more. Some things are clunky, but at least they are clunky in a consistent way...

    2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      "relearn where everything was"

      I've just given up with the start menu , luckily they have this search feature on it now so you just type what youwant - then pin it .

      and use Win+R for stuff

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some of us still use XP. :-)

    I might finally have to buy a new machine.

    Twitter really did make an eXit of it.

    It started to present a big X with no error messages.

    It took a month before a meaningful error appeared!

    I wonder how many users they disconnected.

  11. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

    I prefer Windows 2000 look over XP look.

    The UI did not really improve after that. A lot of things BELOW the GUI did improve, but that is not visible to the user - literally.

    Though I still miss the "not-full-row-select" logic of Windows Vista explorer drag and drop, where it showed a little black like to indicate that you will copy/move the data exactly there, and not into the subdirectory you forcibly hover over or open a program you forcibly hover over (thank you Windows 7 for making this worse than Vista!).

    But what about the stupid mmc default having the left pane is only 200 pixel wide since Windows 2000? There is some autodetection of a useful size, so it could be 400 pixel wide on higer resolution. Instead the code f's up if running at 4k with 100% OS-zoom, so the right pane is way too big, like some weird overflow... Still the same bad code.

    1. quxinot

      Re: I prefer Windows 2000 look over XP look.

      Screw that.

      How about--come with me here--instead of forcing a set width. Instead of saying THIS IS YOUR NEW MENU. What if, maybe, it was rewritten to provide the option of customizing it? We've got more computing power today than when it came out. So instead of making a giant waste of the screen and shuffling everything on each new OS release, why not simply refine things and provide more customizibility?

      And yes, I realize that most users are absolute morons. So also have a way to lock it via group policy and include a 'reset this because it's borked' switch someplace.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: I prefer Windows 2000 look over XP look.

        it would be nice if you could export all your tweaks in xml or something and apply them all to the next version that comes out.

        ...or the other machine in the other office , or at home ,

        or the same machine rebuilt .

  12. Jason Hindle

    By Service Pack 3, XP was very acceptable

    At the time, I think it only really needed a decent desktop search option (though Google Desktop search could do this - albeit, I suspect, at considerable risk to your privacy). That said, I don't mind 10 and 12 either (I prefer the Mac, obvs), probably because I only use the search part of the start menu.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows 98

    Windows 98 was the last time I remember a fully customizable Windows with full themes. I miss it but I do NOT miss managing drivers.

    1. Handlebars

      Re: Windows 98

      Is that the one where you could have a web page as the wallpaper?

  14. ldo

    “OS” = “GUI”?

    But there is nothing here about OS features, only about the GUI, right?

    As I have said a few times already, this idea that the GUI should be tied inextricably into the OS kernel should have been left behind in the 1990s.

    Tip: when you start talking about “design language“, maybe you should stop thinking of yourself as an OS software engineer.

  15. Sudosu Bronze badge

    Coolest XP install

    A client had brought in a Sony Vaio XP laptop that they wanted restored from the factory disks.

    As I was reinstalling it, I had a very pleasant surprise...well, a couple actually.

    The typical XP grass field background came up, but the grass was waving as if in a breeze which was very cool...but then something even better happened, a remixed instrumental version of New Order's Ruined In A Day started playing while the install completed.

    (non-instrumental version link)

    My favorite system restore ever!

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Coolest XP install

      That might be the Bliss screensaver by Microsoft, you can still download it from

  16. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Micros~1 needs to hire that guy...

    I just skimmed through the video. got the gist, but the gist looked REALLY good.

    Well played! THIS should be the design of "Next WIndows" - i.e. what the CUSTOMERS want, not what THEY want to shove ihto our orifices

    And OPTING OUT of the cloudy .login and tracking and ads, while we're at it.

    1. bazza Silver badge

      Re: Micros~1 needs to hire that guy...

      Was wondering if anyone else would say as such, and I heartily agree!

