You can turn back the clock with various mods, naturally, but a new effort transforms your Windows 11 installation to look like Windows 2000, complete with some functioning legacy apps and interface elements – such as Clippy. (Yes, the famous paperclip ‘assistant’ with a bad habit of interfering with your work when it wasn’t needed).
There are, however, some sizeable caveats as you might expect…
Windows Central reported on this project, which was undertaken by Redditor ExoGeniVI. The main point to be aware of is that it requires the installation of StarDock WindowBlinds, a third-party app for customizing Windows in all sorts of weird and wonderful ways.
It uses a Windows 2000 theme (created by prozad94, a couple of years back) to bring back that OS in all its glory – or gray drabness, rather – and goes further than this with a bunch of other tweaking under the hood of Windows to add some past software versions into the mix (plus some nostalgic icons, too – like Fallout).
On the app front, we’re talking Internet Explorer 5.5 and Microsoft Office 2000, with the latter boasting a working Clippy, albeit with some slight visual glitches (the assistant’s transparency effect doesn’t render properly, being turned into a pink square background instead).
Analysis: Windows 11 Gray Mode
The sheer effort involved in getting all this stuff working is impressive, and as ExoGeniVI points out in the Reddit thread showing off the project, these apps actually work. Internet Explorer 5.5 loads some websites just fine, for example. However, it isn’t recommended for serious use (naturally, given how ancient it is – the security holes in IE 5.5 are wide enough for a busload of cybercriminals to be driven through, no doubt).
Indeed, this project is one of those firmly in the category of ‘showing it can be done’ rather than anything with any real practical application. As one person asked: “Why though?” To which ExoGeniVI replied: “Too much time on my hands.”
Fair enough, and with having to restore their PC twice during the process of completing this endeavor, ExoGeniVI also shows why you very probably don’t want to get involved in this level of tweaking.
The safe thing to do, if you want Windows 11 to simply look like Windows 2000, is just to use StarDock WindowBlinds to apply prozad94’s classic skin – with no ancient apps involved – and leave it like that. Even if you’re so inclined, we can’t imagine you’d want to live in such a bland, gray, Windows environment for all that long. Would you?
Via Review Geek