We all have our own preferences when it comes to choosing a media player for our systems. Some prefer the VLC Media player, which is an open source and cross-platform software that acts as a media client for playing a vast majority of media file formats. Then there is the popular Windows Media Player that is a multimedia player owned by the Microsoft Corporation, that has its own unique features.

If you are new to Linux, you might find yourself looking for an alternative to the Windows Media Player that you can use on your Ubuntu. Unfortunately, there is hardly any alternative to the Windows Media player that gives you the comfort of the same look and feel. No doubt there are extremely efficient media players available for Ubuntu like VLC, Amarok, Smplayer and XBMC Media Center. However, there is one workaround that might help you have a media player that sets well on Ubuntu and gives you the visual experience of the Windows Media Player. The solution is to make use of the Skins feature of the VLC Media Player. These skins on VLC help you in theming it according to your preference. There are a number of such themes/skins available for VLC on the following page:


This is how the VLC Media Player look like, by default, on a Ubuntu system:

Default Theme for VLC on Ubuntu

In this article, we will explain how to download the  WindowsMedia Player skin from the above-mentioned website and configure it on your VLC player. We have run the commands and procedures mentioned in this article on a Ubuntu 18.04 LTS system.

Downloading the Windows Media Player Skin

The videolan.org website maintains a large data of skins that can configure on your VLC media player on the following link:


Open the website and download the Media Player 12 theme by clicking on it:

Download VLC skin

Once you do so, the following page will open, giving you information and rating of the skin, and also a Download Link:

Rate the skin (optional)

This skin gives you the closest feel of the Windows Media Player.

Click on the Download link, after which the following dialog will open for you to save the file:

Mediplayer skin download

Click the Save File button which will save the .vlt file in the Downloads folder by default.

Configuring the New Skin on the VLC Player

Now that you have the skin downloaded on your system in a .vlt format, you can configure it by following this method:

Open the Run dialog by pressing Alt+F2. In this dialog, enter the following command and hit Enter:

Vlc-l skins2

Run vlc command with skins2 option

This command will open the VLC player in the Skins mode; helping you easily configure the newly downloaded skin.

On this Skins interface of the player, right-click anywhere on the Title Bar, select Interface and then select Open Skin as follows:

VLC Player wits skinning interface enabled

This will let you select your downloaded skin from where ever you have saved it

Select downloaded skin

Select the .vlt file and click the Open button. Your VLC player skin will be changed then and there. It will give you the following look with Windows Media Player 12 skin:

VLC Mediaplayer with new skin

You can see how close it looks to the Windows Media Player now.

Reverting Back to the Default skin of the VLC Player

Open the VLC Player in the Skins interface as described above. Right-click anywhere on the title bar, select Interface and then select ‘Select Skin’. Here, you will see the Default option.

Revert VLC default skin

Select the Default option, after which your VLC Player skin will change to the authentic VLC themed skin.

Through this simple trick, you now have the closest to what you can have of the Windows Media Player on your Ubuntu. After some time, you will get used to the Linux based media players and start enjoying their features rather than looking back at your ex, the Windows.

How to make VLC Player on Ubuntu look like the Windows Media Player

Karim Buzdar

About the Author: Karim Buzdar holds a degree in telecommunication engineering and holds several sysadmin certifications. As an IT engineer and technical author, he writes for various web sites. You can reach Karim on LinkedIn