      There's probably not so much difference in the work needed to create the video, and the work needed to actually create the OS UI. They've practically done it all already, just hire them immediately.

  17. jgarbo


    THE REBORN [?] OF THE LEGEND...Another Indian video job? Or were the original devs reborn, too?

  18. jokerscrowbar

    1% of the 1%

    Made me nostalgic for the last time I used XP. 11pm last night to be exact.

    1. tfewster

      Re: 1% of the 1%

      It brought tears to my eyes. A fast, responsive, intuitive OS that did its job as a platform rather than trying to be a "user experience".

      Good contrast and clear borders between windows - Ah, the good old days.

      All those principles lost in time, like tears in rain... Time to switch off.

  19. Fursty Ferret

    Jesus Christ, that video is 10 minutes of my life I'm not going to get back.

  20. jeffdyer

    Not quite sure what the point of that was?

  21. tiggity Silver badge

    setup time remaining estimate

    I did like the little detail of the way the time remaining estimate on setup changed wildly, Microsoft time estimates on most activities were always to be taken with the proverbial pinch of salt.

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: setup time remaining estimate

      Obligatory XKCD - yes, that one :)

  22. Bebu Silver badge

    More like: "Hand off the joystick?"

    《Microsoft had taken its finger off the reinvent button》

    Novel way of putting it?

    The Windows server 2008R2 GUI wasn't too bad although I only ever had 2008 running to support an obscure single hardware locked license server.

    I have used Classic Shell/Open Shell for the few Windows instances I have ever needed run up which at least keeps thing consistent between W7 and W10 and not too horrid (a hybrid of NT4 and W7.)

    Having waded through a Windows Internals book ages ago I would say the old joke beauty is only skin deep but uglyness goes all the way through is particularly applicable to Windows. :)

  23. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Windows updates have been very helpful

    We started creating multiple applications in the Windows environment to help users access clinical and biometric 3D data collection data (C3D files) before XP appeared, but then started to see the issues appearing after XP first appeared (XP worked great initially) as Microsoft started to update their internal function support. This resulted in completely eliminating any access to the internal Windows functionality (dll's) and making all our applications functional regardless of any Windows updates.

    As a result, our applications written for XP are still completely functional with no problems all the way through to Windows 11 these days, with only a few of our minor internal bugs needing to be fixed ever since. The Windows update problems were effectively very helpful, making us completely avoid them. And security is not an issue because I watched hacking in the early days too and insisted that our applications have absolutely no internet access functionality, resulting in easy sales to the military too.

  24. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

    You can't just handwave away the architectural changes

    I know various Windows interfaces get a lot of stick, but the issue with Vista was not specifically the interface, it was the driver model change, the move towards x64, and an improved security model (also, manufacturers twisting Microsoft's arm to certify hardware that couldn't run the OS properly).

    All of which you'd need to do regardless of the interface. Windows 8 had the interface issues, because they tried to force a mobile interface on to desktop devices. There's a reason they wanted people to buy touch screen monitors.

    It's arguable whether the UAC was a bit over the top, Windows 7 actually reduced the security. However a noticeable degree of complaints were due to the hideous security design of pre Vista software. Developers had to be dragged kicking and screaming into a world where the average application required administrator privilege.

    Things such as large memory support, high resolution displays, advanced gaming APIs are now absolutely standard in Windows and for the most part Just Work. Whereas Linux is only now starting to address (badly) shortcomings in Wayland, Windows has had a modern compositor for years.

    1. theOtherJT Silver badge

      Re: You can't just handwave away the architectural changes

      I don't think anyone was trying to. Under the hood windows has improved by leaps and bounds over the last 25 years.

      The thing that pisses us all off is that for every improvement to the core kernel we seem to get saddled with some insane userspace GUI changes that make the objectively better new thing harder to use than the older, less good one.

