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Finally, Classic Theme on Windows 10: SCT

In this page:
Installing & Using SCT
SCT's Extra Features
A few problems with Classic Theme
Extra Programs (not included) (Classic Taskbar & Volume, FileBox eXtender)
Visual Effects (remove window animations, font smoothing, etc)
Credits Thank you!

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Last Updated Nov 12, 2020

Use anything on here at your own risk! I am not responsible for any damage to your computer. Currently running this on Windows 10 version 1809 without any issues.

Installing SCT

WinClassic boards - Reversibly enable and disable Classic Theme with a simple UI
GitHub - SimpleClassicTheme GitHub

One reason that I hadn't installed another Classic theme before is that most of them are unreliable and are known to break things, and then can't be removed. THIS right here is what I've been looking for for years. Finally an easy to use Classic theme installer.

Official SCT Guide is here if you want to read this one instead: (google docs page)

Just download Simple Classic Theme from the creator's forum thread in the link above. You might need to add this to your antivirus exclusions list just like almost every theme patcher.

Exclusions list:

First, create a folder named "SCT" in the root of C:\, and put the SimpleClassicTheme.exe file in. When you run SCT (run as admin), you should get SCT's nice utility, with options to install SCT, and to install other programs to improve your Windows experience.

Setting it up for the first time, click "enable". You can click disable any time to remove the modifications, unlike most classic theme utilities.

Enabling the theme for the first time will bring up an odd looking window theme, but just click on "Configure" to bring up the full customization CPL from old school Windows. Finally, full customisation is back! Pick a theme (my favourite is Slate), or pick your own colours as if you're running Windows 98 in 1999.

Finally, click "Install (auto-launch)" to complete the setup. Next time you start up, SCT should start when you log on.

SCT's Extra Features, top to bottom.

Classic Task Manager
Since the new task manager and msconfig won't work anymore, you can install the old versions, which are much better anyways.

7+ Taskbar Tweaker
A taskbar customisation utility completely jam packed with features. Just take a look at its control panel!

Just note that this is most useful if you're running on the stock taskbar. Since I'm using a (not included) 3rd party taskbar, this doesn't work for me.

Explorer Context Menu Tweaker
Couldn't tell you becuase it doesn't work on my system.

Extremely useful utility to greatly improve and customize the clock on the taskbar.

Screenshot is from the official SCT guide, becuase I'm running a 3rd party taskbar.

Just note that this is most useful if you're running on the stock taskbar. Since I'm using a (not included) 3rd party taskbar, this doesn't work for me.

Folder Options X
Utility to tweak some aspects of explorer. I like having all of these features enabled, but just my taste.

RibbonDisabler 4.0
If you're reading this page, chances are that you hate the ribbon. It's an abomination, and it collides with the classic theme if you leave it there. A very powerful utility from Winareo.com to disable or reenable the ribbon.

I've already disabled the ribbon in this screenshot. Make sure to run under admin.

Getting rid of the ribbon does reveal the Windows 7 folderband which is also garbage, but removing this requires manually editing the registry, but a tutorial is on the official SCT guide

which is not affiliated with this page in any way.
Make borders 3D
I'm not sure why flat UI designs are so popular, even if they're harder to navigate. Runs a .reg script to re-enable 3d borders to pull in the classic look.

Looks much better. Hard to beleive this is Windows 10!

Restore WindowMetrics
If you for some reason feel the need to remove the classic theme, run this to undo some size tweaks so things don't look werid.

A few problems with Classic Theme

  • Sometimes the context menus will have no text, my workaround is to right click on a desktop icon, and it usually fixes the problem for the rest of the session.

  • At least on my verison (Windows 10 version 1809), some metro apps, most notably the Settings app will not load properly, if at all. (Next thing we need is a 3rd party control panel, since Microsoft is obsessed with their pile of shit known as the Settings app)

  • If you log off and log back on, sometimes SCT won't load properly, and the metro will shine through in some places. Workaround is to simply restart, and SCT will always work.

  • Extra Programs, not included in the official release of SCT.

    Classic Taskbar
    This is a recompiled version of the ReactOS taskbar to work with Classic Shell and Windows 10. Feels much more complete, but you miss out on T-Clock and 7+ Taskbar Tweaker.

    Download: taskbar.zip, 1483KB

    You must put the contents of the ZIP in C:\Classic for it to work properly.
    Create a shortcut to "Taskbar.exe" in your startup folder.

    (File credits: Spitfire_x86 from the WinClassic boards)

    Classic Shell
    I know. You've seen Classic Shell on every "classic windows" page. But just putting it out there since it works with the 3rd party ReactOS taskbar.

    Download / Website: http://www.classicshell.net/.

    Thank you Classic Shell, for sparing me of new start menus for years.

    Volume Tray icon
    Just the volume control tray icon from Windows 7. I don't need the new one that takes 5 seconds to open.

    Download: voltray.zip, 392KB

    Add a shortcut to this in your startup folder as well for it to appear in your system tray. No it's not at 0. I always have my volume at 2 or 4. Why should it go any higher than 15? I don't need to be reminded of the times when I woke people up because I accidentally set the volume to 100 while trying to set it to 3.

    FileBox eXtender
    A very useful utility from Hyperionics. Not supported on Windows 10, but it works if you have Classic Theme!

    Download / Website: http://www.hyperionics.com/files/index.asp

    Adds extra buttons to explorer windows, see folder history and save favourite folders, roll up window to title bar, and pin to always on top. Folders are only in explorer, roll up and pin are on all windows.

    For some reason the buttons are slightly long, but it doesn't bother me.

    Visual Effects, disable some of the eye candy to both improve performance, ane make it more classic.

    These are my settings. I think this combination feels really classic to the XP and before era of Windows. I tried turning off font smoothing, but it looks better on some fonts than others.A better way to get the "classic" font look is by disabling ClearType.

    Just type "cttune.exe" in Run, and untick the "Turn on ClearType" box. You don't need to do anything else. Disabling ClearType makes the fonts more similar to how they are on Windows XP, where most fonts are smoothed, but some basic fonts, such as MS Sans Serif are not, which really helps the "classic" feel.

    You can access the Visual Effects Performance Settings by right clicking on This PC or My Computer and going to the Properties window. On the left pane is a link to "Advanced System Settings". This will bring you to the advanced tab of System settings, where you can click "Settings" on the performance tab.


    This page has many different peices of software developed by many different people. Thank you to everyone who developed or worked on the software that made all of this possible.

    Simple Classic Theme
    Created by Anis Errais AKA 1337ftw
    SimpleClassicTheme GitHub

    Classic Task Manager
    I have no idea

    Created by Kazubon, Two_toNe, Stoic Joker and White Tiger
    T-Clock GitHub

    Folder Options X
    Created by T800 Productions

    RibbonDisabler 4.0
    Created by WinAero
    WinAero website

    Classic Taskbar
    Created by Martin Fuchs (ReactOS project) and Spitfire_x86 (winclassic recompile)
    ReactOS taskbar thread (unmodified)
    Don't know where to find the original link for the modded version.

    FileBox eXtender
    Created by Hyperionics Software
    Hyperionics Homepage

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