What to Install After a Fresh XP Install

his post is more of a note to me so I know what to do when I need to install XP again, as I have just un-installed Vista after a months use and gone back to XP.

The honest truth is Vista is a very poor OS, even Microsoft admits that Vista is broken, Microsoft own vice president Mike Nash couldn’t get things done in Vista.

I had a lot of problems with Vista, most of my games didn’t work with Vista, I have a £100 printer that’s as good as a brick because it’s not compatible and copying files to a USB device took forever. I haven’t got the best PC in the world but its still a pretty good PC and got a Windows Experience Index Score of 4.1, but when I was running Vista it was very slow and painful to use.

I did like the look of Vista and some of the new features, like the Sidebar the fast search results and the start menu, so I found away to get these features in XP without losing performance and stability.

How to give XP some of the features Vista has.


Install royale-noir first then Royale-Remixed, when “Display Properties” window opens after installing Royale-Remixed choose the “Media Center Edition 2006” theme then open “Appearance tab” and choose “Royale” then under “Color Scheme” choose “Royale Noir”.

The Royale-Noir theme uses the same resources as the default XP theme so it won’t bog down the system, this is the best theme to use if you would like to use a dark UI. The Royale-Noir theme was actually developed by the Microsoft design team and that’s why you don’t need to use the Uxtheme patch to use this, you can read more about the theme here.


To add additional gadgets to the Vista Sidebar you need to add them manually, download the gadget that you want from Windows Live and use a program like WinRAR/7-Zip to extract the contents to a folder, then name the folder to what ever the gadget is called then put .Gadget to the end of the name e.g. BBCRadio.Gadget

Then all you need to do is place that folder to C:\Program Files\Windows Sidebar\Shared Gadgets

If you are using SP3 and don’t mind playing about with the system files, you can replace the Uxtheme.dll file with this patch and use this theme to give you a better Vista look.

Free programs for a complete OS after XP is installed.

These are the programs I install, you may not need to install all of them so check out the program first to see if its a program you would use.

Not free but worth the money.

  • Nero An all in one burning and coveting program, plus many other features.
  • PowerISO

If there is a program you still need that isn’t listed have a look at my list of free software, there maybe something there that might help.

Setting Up and Installing XP

First thing you should do before doing a fresh XP install is to download all the software that is needed and to make sure that you have all of your drivers. A great program that will save you a lot of time and headaches is DriverMax, it will backup all of the drivers that are installed on your PC for easy reinstalling.
Once you have backed up all of your drivers just check that you have got all the software that you will be installing and make sure they are saved on a partition that is use for storage or a CD/DVD.
Now we need to back up your program settings, copy this folder. C:\Documents and Settings\”user name”\Application Data to a storage partition or a CD/DVD. Make sure that you can see hidden files or you won’t be able to do this.

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