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Decrapping Windows Vista

If you thought default XP was dumb, you're in for a world of hurt in Vista. Let's see what we can do.

All steps in this guide are optional and make Vista act like 2k/XP as much as possible. Pick and choose the changes that suit you.

In case you were wondering, Tiny Personal Firewall 2 does not work on Vista.

Welcome Center


  • Uncheck "Run at startup" at the bottom
  • Close
  • Right click sidebar, close
  • Right click the sidebar icon in system tray (which should have a "help" bubble now), Exit
  • In dialog, uncheck "Start sidebar when Windows starts"; "Exit sidebar"

Explorer & Control panel

  • Start | Control panel
  • "Classic view" on left
  • Press Alt to bring up the ever-elusive menu bar
  • View | Details
  • View | Status bar
  • Tools | Folder options
    • "Use Windows classic folders"
    • View tab
      • "Always show menus" → On (THANK GOD)
      • "Display simple folder view in Navigation pane" → Off
      • "Display the full path in the title bar" → On
      • "Show hidden files and folers" → On
      • "Hide extensions of known file types" → Off
      • "Hide protected operating system files" → Off; Yes to dumb dialog box
      • "Remember each folder's view settings" → Off

Non-stupid user image

Disable UAC

This, like all steps in this document, is optional; you can leave UAC on if you like the added security.

  • Start | Control panel | User Accounts
  • "Turn User Account Control on or off"
  • Uncheck, OK, Reboot

Disable security complaints

  • Start | Control panel | Security Center (or click one of the complaints)
  • "Change the way Security Center alerts me" on the left
  • "Don't notify me and don't display the icon"

Taskbar & start menu

  • Right click taskbar, properties
  • "Taskbar" tab
    • "Group similar taskbar buttons" → Off
  • "Start Menu" tab
    • "Classic Start menu" → On, "Customize"
      • At bottom of "Advanced Start menu options", "Use personalized menus" → Off
  • "Notification Area" tab
    • "Hide inactive icons" → Off
  • OK

System properties

  • Press Win+Pause or right click "My Computer" and choose "Properties"
  • Giant "fake" system properties appears. Click "System protection" on the left to bring up real system properties.
  • "Advanced" tab
    • Performance "Settings"
      • "Adjust for best performance", then enable what you want
        • Disabling "Use visual styles on windows and buttons" gives classic Windows 2000 look
        • Move swap file via "Advanced" dialog if desired
    • Startup and Recovery "Settings"
      • "Automatically restart" → Off
    • Environment variables if needed


  • Right click the desktop, "Personalize"
  • "Window Color and Appearance"
    • "Effects" button
      • Set font smoothing: "ClearType" for LCDs, "Standard" for CRTs
      • "Show window contents while dragging" → On
  • "Desktop background"; whatever
  • "Sound"
    • Find "Start Navigation" and set it to "(None)" to turn off that clicking sound
  • "Mouse", "Pointers" tab, → "3D-Bronze" (or whatever)
  • "Display Settings"; whatever
  • "Easy of Access" (in the lower-left corner)
    • "Make the keyboard easier to use"
    • Scroll down, "Underline keyboard shortcuts and access keys" → On

Recycle bin

  • Right click the recycle bin, "Properties"
  • "Do not move files to the Recycle Bin" → On

Internet Explorer

  • Tools button| Menu Bar
  • Tools | Internet Options
  • Homepage → Anything but MSN (google?)

Auto login

  1. Start | Run | "control userpasswords2".
  2. "Users must enter a username and password to use this computer" → Off.
  3. OK
  4. Enter the user name and password you wish to automatically log on with, and then click OK.
  5. Click OK again and you're all done.



  • Control Panel (classic) | Administrative Tools | Services
  • Stop and change startup type to "Disabled" or "Stopped" for the following services:
    • "Themes" - turns off any remaining pretty nonsense.

Error reporting

  • Control Panel (classic) | Problem Reports and Solutions
  • "Change Settings" on left
  • "Advanced settings"
  • Click the "Change setting" button undeer "For all users and programs, problem reporting is set to"
  • "Off", OK, OK, OK

Disable AutoPlay

  • Control Panel (classic) | AutoPlay
  • "Use AutoPlay for all media and devices" → Off

Install Firefox

  • Tools | Options, "Always ask me where to save files" → On
decrapping_windows_vista.txt · Last modified: 2008/10/26 10:34 (external edit)

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