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What if Windows XP had launched in 2019? Here’s what it would look like

A new video out this week explores a unique proposition that most modern computers likely haven’t thought of: What if Windows XP got reworked to show off circa-2019 design and functionality elements? The morbidly curious need not wonder anymore, as YouTube user Avdan released an animated mock-up teasing his take on the question.

The 95-second clip hits the viewer with early-2000s nostalgia right out of the gate by flashing the classic Windows XP Start button before landing on the bootup loading screen, which stays true to its spiritual predecessor except for the “2019 Edition” label under the loading bar.

Kamer Kaan Avdan

From there, the video showcases a sleek reimagining of the Windows XP desktop with more minimal, crisp window panes, handles, and other UI elements as it flaunts Windows 10’s latest functional and aesthetic features. Cortana, virtual desktop workspaces, and adaptive and dark themes are all highlighted one at a time in delightfully retro Windows XP chic. And, of course, this all plays out with the iconic (or seared-into-your-mind, depending on your perspective) grassy hill wallpaper for a backdrop. Between the attention to visual details, the animation edits, and the melodramatic Hollywood action hero soundtrack, it’s hard not to pine for the old days for a moment.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

The channel behind the loving homage, Avdan, has released a number of similarly silly mashup concepts, both for Microsoft and Apple operating systems. This particular iteration of the channel’s Windows OS redesign gag comes at an especially fitting time, as Microsoft recently reminded us that the end of life is nearing for another outmoded, but much-beloved OS, Windows 7. The fondness that fans feel for the old desktop is not an exaggeration, either, as consumers have been reluctant to move on to Windows 10, so much so that Microsoft is extending support for some enterprise customers until they can tear themselves away.

Kamer Kaan Avdan

This also isn’t the first, nor probably last, Windows parody that we’ve seen. Keen observers will find everything from a Windows 1 emulator to a browser-based Windows 93 lampooning Windows 95’s comparative primitiveness and terrifying susceptibility to malware. Microsoft has also responded to the outpouring of affection from fans, too, most recently by open-sourcing its ancient MS-DOS on GitHub for anyone to play around with, or just appreciate. All of this goes to show just how much cultural currency Windows continues to have.

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Jonathan Terrasi
Jonathan has studiously followed trends in technology, particularly in information security and digital privacy, since 2014…
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