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 PostPost subject: "Windows XP Freestyle" inside Windows XP classic start menu        Posted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 10:33 pm 
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I don't know if this has been discovered before, but I find it quite amusing, so I'm posting the story

So, a few weeks ago, I found a video on YouTube showing what happens if you take the explorer.exe from XP and run it on newer versions, so naturally, I wanted to try it on my own.

The way you do this is simple: take the explorer.exe file from an XP installation, copy it to the target OS; set compatibility mode to Windows XP SP2/SP3; open up task manager; kill the running explorer process, and finally run the XP explorer.exe using task manager's run feature.

The most "stable" OS to do this on is Vista, I assume because it's taskbar and start menu are more similar to XP compared to 7 and newer. Everything apart from the standard start menu being broken and trying to shut down causing the process to crash (both of which also happen on newer versions) seems to work. In fact, one thing that only works on Vista is the classic start menu (again, I assume it's because that feature was dropped on 7 and newer)

And indeed, the classic start menu held a little surprise:
Image

"Freestyle" is the codename for Windows XP Media Center Edition (original 2002 release), however, according to an image I found online (I'm too lazy to install XP MCE on VMware rn), the classic start menu on that OS doesn't show that text:
Image

Can anyone confirm if this was known or not? And if not, what do you think is causing that text to show up?
Additional info: I took the explorer.exe file from an Italian XP Tablet PC Edition SP3 installation (w/ all POSReady 2009 updates installed), and run it on an Italian Vista 2002 SP2 installation with no updates installed (in fact, I had to set the compatibility mode to XP SP2 because SP3 isn't even listed)


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 PostPost subject: Re: "Windows XP Freestyle" inside Windows XP classic start m        Posted: Mon Dec 23, 2019 4:13 am 
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If you try beta versions of the original WinXP MCE with the classic start menu you might get freestyle in the blue-black gradient bar. Whistler in Beta 1 had the text “Windows Whistler” or “Windows Codename Whistler” or something like that in the classic start menu bar iirc. I don’t remember.

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 PostPost subject: Re: "Windows XP Freestyle" inside Windows XP classic start m        Posted: Mon Dec 23, 2019 4:31 am 
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Windows XP's explorer on Windows 10 looks alright. At least we have an empty start menu. Looks fragile, crashes randomly and there is NO DESKTOP!

Image

Windows 10 style File Explorer still works fine (quite unexpected).

Image

Changing Start Menu settings does almost nothing...

Image


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 PostPost subject: Re: "Windows XP Freestyle" inside Windows XP classic start m        Posted: Mon Dec 23, 2019 1:13 pm 
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The "Media Center Edition" band was stored in winbrand.dll, rather than explorer.exe. Server 2003 never got updated with the "Media Center Edition" final branding, it kept the "Freestyle" beta branding. My guess is that the compatibility layer for XP actually uses 2003 resources for historical reasons.

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 PostPost subject: Re: "Windows XP Freestyle" inside Windows XP classic start m        Posted: Mon Dec 23, 2019 2:33 pm 
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ComputerHunter wrote:
Windows XP's explorer on Windows 10 looks alright. At least we have an empty start menu. Looks fragile, crashes randomly and there is NO DESKTOP!

Image

Windows 10 style File Explorer still works fine (quite unexpected).

Image

Changing Start Menu settings does almost nothing...

Image

How did you get the start menu working? All I can get is a buggy, completely empty menu
Image
(The pixels on the top are my name censored)

UPDATE: I managed to get it to work by setting the classic theme (again, done on Vista)
Image
I have to say, seeing the Vista-style icons in the XP start menu is really weird!

DVINTHEHOUSEMAN wrote:
If you try beta versions of the original WinXP MCE with the classic start menu you might get freestyle in the blue-black gradient bar. Whistler in Beta 1 had the text “Windows Whistler” or “Windows Codename Whistler” or something like that in the classic start menu bar iirc. I don’t remember.

The thing is, getting "Freestyle" from XP's explorer means they never removed the string, and there's something on Vista that triggers it


Last edited by Zacchi4k on Mon Dec 23, 2019 10:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 PostPost subject: Re: "Windows XP Freestyle" inside Windows XP classic start m        Posted: Mon Dec 23, 2019 3:39 pm 
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Fun fact: You can install Media Center (then Freestyle) in Windows Longhorn build 3683! It changes the boot screen to say "Windows XP Freestyle".


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 PostPost subject: Re: "Windows XP Freestyle" inside Windows XP classic start m        Posted: Tue Dec 24, 2019 1:23 am 
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Zacchi4k wrote:
How did you get the start menu working? All I can get is a buggy, completely empty menu


Port UxTheme (UxTheme.dll) over to Windows 10. If you want to actually use Windows XP's explorer, you need to port the whole shell over which requires a lot of work.


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 PostPost subject: Re: "Windows XP Freestyle" inside Windows XP classic start m        Posted: Tue Dec 24, 2019 12:06 pm 
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Zacchi4k wrote:


UPDATE: I managed to get it to work by setting the classic theme (again, done on Vista)
Image
I have to say, seeing the Vista-style icons in the XP start menu is really weird!

Reminds me of that XP mod (don't exactly remember the name, had Max in it's name) where almost every icon was replaced with Longhorn/Vista ones. :P

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 PostPost subject: Re: "Windows XP Freestyle" inside Windows XP classic start m        Posted: Tue Dec 24, 2019 2:28 pm 
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ChanceCossitt wrote:
Fun fact: You can install Media Center (then Freestyle) in Windows Longhorn build 3683! It changes the boot screen to say "Windows XP Freestyle".


