5 Traces of Windows XP Inside Windows 10 Revealed

Joe Keeley 04-11-2015

Windows 10 is an evolution of earlier operating systems and you can find traces of Windows past if you look close enough. As such, we’ve rounded up some of the remnants from Windows XP that still exist in Microsoft’s newest operating system 14 years on.


While big features like the Start Menu have undergone drastic changes A Guide to the Windows 10 Start Menu Windows 10 fixes the Start Menu dilemma! Getting to grips with the new Start Menu will supercharge your Windows 10 experience. With this handy guide, you'll be an expert in no time. Read More , you can still find pictures of CRT monitors, pixel icons, and retro dialog boxes in certain places.

If you’ve found your own examples of Windows XP still living on in Windows 10, be sure to let us all know in the comments section below.

Screen Saver Settings

Screensavers might now be outdated Should You Turn Your Screensaver Off? History & Modern Use of a Bug Fix Once an important feature to help prevent screen burn, screensavers are mostly used now to look pretty. How did they come to be and are they still worth using today? Read More , but you can still set one. The trouble is, Microsoft hasn’t made it particularly obvious on how to do so. Previous versions of Windows let you get to it through right-clicking the desktop and the Personalization control panel, but not any more. On Windows 10, it’s buried as a link on the lock screen options. However, the quickest access is to do a system search for change screen saver and choose the relevant result.

screen saver settings

The selection of screensavers is limited, but it has remained the same since Windows 7 and you can still download retro screensavers online if that takes your fancy. So far, Microsoft hasn’t changed anything about the Screen Saver Settings window. To that extent, the image that’s used to represent your monitor is nearly the same as the one used in Windows XP – back then it had a monitor stand on the bottom too. It’s very unlikely that many people are using Windows 10 on a CRT monitor!


Disk Quotas

Setting a disk quota is a function that allows system admins to limit the amount of disk space that can be occupied by users. More often used in a business environment than at home, this is a handy setting to stop users filling a drive to its maximum and being warned when that limit is soon to be reached.

quota settings

To access the quota settings, first view your drives under This PC. Then right-click the drive you want to set a quota for and click Properties. You’ll notice that many of the tabs here have modern icons – bear that in mind. Now select the Quota tab and click Show Quota Settings. You’ll be presented with the Quota Settings window, with a lovely retro traffic light icon to go with it.

Uninstall Conflict

Although the Control Panel may have changed over the years Unlock Windows Potential: Control Panel Demystified If you want to be the master of your Windows experience, the Control Panel is where it's at. We untangle the complexity of this power tool. Read More , and now with the Settings app The Windows 10 Settings Guide: How to Do Anything and Everything Do you know your way around the Settings app in Windows 10? Here's everything you need to know. Read More becoming the more prominent section, there’s still a hint of Windows XP when you’re uninstalling programs. This one is subtle and you might never come across it, but it’s another example of retro iconography being used in Windows 10. The icon of the computer, box and disc was previously used to represent the “Change or Remove Programs” feature.


uninstall conflict

Where you’ll see it now is in the error message above, displayed when you try and uninstall two things at once How To Install & Uninstall Windows Programs In Bulk A mass installer or uninstaller can save you heaps of time. Remember the last time you set up a new computer? We are going to teach you how to do these tasks in a flash. Read More . To see it yourself, do a system search for change or remove a program and select the relevant result. Then, click a program on the list and press Uninstall. Then, with that uninstaller running, go back to the list and do the same thing. Result: the error, complete with a Windows XP style icon.

Google Chrome Passwords

To see this one, you’ll need to have Google Chrome and a password on your Windows user account 5 Tips for Managing Windows User Accounts Like a Pro Windows user accounts have evolved from isolated local accounts to online accounts with various privacy challenges. We help you sort out your accounts and find the settings that work for you. Read More . Launch Chrome, then input chrome://settings/passwords in the URL bar. This will take you to the area of Chrome where all the passwords you’ve asked the browser to store are kept. Underneath Saved passwords, click Show next to one of your passwords.

chrome show passwords


This dialog box will open, asking for your Windows password. As you can see, the header image it’s using is straight out of Windows XP. The reason for this is because Chrome is calling on an older Windows API for this action. Although a newer API exists with more modern imagery, Google is probably using the Windows XP API in order to better support older systems.

