Deal : Welcome Center under Windows 10/11: Recreate the Vista Welcome Center

Windows Vista, released in 2007, had a welcome center. It contained quick start links for calling up on-board functions and loaded when booting up (can be switched off). Can something like this be retrofitted under Windows 10 and 11?

The Windows 7 predecessor operating system Vista had something in common with the welcome center that was exclusively integrated into it: both were unpopular. The Welcome Center wasn’t the main contributor to Vista’s bad reputation, but for some it was the negative icing on the cake that users shattered in reviews. The main problems with Vista were its high resource requirements and software and hardware/driver incompatibilities. Microsoft managed to fix some of this, but its reputation is still ruined to this day – and the operating system often appears in mentions of bad OS, also in the context that a bad one should be followed by a good Windows and so on.
The OS makers had good intentions with the welcome center: a PC layperson would certainly appreciate the fact that the on-board function included assistance and possibly that it loaded automatically when booting up – similar to the desktop mini-applications (gadget.) introduced with Vista , widgets) did posing in a sidebar. Since Windows 7 there is no longer a welcome center, which is essentially the successor to the XP tour was (Windows Vista followed Windows XP); In Windows 7, a sidebar is no longer mandatory for running the mini-applications, and they no longer load automatically on a freshly installed OS after the user logs in. For the sake of completeness, it should be mentioned that mini-applications are on hold under Windows 8 and higher . Microsoft saw security risks with them, but they probably weren’t that bad. With the 8GadgetPack retrofit the pretty helpers.

Windows Vist

a: Get the welcome center as a clone

Some people don’t swim with the crowd and emancipate themselves from the monotony with their opinions. Are you, like the article author, a fan of Windows Vista and its concepts? – Some of the system’s features live on in Windows to this day, one example being the Breadcrumb Explorer address bar. If you have a mix of sympathy and a desire for nostalgia, it might be a good idea to recreate the welcome center under Windows 10 or Windows 11. You don’t do this because the feature would be so useful. Rather, the motive “because it works” plays a role here and that the look is nice.
Let’s review the functional range of the welcome center: The window displayed the name of the operating system and edition (e.g. Home Premium), as well as the name of the processor (in a virtual machine alias VM, when researching for this article we got the Intel Core i7-6700K model listed), the amount of RAM, information about the (VGA) graphics card and the computer name.
By clicking on buttons you could “View computer details”, “Transfer files and settings”, “Add new users”, start a “Windows Anytime Upgrade”, you could explore “Connect to the Internet” and “What’s new in Windows Vista”. . Displaying the computer details with a click corresponds to the Windows-Pause key combination. Transferring data comes from calling Windows Easy Transfer same, which you also use Windows-R and migwiz transact. Under Windows 7 and Windows 8, the EasyTransfer on-board tool was still included in a variety of ways, under Windows 8.1 it was considerably deprived of its functionality, while under Windows 10 and Windows 11 it no longer appears at all. The welcome center was part of the Control Panel and also linked to online resources.
Retrofit the welcome center: Microsoft does not offer a Welcome Center for download. A resourceful user but has published a replica on DeviantArt, which you can download there after registering for free. Functionally, the clone doesn’t come close to the original, but it doesn’t have to. Visually, the construct should be sufficient to transport you back to ancient times in a sufficiently authentic way. On the linked page you will receive a zipped EXE file. Unzip it, but don’t open it yet. To get it started, open the properties of the file (double-click on it while holding down the Alt key) and activate it there Compatibility mode; select “Windows XP (Service Pack 2)” as the pretend OS. Double-click the EXE file. The “Welcome Center 2.0” is in English, but has an impressive design with a transparent title bar. It also transports the typical Vista colors into modern times. In terms of options and smooth operation, the presentation is less convincing, among other things because some of the system information provided (amount of RAM installed, operating system) is incorrect – whereas the Welcome Center should display the processor and the computer name correctly.

The more modern way to a welcome center: Go for Linux. The Distribution”Linux MX“, for example, brings an equivalent. Nostalgia in the form of Windows features that live on under Linux also exists in the sense that on some Linux systems the window title bar text is centered. This is reminiscent of Windows 8(.1) , where this optical property is also common Ribbon GUI based programs is.

Alternative to the welcome center: build your own launcher

During the Vista era, professionals were busy modifying the welcome center: the buttons in it could be enriched with their own counterparts with other functions. The file “oobe.xml” served this purpose. That no longer makes sense today – at best in a virtual machine. But in this way the welcome center could be upgraded to become a more useful launcher.
Windows XP, however, brought with it the Active Desktop, a function that allowed websites to be integrated into the desktop as elements. This option has been a thing of the past since Vista. In our testing in an XP VM in 2023, Active Desktop performed poorly with online/WAN resources. As an alternative to both the rudimentary welcome center launcher qualities and the Active Desktop, there are software tricks and tools: On You will find a tool that displays websites on the desktop in a freely positionable location within its own environment; the frame around it can be moved. This gives you a replacement, especially for the Active Desktop feature. You can create one for this and the welcome center by setting up your own small local HTML website from which you can start programs by clicking on the links. It’s not extremely useful, it has a fiddly character – but the fiddling with XML file internals with regard to the Vista welcome center was also a problem back in the day.
To create such a “website starts programs” tool, use the editor (accessible with Windows R, notepad and the Enter key) a file that you save to the drive with Ctrl-S with the ending “.htm”. Give her the following content:

Program starter

Program starter

Click on the links below to start programs:

Start Notepad

Call Winver

Call CMD

Call Explorer

function startProgram(programPath) {
try {
var shell = new ActiveXObject(“WScript.Shell”);
} catch (e) {
alert(“An error has occurred – any error message can appear here”);

Important: Edit the code so that it says “Script” instead of “Xscript”. For technical reasons, we are publishing the two phrases differently here. Modern browsers do not run the work because it relies on ActiveX technology, which practically only Internet Explorer can handle. This is not a problem if you use the add-on “IE Tab” install to the IE rendering engine to spill over into the modern Google Chromium fork. Before a program starts when you click on the associated hyperlink on the HTML page, a security warning must be confirmed. ActiveX is suitable as an attack vehicle in other contexts. Better safe than sorry. In this respect, Microsoft has not built support for this into its Edge browser and other web clients do not support ActiveX either.
We have designed the example HTML code so that the website accessed via it with links triggers the start of Winver, CMD and Explorer. The whole thing is just as outdated as the tool from linked at the top of the article, which is based on the Internet Explorer renderer “Trident”. Browser bookmarks and are useful in everyday life Taskbar shortcuts. But they don’t have the nostalgic charm of old technologies that lies dormant in Windows Vista and Windows XP.