Talk:List of alternative shells for Windows

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Shell replacements vs. GUI enhancements[edit]

I have removed references to HoverDesk and Desktop X because they are not shell replacements. Shell replacements replace explorer.exe as the Windows shell. HoverDesk and Desktop X are GUI enhancements: Explorer is still the shell when these apps are running, and they are running as apps on top of the shell, not as the shell themselves. They belong to a class of software that includes Winstep (NextStart and WorkShelf) and which significantly change the look and feel of the Windows GUI without replacing Explorer as the shell. Canonblack 19:33, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

Maybe we ought to add a seperate section or at least a reference to another section containing those programs so that people will know the difference. Zugamifk (talk) 06:30, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
Possibly, but a non-shell desktop replacement is really not the point of this article. And I see someone has replaced Hoverdesk and Winstep. Ahem. These are not shells. Neither are Microsoft Bob or FlyakiteOSX. They are desktop replacement applications that run on top of the Windows Explorer shell. They do not replace Explorer.exe as the shell, and cannot be made to do so. They are not shells. They do not belong on this page. If the article is moved and renamed to "Desktop Enchancements", or "Replacement GUI" or something else that doesn't involve replacing the shell, then they meet the criteria. As long as this article is about SHELL replacements, however, they do not belong here. They are not shell replacements. Canonblack (talk) 18:26, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
ClassicShell isn't a shell replacement. It modifies parts of the existing shell on Vista, 7 and 8. Originally it mainly provided an XP style Start Menu for Vista in the Aero Glass theme. The latest releases have a choice of XP, Vista and 7 Start Menu styles. Additional modifications to Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer have been added over the lifetime of the software. Bizzybody (talk) 05:38, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

A better title?[edit]

Since this is a Windows-specific phenomenon, instead of calling this articke "Desktop shell replacement," perhaps a more suitable title would be "Explorer shell replacement?" (Or "Explorer.exe shell replacement") —Tokek 11:55, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

How about Alternative shell - Stephanie Daugherty (Triona) - Talk - Comment - 21:14, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
Alternative shell doesn't address the issue. Alternative shell could refer to a unix command line shell, or any other user interface shell replacement. This article is specifically about replacing the windows shell, the part of the windows interface known as "explorer". -- JoshuaRodman (not logged in) 11:53, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
What about something like "Windows desktop environments", "Windows graphical shells", or "Windows desktop shells"? The article could mention the default shell provided with Windows and link to Windows Shell, then explain about alternative shells that can be used. I think that would be better than arbitrarily separating the default shell from "replacement" shells. Herorev 21:27, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
This looks like it duplicates information from Shell (computing). Therefore, I propose a merge. Any thoughts? -MarkKB 04:54, 9 June 2007 (UTC)
Agreed, this should be either renamed to something like "Windows shell replacements" or merged into Shell (computing). I'm leaning towards a merge, but definitely, the current name is unsuitable. Nibios 06:46, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
I've fixed the Merge template to a Mergeto template, and am copying this section to Talk:Shell (computing). Continue discussion there. Guy Harris 18:03, 7 September 2007 (UTC)


"Computer users with the desire can modify explorer.exe extensively."

Isn't that illegal? Josh 18:00, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

Wouldn't Microsoft like you to believe that. IANAL, but AFAIK in general, no. I guess if you modified it in order to commit a murder it would be, or if you sold modified copies it might be. But there are lots of ways in which you can. Andrewa (talk) 06:27, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
I think what that specific sentence is alluding to is the fact that you can modify many things within explorer.exe without explicitly modifying its source-code (which also isn't illegal per-se). For example, changing the screensaver, background, colour scheme, etc... could all be construed as "modifying explorer". Ooglybooglypants (talk) 20:50, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
I guess in some respects GNU's talk about "agree not to decompile", but heck people do that kind of thing all the time. I think the law really draws the line at making money off of exploiting software that isn't your own. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Drsuds (talkcontribs) 23:03, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
Actually, modifying Windows extends to hacking Explorer as well; there is a whole modification community devoted to this ( It extends from the simple (hacking msstyles.dll to allow application of a wider range of desktop themes) to the very complex (replacing the entire desktop environment with your own script-heavy XML creation). Once you hack Explorer, however, you've essentially voided any implied warranty; don't expect MS to bail you out if you break Windows. Canonblack (talk) 18:07, 28 May 2009 (UTC)


