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Windows XP is insecure. If you have a Windows XP user in your life, you may want to try migrating them to Linux so they can use a free, secure operating system still getting security updates. Lubuntu is a lightweight version of Ubuntu for those old computers.
A Windows XP theme for Lubuntu may be the ideal way to ease a Windows XP user into Linux. If they primarily use a browser like Firefox or Google Chrome on Windows XP, they may not even notice much of a difference! Firefox comes with Lubuntu, and Chrome can easily be installed on it.
Download and Install the Theme
First you’ll need to download and install Lubuntu on a computer. If you just want to try this theme out, you can always just boot to the Lubuntu live system and try the theme there, or install Lubuntu in a virtual machine to test it out. We performed this process on Lubuntu 14.04.
Next, head to the Lubuntu XP three flavors theme download page. Click the download button and download the zip file to your Lubuntu system.
Click the File Manager icon on the taskbar and double-click the Downloads folder to locate your downloaded zip file. Right-click the zip file and select “Extract Here” to get the files.
The xp2start.png and xpstart.png files are Start button images, while the xpbg.jpg file is the standard Windows XP background wallpaper. These images can go anywhere you want. For example, you might want to place them into your Pictures folder. You can do this just like you can on Windows — select the three image files, right-click them, select Cut, click “Home Folder” in the sidebar, double-click the Pictures folder, right-click inside it, and select Paste.
Go back to your Downloads folder. You’ll now just have three theme folders — XP Blue, XP Olive, and XP Silver. Select them, right-click them, and select Cut.
Click “Home Folder” in the sidebar, right-click inside your home folder, and select “Show Hidden”. You’ll now see hidden files and folders, which start with a period.
If you see a .themes folder, double-click it. If you don’t see a .themes folder, right-click inside the main pane, click Create New > Folder, and name it .themes. Double-click the .themes folder, right-click inside it, and paste the three theme folders into it.
Be sure to right-click inside the main pane and uncheck “Show Hidden” afterwards. Users don’t normally need to see these files, and the hidden files could confuse someone who just switched from Windows XP!
Enable the Theme
The theme is now installed, but not yet enabled. Click the Lubuntu menu button on the bottom panel, point to Preferences, and select Customize Look and Feel. You’ll see the three Windows XP widget themes at the bottom of this panel — click them to preview how they’ll look and select your preferred one.
Click over to the Window Border tab, select the matching window border for your Windows XP theme, and click Apply.
Next, set the desktop background. Right-click Lubuntu’s desktop background and select Desktop Preferences. Click the Wallpaper button and browse to the xpbg.jpg file we extracted earlier — it’s in your Pictures folder unless you put it somewhere else.
Now you just have to swap Ubuntu’s default menu button image for an XP-style Start button image. Right-click the Lubuntu menu button on the bottom panel and select Menu Settings. Click the Browse button, browse to the image files you extracted earlier, and select the xpstart.png or xp2start.png images. The xpstart.png is more classic, while the xp2start.png file is a bit more glossy. Feel free to try each and choose your preferred one.
These buttons do have a penguin on them — the goal is to make Lubuntu look familiar, not to make it completely indistinguishable from Windows XP!
Your Lubuntu system will now look a lot like Windows XP. You can customize the bottom panel by right-clicking it and adjusting items. You can also click the menu button — now the Start button — and use the settings there to adjust the way the desktop looks and behaves in many other ways.
Each user on the Lubuntu system has their own theme and desktop settings. If you want to set up multiple user accounts on the computer, you’ll need to adjust the theme for each of them.
Will An XP Theme Work For Your Friends?
Consider the friends of yours who use Windows XP and answer the following question. Would using an XP-like theme on Lubuntu help them to move to Linux?
Image Credit: jacinta lluch valero on Flickr