Windows Journal

Do a system search for journal and you’ll come across Windows Journal, an application you might not even have known existed. This tool first came to life in Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, a touch-orientated version of the operating sytem which didn’t sell particularly well, allowing users to create and organize their handwritten notes.

windows journal

You can only save in proprietary file formats OggConvert: Easily Convert Proprietary Formats Like MP3 Into Free Formats Like OGG [Linux] Sadly enough, the famous MP3 format for music is a proprietary product, and all devices which can play them have (or at least should have) a license to legally play them. In order to make... Read More and OneNote has basically superseded Journal for note taking, but it’s interesting that this application is still included in Windows 10. In fact, apart from some minor iconography changes that came about in Windows Vista, the program still operates exactly as it did back on Windows XP.


Back to the Past

While it might be odd to see relics from an older operating system appear in Windows 10, it’s still quite fun to get little blasts from the pasts. However, some might argue that it’s poor form from Microsoft to not overhaul everything to bring it up to the modern era.

With Windows 10 being an operating system that is set to constantly evolve, we could find that these traces from Windows XP end up getting removed or changed down the line. But for now they remain, reminding of us of an earlier — and bluer! — time. The Latest Windows 10 Version Won't Be the Last One What is the latest Windows 10 version? How long is it supported? And why did Microsoft switch to a service model? Answers within! Read More

Have you noticed any of these before? Have you come across any other remnants from Windows XP within Windows 10?

Related topics: Windows 10, Windows XP.

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  1. Vincent Yue
    April 8, 2019 at 2:09 pm

    Chrome one doesn't work anymore. I have Chrome 73.0

  2. Anonymous
    November 10, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    Heck it still has DOS key commands that I still use today.


    Ctrl+Insert = copies highlight content (text or pictures) from document,email, etc.
    Ctrl+Del = cuts highlight content (text or pictures) from document, email, etc.
    Shift+Insert = past content (text or pictures) in document, email etc.
    Alt+Backspace = Undo last action.

  3. Anonymous
    November 9, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    I'm more interested in the "legacy" Windows 3.1x code that still remains in Windows 7's "MinWin" the 16-bit coded dialog boxes that were apparent when running a stripped-down "server" environment.

  4. Anonymous
    November 6, 2015 at 10:04 am

    It´s a shame Windows 7 and others changed XP file explorer. To keep it would have been the best XP trace...and the best Microsoft's favor could have left for us.

    • AsianDriver
      December 21, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      Exactly. Classic Shell does an ok job of trying to emulate but the XP Explorer was by far the best. Having a 2 row task bar and quick launch bar was nice too.

  5. Ben Stegner
    November 5, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    Good list, Joe! Many professors at my college use Windows Journal on 7 and above - why, I have no idea. I think it's pretty awful, especially with OneNote as an alternative. One professor sent us graded assignments back last semester in Journal and they always crashed upon opening them.

    • Joe Keeley
      November 5, 2015 at 7:21 pm

      Cheers, Ben! I'm surprised to hear your professors use Windows Journal. I've actually never come across anyone who uses it. I wonder if they all started using it yonks ago and it's just stuck.

  6. Anonymous
    November 5, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    The printer test page. Its straight outta xp.... even includes the windows xp logo :p

    • Mason
      November 30, 2018 at 8:34 pm

      Yeah, I've always got a kick outta that one.

  7. Anonymous
    November 5, 2015 at 2:41 am

    Try changing your folder icons, the selection is straight out of Windows 95.

    • Joe Keeley
      November 5, 2015 at 7:20 pm

      That's an excellent one, Luide. That icon selection is full of ancient stuff!

  8. Anonymous
    November 4, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    Several of the Accessories that ship with Windows have remained change since XP.