I remember seeing the Freestyle boot screen in build 3706 as well, as I used to have a virtual machine on an old notebook of mine running Windows Longhorn build 3706 with Windows Media Center. Actually, said VM should still be around...

Win7


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 PostPost subject: Re: "Windows XP Freestyle" inside Windows XP classic start m        Posted: Wed Dec 25, 2019 1:26 pm 
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Zacchi4k wrote:
How did you get the start menu working? All I can get is a buggy, completely empty menu
Image
(The pixels on the top are my name censored)[/url]

Reminds me of Enderman's "Running incompatible programs in Windows" video! :P

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 PostPost subject: Re: "Windows XP Freestyle" inside Windows XP classic start m        Posted: Wed Dec 25, 2019 1:36 pm 
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YueLing11 wrote:
Zacchi4k wrote:
How did you get the start menu working? All I can get is a buggy, completely empty menu
Image
(The pixels on the top are my name censored)[/url]

Reminds me of Enderman's "Running incompatible programs in Windows" video! :P

Well yes, that's where I first saw this being tried on. In fact, it's even linked in the main post.


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 PostPost subject: Re: "Windows XP Freestyle" inside Windows XP classic start m        Posted: Sat Dec 28, 2019 3:47 pm 
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In short: Vista uses 2003 resources because Vista was actually from the beginning, based on Server 2003 and NOT XP. Even when it was Longhorn, it was still using 2003 (.NET Server) resources as the codebase was based on Server 2003. Hence part of the reason why Vista has the freestyle branding at all.


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 PostPost subject: Re: "Windows XP Freestyle" inside Windows XP classic start m        Posted: Sun Dec 29, 2019 12:31 am 
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ComputerHunter wrote:
Zacchi4k wrote:
How did you get the start menu working? All I can get is a buggy, completely empty menu


Port UxTheme (UxTheme.dll) over to Windows 10. If you want to actually use Windows XP's explorer, you need to port the whole shell over which requires a lot of work.

That doesn't sound like it would be very stable. Isn't UxTheme.dll still present in later versions of the OS?


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 PostPost subject: Re: "Windows XP Freestyle" inside Windows XP classic start m        Posted: Wed Jan 01, 2020 1:25 am 
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Yeah but it is for later Windows. Windows XP's explorer works the best with its own body parts and it doesn't really want to be grafted onto something 14 years younger.

You can port more or all its dependencies if you want but porting UxTheme is good enough to get a semi-working start menu.


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 PostPost subject: Re: "Windows XP Freestyle" inside Windows XP classic start m        Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:41 pm 
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Amaroq-Starwind wrote:
ComputerHunter wrote:
Zacchi4k wrote:
How did you get the start menu working? All I can get is a buggy, completely empty menu


Port UxTheme (UxTheme.dll) over to Windows 10. If you want to actually use Windows XP's explorer, you need to port the whole shell over which requires a lot of work.

That doesn't sound like it would be very stable. Isn't UxTheme.dll still present in later versions of the OS?

He means replace Windows 10 UxTheme.dll with XP one. If you try Windows XP's explorer.exe on Windows 10 within XP's UxTheme.dll, the Start menu will display correctly.

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 PostPost subject: Re: "Windows XP Freestyle" inside Windows XP classic start m        Posted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 11:47 am 
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You will probably trash your Windows 10 if you replace it. Port != replace...


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 PostPost subject: Re: "Windows XP Freestyle" inside Windows XP classic start m        Posted: Mon Jan 27, 2020 8:49 am 
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ComputerHunter wrote:
You will probably trash your Windows 10 if you replace it. Port != replace...

How did you port UxTheme.dll?

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 PostPost subject: Re: "Windows XP Freestyle" inside Windows XP classic start m        Posted: Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:05 am 
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How do you normally port DLLs? I hope you don't just replace them...


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 PostPost subject: Re: "Windows XP Freestyle" inside Windows XP classic start m        Posted: Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:14 am 
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ComputerHunter wrote:
How do you normally port DLLs? I hope you don't just replace them...

Enderman tried Windows XP's explorer.exe on Windows 10 and the Start menu doesn't display correctly. How did you make the Start menu display correctly if Windows 10 doesn't have a Classic theme?
ComputerHunter wrote:
Windows XP's explorer on Windows 10 looks alright. At least we have an empty start menu. Looks fragile, crashes randomly and there is NO DESKTOP!

Image

Windows 10 style File Explorer still works fine (quite unexpected).

Image

Changing Start Menu settings does almost nothing...

Image

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 PostPost subject: Re: "Windows XP Freestyle" inside Windows XP classic start m        Posted: Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:18 am 
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You port UxTheme.dll to Windows 10! You don't replace it! Can't you understand? If you still have problems, lets PM each other.


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 PostPost subject: Re: "Windows XP Freestyle" inside Windows XP classic start m        Posted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:30 am 
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YueLing11 wrote:
How did you make the Start menu display correctly if Windows 10 doesn't have a Classic theme?

Windows 10 still does have the Classic theme (which is not really a theme, but rather the absence of a theme). What Windows 8 removed was the ability to globally disable theming, roughly said.

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 PostPost subject: Re: "Windows XP Freestyle" inside Windows XP classic start m        Posted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 5:35 am 
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Huh, that is interesting.

Has anyone tried the opposite, running the XP explorer.exe on Windows 2000? I don't think it'd work, but I might try it just because.

Also - you can enable the Classic theme without breaking much on Windows 8 by killing DWM after login - the ClassicTheme.exe program does this. I really wonder why Microsoft killed off the classic theme.

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