As a hostage of some ancient hardware I’m forced to keep a copy of Windows XP close to hand. If there’s one thing I hate more than the need to run virtualization software at all it’s the lack of harmony it creates in my daily workflow.

That’s why I use an Ambiance theme for Windows XP.

It’s not a perfect solution but, psychologically, losing the Crayola blue XP window theme and having an Ambiance-coloured Windows taskbar on my desktop makes a world of difference.

Ambiance theme for Windows
Windows XP running in seamless mode with Ubuntu

Ambiance theme for Windows XP

Download Ubuntu Light for Windows XP from DeviantArt. You’ll need to do this either in your VirtualBox machine or save the theme files to a folder shared with it.

Installing the theme

To use custom Windows themes such as this Ambiance theme you’ll need to use a patched uxtheme.dll file. A bevy of applications are available for doing this – UXtheme Multi Patcher is the one I use.

Left-handed controls

LeftSider is a small utility for moving Window controls to the left as per default Ubuntu. It doesn’t work on every application (mores the pity) but the idea is neat enough if you’re truly aiming to ape Ambiance.


As I run VirtualBox in seamless mode the Windows taskbar is displayed on my Ubuntu desktop. This can be set to ‘auto-hide’ to keep out of your way. I also hide the Windows clock from the taskbar – I’m more than happy with Indicator-Datetime ;).

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