On this page, Microsoft says how to make Windows XP icons. I love Windows XP! The style, the texture, the shading,... It's so alive unlike this depressive Windows 10 flat design. What I was thinking if I could use these instructions to create my own icons for my own apps, games, website and an operating system that runs on an Arduino Zero.

The question is is it legal. I don't think Microsoft is giving this away for free, but I haven't seen any restrictions or heard of any lawsuits regarding the Windows XP design so it could be free. There are many programs and toolbars that look like Windows XP which are probably commercial. Has anyone heard Microsoft say anything against this?

  • That page describes technically how to design your own icons (nothing to do with using Microsoft's icons)... which of course is legal. Are you asking if you can take and use Microsoft's existing icons?
    – Cai
    Jan 7, 2017 at 22:00
  • I was thinking about making my own from scratch by using the Windows XP design. Now there's a problem what if my icons look similar to Windows XP icons? For example, My Computer or My Documents might look similar if I try to describe them by the same motives such as a PC and a folder with papers inside.
    – Foxcat385
    Jan 9, 2017 at 0:03

1 Answer 1


That kind of guidelines is for you to make your own icons, so yes, you are totally free to use that guideline.

  • There's a color pallette there too. Is it copyrighted?
    – Foxcat385
    Jan 9, 2017 at 0:02

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