      Its like they went "here's your new car. It gets 80mpg and has 600 horse power. By the way, we put the windscreen wiper controls in the glove box, and you have to scroll 9 items deep in the stereo sub menus to adjust the volume. Also you're not allowed reverse gear now unless you pay another $20 a month."

  25. myhandler

    My computer went tits up this week, weird errors and blue screens and then it lost the SSD, all in less than an hour.

    I needed to get to the Macrium Reflect backup on my other HD but no SSD meant no Windows, so I had to reinstall from disk while realising the SSD was toast.

    At least got the new install onto the SSD but I couldn't believe the flat screen monstrosity of W10 I was seeing, slidey this and that and big buttons everywhere. WTAF.

    I must have made so many tweaks I have something that looks like W7 - classic shell of course - but then who knows what else I've switched off.

    Realising something was still a bit iffy I opened the case and decided to wiggle all the wires and hey presto everything was working perfectly.

    The Macrium Reflect back up worked and I only lost three days of email. I don't even need the spare SSD that's arrived.

    I wish could get on with Linux.

  26. Hairy Spod

    Wobbly windows

    Never mind that, what if Ubuntu still had nice default wobbly windows and fades? I miss the easy desktop ricing from ubuntu 10

    1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

      Re: Wobbly windows

      Yeah. Blame Gnome for that. Mate had Compiz - mad features, many nice tweaks, but ever-so-slightly flaky.

      Then Gnome went to 3 then 4, the Gnome folks didn't want to play nice with 3rd party compositors, and so Compiz has now rotted to unusablility. It still has the best Alt-Tab handler.

      It's demise has made me sad.

    2. ldo

      Re: Wobbly windows

      I still have wobbly windows on KDE Plasma. They never went away.

  27. Monochrome

    It wouldn't be a Microsoft account...

    to be period accurate it would be a .NET Passport account. Anyone remember those?

    1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

      Re: It wouldn't be a Microsoft account...

      My Microsoft account is - don't throw that newish .NET passport stuff at me! I like the powershell is practically a .NET shell though. (You can call C / C++ system functions inline too if you need to)

  28. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    To this writer, Windows 11 looks okay

    It doesent to me , I keep not being able to tell where the edges of a window are due to some white-against-white situation. XP had proper edges on its windows!

    1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

      Fix for "invisible annoying too thin anyway border width":

      HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics

      REG_SZ BorderWidth = -45

      REG_SZ PaddedBorderWidth = -90

      logoff-logon after that.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        hey thanks!

        1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

          Thanks for your thanks! IT is not used to positive feedback...

  29. johnfbw

    Windows XP 2024 Pro also supports integrated OneDrive, so now you can

    easily accidentally store your sensitive data on a US server held my a company that *promises* it won't look, rather than storing on your hard disk

  30. Fignuts

    The modern definition of "Innovate" and "Improve" are different than they used to be

    It sure seems nowadays when I hear Microsoft use the words Innovate or Improve, the first thing I think is "Let's have a look-see what they have made better for Microsoft, and worse for the rest of us." This makes me somewhat nostalgic for the "bad old days!"

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: The modern definition of "Innovate" and "Improve" are different than they used to be

      With no apologies at all to Hans Johst (no, not Herman Goering, contrary to popular belief)...

      "When I hear the word culture'innovation', I reach for my pistol"

  31. frankyunderwood123

    Like Apple did, in other words?

    Love or loathe it, macOS has remained familiar since 2001 - and indeed, some parts since inception. (The top context sensitive menu bar)

    The dock has been in place for 23 years. The context sensitive menu bar since 1984, 40 years.

    Apple clearly realised that extreme and sudden changes to the GUI of an operating system is not a good idea, but gradual incremental changes are.

    Microsoft were very much on the same journey, until Windows 8.

