Microsoft secretly designed Mac theme for Windows XP

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Windows XP briefly looked like macOS. Leaked source code shows a hybrid combination of XP with the Apple design language. The theme never saw the light of day.

Late last week, the source code for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 leaked online. Those interested then filled their weekend with shifting through that code and found remains of an interesting visual project. It appears that Microsoft initially planned to provide Windows XP with an optional theme based on Apple’s Mac operating system. The interface hidden in the code is called ‘Candy’ and is very similar to the Aqua theme that Apple launched in 2000.

The theme was discovered in the code by The Verge, who also created the images.

Microsoft didn’t finish Candy, but it hid a lot of visual elements in the code. In addition to the colors, the developers provided new buttons, scroll bars and even an Aqua-based Windows start button. It looks like Microsoft never had any intention of bringing the OS X 10-based visual theme to the market. The design was for internal use pending the official XP theme. That eventually became the now iconic ‘Luna’ theme with blue and green theme colors.

Windows XP eventually got a very open theme engine that allowed users to drastically customize the visual aspects of their operating system with the help of third-party software. Enthusiasts who wanted it could turn their XP installation into something similar to OS X if they wanted to.





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