Windows XP users try their best to simulate Mac OS X

Windows XP users have serious cases of Mac OS X lust. Trying to simulate Mac OS X on Windows XP is turning into quite the hobby lately. While Microsoft is taking its own sweet time (years) to come up with a version of Windows (Longhorn) that tries to look and work like Apple’s Mac OS X, Windows XP users are taking matters into their own hands while they wait and wait, then wait some more.

“Look closely, and you’ll see that its creator has done a very good job; although the machine is running Windows XP, the interface is almost indistinguishable from an OS X machine,” Leander Kahney writes for Wired News. In the screenshots included in the Wired article, “notice the dock, desktop background, menus, system font and icons for applications and folders. Even the keyboard shortcuts belong to the Mac OS X.”

Kahney writes, “The system belongs to Kurt871, who won the latest monthly screenshot contest at AquaXP, a site devoted to turning XP boxes into faux Macs. AquaXP has 9,000 members. The site is named after Apple Computer’s distinctive Aqua Mac OS X interface. A similar site,, has 16,000 members. And there are a dozen or more sites like them, according to the links collected at Iceman’s Emulation Page.”

“Clearly, emulating OS X is an engaging hobby for a significant number of Windows XP users. A recently released theme for XP that looks like the Jaguar iteration of OS X was downloaded 50,000 times, according to its creator, Iceman,” Kahney writes. “‘There are a lot of people out there who really like Apple and the Mac and this is the next best way to support them,’ said Brad Wardell, president and CEO of Stardock, which makes several Windows XP customization tools popular with the PC-to-Mac crowd. Wardell said the best way to support Apple, of course, is to get a Mac, but a lot of his customers are in a youthful age bracket, and feel they can’t yet afford a Mac, given Apple’s reputation for charging premium prices.”

Full article and screenshots of Windows XP trying (and failing) to be Mac OS X here.

MacDailyNews Take: Moo. Want the real thing? US$799 for an Apple eMac is the cheapest way to do it by buying new. An eMac is a quality machine and will do a great job for those wanting the Mac experience. With the real Mac OS X, plus you actually get all of the Mac-only applications, like iCal, iMovie, the Mac version of iTunes, iSync, the ability to use .Mac, iPhoto, iChat AV, Mail, GarageBand, AppleScriptability, etc. Plenty of refurbished Mac OS X machines are available for much less, too. Just Google “refurbished Mac” to find out more. Info on adding a Mac to your computing arsenal, it’s actually quite easy, here.


  1. The effort going into these reproductions is quite amazing. It’s a shame that after spending all that time getting their computers looking so good that they have to run comparitively-ugly looking Windows software on top of it.

    Agree with MDN too. Even if you don’t want to give up your Windows machine, buy an eMac and all this stuff is just there.

  2. You need about $50 worth of software:

    Object Dock, Objectbar, login designer, boot designer, and Window blinds (object desktop from Stardock includes all of them for $50). Demo version are free.

    Get ‘Windows Exposer’ for an Expose like feature.

    A guy named ‘xero’ has done a nearly perfect total conversion. You can find everything on wincustomize.

    The stuff is very convincing. From the grey apple to the logon screen everything is spot on. I recently tried it out on my PC as I am w/o mac for a while. It fooled everyone I showed it to.

    If Apple made iLife04 for PC this would be close enough for me.

    I have been thinking of getting an Athlon64 notebook and running these conversions on it rather than getting an Apple PowerBook. Very tempting.

  3. This hack applies to the entire win32 api so applications do look very Mac like after this. Those that don’t can often be skinned. It changes the way a WinXP machien works.

    My machine might even fool you.

  4. ‘The effort going into these reproductions is quite amazing. It’s a shame that after spending all that time getting their computers looking so good that they have to run comparitively-ugly looking Windows software on top of it.’

    People are trying to tell Apple something. Stardock is probably selling lots of this software at about a quarter of what the full Apple OS would cost on x86.

    I guess Apple is OK with someone else making money off their IP. I think Apple could have 25% of the PC market wthin a year if they licensed the OS.

  5. Sounds like those ugly suburban houses with vinyl siding on three sides and a thin veneer of brick on the front trying to convince you it is a more substantial house. Yuk.

    But, I’m forced to use an XP machine at work so I might do this – if only to see the look on my IT guy’s face!

    For those considering buying a new windows machine rather than a Mac – don’t do it! The real thing is so much better!

  6. Too bad a new skin and some well placed menu bars won’t patch the underlying problems and exploitable vulnerabilities…. The next worm/trojan/adware/spyware won’t care how much the desktop looks like a Mac.

    Trade in your Mac envy for the real thing, you won’t regret it

  7. Talk about a marketing opportunity. Apple should put a big fat banner ad for the $799 eMac on that website. Or run a contest giving an eMac away for the closest XP imitation.

  8. I agree. I am a long time windows user (and old school Mac user) that switched back to Mac last year. I just sold my Macs so that I could upgrade and right now I don’t have one. I have lost all interest in computing and I hate doing anything important on a PC. I have as fast a PC as you can get, but all it’s good for is games.

    The only part of the PC experience I like is the hardware and building them up. I hate windows. It steals joy from my life.

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