  32. h0bbes

    An Ideal Evolution

    This proof of concept shows what I think would have been a gradual evolution of the Windows UI. It combines some of the good bits of the XP interface with the Aero effects from Windows Vista and the minimalist icons and widgets from Windows 11. Personally, I prefer the legacy Windows 2000 interface (and the Mac OS UI from versions prior to System 8) < insert long nostalgic sigh here >. But I would be totally content with the XP 2024 UI. It is more intuitive and consistent. This, compared to the daily reminders of how downright crappy and kludgy the actual Windows UI has become in its latest iteration.

  33. xyz123 Silver badge

    All Microsoft needs to do is make the shell for windows 12 FULLY re-skinnable/replaceable.

    THOUSANDS of people will create everything from tentacled Hentai Start buttons to very cool actually useable interfaces FOR FREE.

    Look how Doom still gets mods, minecraft is going strong and Skyrim continues to get updates!

    1. CountCadaver Silver badge

      Heck la noir still gets updates and it's older than skyrim

  34. xyz123 Silver badge

    Let us re-skin ALL of windows 12. thousands of people will do it for free! like skyrim, minecraft, doom etc and those are STILL popular as hell.

    Win12 would then destroy windows 10 and 11s userbase as people switched over both for awesome new interfaces AND accessibility!

  35. anthonyhegedus Silver badge


    Maybe people hanker after the design, but the OS itself was flaky and nowhere near as fully featured as win11. Compare the number of viruses and malware items xp had compared to windows today.

    I agree win11 is shamelessly plugging stuff the whole time and steering the hapless user towards more Microsoft products and services. But deep down it’s a better OS than XP for modern use.

    Don’t get me wrong, windows has always been shit and Microsoft software has always been largely flaky.

    Every single one of their OSes was a sham.

  36. ecofeco Silver badge

    XP was garbage

    XP when I got my first large scale corporate support job. I'd been fixing PCs for years before as far back as DOS 3 and worked my way up to NT 4 as a small scale server admin. But it wasn't until XP that I was working for really large deployments. i.e. thousands instead of a few hundred.

    XP was a bloody nightmare. Unstable, slow, and unpredictable. XP was where I learned to hate MS.

    The love for XP is insanity. Win 7 was also garbage until SP 2 made it tolerable. How have people forgotten about the BSOD?

    MS has never made a good OS, but at least I've hardly ever seen a BSOD in years. Still hate MS though. An OS that constantly gets in its own way.

  37. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

    I know I'd be happier

    My daughter has Windows 11 and occasionally asks me for support. What a mess that is. It's a lot easier dealing with XP or 7. Even 10, which I'm forced to use at work, is easier to mess with than 11.

  38. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Rounded Corners

    Now I have the problem of trying to resize a window by placing the mouse pointer at an approximate point on the screen that corresponds to the true right angle corner of the window. I guess Microsoft got rid of all their Usability Test team

  39. Tridac

    Still have XP on a couple of old laptops, mainly used things like network monitoring, or apps for old stuff like eprom programmers. Windows 7 is quite usable, but have been using windows server for desktop here for years. Starting with server 2003, (aka XP), currently on ws2012, (~windows 8) with the "classic shell" plugin added, for customisation. Far better system management tools and just about everything is disabled as a default. Even has an nfs client / server included which is essential in a unix shop. Very reliable, uptimes of months if need be, and no ms nanny state...

  40. Anonymous Coward

    Is this fixed in 2024?

    "Filename cannot exceed 255 characters"

    1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

      Re: Is this fixed in 2024?

      > "Filename cannot exceed 255 characters"

      Nope, not fixed. This is the Limit:

      New-Item -ItemType File -Path "\\?\C:\tmp\1234567890ABCDEF1234567890ABCDEF1234567890ABCDEF1234567890ABCDEF1234567890ABCDEF1234567890ABCDEF1234567890ABCDEF1234567890ABCDEF1234567890ABCDEF1234567890ABCDEF1234567890ABCDEF1234567890ABCDEF1234567890ABCDEF1234567890ABCDEF1234567890ABCDEF1234567890ABCDE"

      EDIT: The path can be Unicode, i.e. 255 Chinese/Japanese/Russian/Arabian/Korean etc characters. For example using the japanese unicode character for questionmark:

      New-Item -ItemType File -Path "\\?\C:\tmp\?????????????????????????????? ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????"

