What if Microsoft had given us Windows XP 2024?

Modern life is rubbish. What if your favorite tech giant had stopped trying to reinvent the wheel?

A brave hero has given us a glimpse at an alternative universe, where Microsoft evolved the Windows XP design language. And isn't that a better use of time than coming up with the Copilot key?

Huh? key on keyboard

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Windows XP arrived in 2001 and drew its last breath – at least in terms of mainstream support – on April 14, 2009. It chugged along in one form or another until 2019 when the plug was finally pulled on an embedded version once and for all. However, the arrival of Windows Vista in 2007 with all its Aero fripperies, followed by Windows 7 in 2009, ensured the demise of Windows XP for many users.

But what if Microsoft had opted to stick with the Windows XP user interface rather than issue apologies for the mess the Start Menu has become? What if, rather than Windows 10 or 11, we were using Windows XP 2024?

Wonder no more, thanks to just over nine minutes of XP re-imagined courtesy of YouTube creator AR 4789. The author has form when it comes to operating system concepts, and a glimpse at the channel shows multiple ideas, including an imagining of what might be in store in the rumored Windows 12.

Youtube Video

However, it is the XP render that got the old "What If?" juices flowing, highlighting what was both subjectively good and bad about the operating system's visuals. We assume that by 2024, Microsoft would have sorted the Swiss cheese internals.

Thoughtful touches abound, from the taskbar through the Start Menu and dialogs utilizing some of the paged approaches found in recent versions of Microsoft's operating system. We particularly liked the moment dark mode was selected at the 07:20 mark, and the familiar Bliss backdrop transformed into a starry scene.

Other elements of the Windows XP design language that the video helped us recall are wince-inducing. The window control buttons look like they're from another era because, well, they are, and some of the 3D effects look distinctly dated to modern eyes.

However, these are all subjective complaints. To this writer, Windows 11 looks okay – perhaps it's just familiarity. However, the nostalgic concept video is an insight into what might have been if Microsoft had taken its finger off the reinvent button. ®

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