      The same limit as Btrfs, ext2, ext3, ext4, XFS, ZFS, exFAT, UDF etc etc etc. Only a few selected can have longer names, like Reiser with ~4000 or Nasumi UniFS, but the applications to use them are rare.

      But the whole NTFS path can be 32767 characters since 2016 with Win10 1607 / Server 2016.

      But tell me, do you have an actual use case for more than 255 characters? I only stumbled upon those with large pictures where a lot of characters from famous games or anime were drawn, and someone insisted on naming them all on the file name. That is the only time someone used such a long > 300 characters file name. And the guy only did it for "Riser can do what Windows cannot do" reasons, ignoring literally ALL other linux filesystems and applications which cannot handle it.

      1. Handy Plough

        Re: Is this fixed in 2024?

        > But tell me, do you have an actual use case for more than 255 characters?

        Bless. You've clearly never worked with architects or engineers. Every file in it's own folder, long descriptive file names. Whether or not it's a valid use case is moot - they will have spent weeks and months designing the folder hierarchy - without consulting IT - and expect it to work to their will.

        1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

          Re: Is this fixed in 2024?

          > Bless. You've clearly never worked with architects or engineers. Every file in it's own folder, long descriptive file names.

          Well, the complete path can me 32700-somthing characters, each subdirectory can have 250 (or 253?) unicode characters, and each file 255 characters. So your architect is no issue. And I can handle those things.

          The problem arises when "they" create a folder structure, and then rename the base from "Project 1" to "Customer Name, City, Street, Country, Project Name, Project Responsibility, Planner Name" and then complain it does not work any more. Maybe that's what happens with your example? I've seen that quite often. If yes: The application is at fault not being able to handle long paths.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows......Why Is There Any Discussion At All?

    Date 1998: Windows 98 was the final straw for me -- I started out on a Linux life with RH5.....never looked back!

    Date 2008: Julie Larson-Green and her crusade for "the ribbon" was a serious contributory factor driving EVERYONE away from M$.....

    Date 2013: My wife needed Windows until now -- but Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 (...thank you Steve Sinofsky) was the last straw. (again!!).......

    Date Today: All is pretty good in the Fedora 39 world. It's mostly a Linux world here, but WINE is running Visual FoxPro 6 perfectly (Yup...I paid for the licence)

    So......why the discussion about ANY FLAVOUR AT ALL of Windows? Fedora 39 can do it all!

  42. CatWithChainsaw

    Innovation Now

    Boils down to moving icons around, shoving the Tech Buzzword Of the Day into everything, and changing how the layout looks.

    Innovation needs to be re-innovated and I propose burning sales and marketing departments to the ground. As a start.

  43. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge


    The Copilot key is another example of Microsoft only using Windows releases to further its own gains and barely cares what the user wants (like improvements to the schizophrenic User Interface, for example).

  44. Plest Silver badge

    XP background

    As a semi-pro photographer I wished I was the one who shot that famous background XP image. I seem to recall the snapper in question saying, "I can't tell you how much I got paid but safe to say that I won't ever have to worry so much about finding work for the rest of my life, all from that one shot."

  45. HammerOn1024

    I miss

    The ability to have object information associated with a single object, like folders and file explorer windows having different settings.

    This joint crap is so infuriating... file trees required to be showing in folders of program shortcuts is a big one. Having folders full of pictures or video's being set to "Medium Sized thumbnail" vs. "Details" for general directories.

    I truly miss the customization available!

    To date there is one, and only one, item I like about the start bar after XP: The ability to group like icons.

    The Control panel on XP was far superior than the POS we have now. And pick any "Settings" screen today vs. XP... I'd like 10 minutes with the development team... just me, them, and my Louisville Slugger.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like