Most of the external links in the article should be removed per WP:EL, WP:SPAM, and WP:NOT#LINK --Ronz 15:22, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

Done --Ronz (talk) 21:59, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
Removing header from article as issue has been dealt with. Ooglybooglypants (talk) 20:51, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposed move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move debate was move to Windows shell replacement. Lox (t,c) 08:26, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Desktop shell replacementWindows shell replacement — This article is specific just for Windows OS. Thus the title must be specified. (See discussion above) —ΑΜακυχα Θ 03:28, 10 December 2007 (UTC)


Feel free to state your position on the renaming proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's naming conventions.
  • Support. The issue hasn't arisen with other operating systems, so this article is likely to remain Windows-only. Andrewa (talk) 06:30, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Support. Agreed, the context of the article appears to be Windows-specific. ZZ Claims ~ Evidence 14:52, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Support - and it does occur in other OSes... (ie, pre-Win95 windows, and DOS) (talk) 19:05, 10 December 2007 (UTC)


Any additional comments:
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.


Progman.exe could also be replaced. (talk) 19:06, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

Not only it *could* be replaced, replacing it was far more popular than in later incarnations of Windows. I can name offhand four big-time Programan.exe replacements: Norton Desktop for Windows, Central Point Desktop, HP Dashboard and HP NewWave. MCBastos (talk) 18:27, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

In practice, Windows 2.x was usually run as a DOS run-time library, where Windows would load to run a specific application, and exit as the shell does. This was because of Win2x memory limitations. The Windows 3.x shell was essentially a showcase for the MDI (multi-document interface), and shell DDE (dynamic data exchange). The Progman documents were "groups", which contained "icons", or program start objects.
Computers in the early 1990s shipped with an OEM-provided DOS menu program, typically a select list of 8-10 items. Unlike Windows, the DOS menus could nest a sub-menu inside a menu, and even the front menu could be a mixture of applications and sub-menus. It is little wonder that people sought refuge in replacing Windows program.
There were many different programs, some of which were quite large and commercial (eg Norton Desktop, PC-Tools). There were many different idioms, like command lines (take command, praxim), MS-DOS Executive (Windows 2.x shell) replacements, like File Manager, Command Post, Becker Tools shell, and a host of different idioms, like sidekick, next, MS-Office tool-bar. There were even enhancements, such as plugin (which allowed subgroups in Progman), and backmenu (an OS/2 style menu for the desktop).
Programs like MS-BOB, Packard Bell navigator, Rooms, and paridies of Bob like "Bubba" sought to isolate the user from the complexities of the desktop, while "Workplace Shell for Windows", and Calmira bring the desktops of OS/2 and Windows NT to the Windows 3.1 desktop. Even sloop manager (of which "more control CPL" survives) was a shareware shell.
In short a thriving shareware market existed for replacing the Windows shell with something more usable, to the extent that Microsoft had to first stop by licencing, OEMs from modifying the shell, and then actually put some sort of effort into bringing the shell to a quite servicable level (ie Explorer). --Wendy.krieger (talk) 10:13, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

ROS Explorer[edit]

ROS Explorer now redirects to ReactOS which is now more than just a shell replacement. It is an entire operating system. (talk) 18:15, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

Can there still be a link to ROS Explorer? It's still an explorer.exe replacement, even though it is now being developed for ReactOS. In fact, I'm running ROS Explorer on Windows XP right now, and even replaced it as my default shell. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:26, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

DarkStep Page?[edit]

May I request a page for DarkStep and also explorer.exe restoration? I see you removed my links for DarkStep - ok it doesn't have a page, I'm new to Wiki and I don't feel like writing a page to have to deleted. I though I saw a place you can request such a thing.

I installed DarkStep and spent about 5 hours trying to restore my windows shell since darkstep has no uninstaller, I had to registery hack and everything. I think if there was more info on Wiki about this mod I might of been out of that mess sooner. Thanks, Zeek (drsuds)

This article doesn't exist to provide trouble shooting information about DarkStep. A better place to find that information is at the project's website. Gh5046 (talk) 05:08, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
Darkstep used to exist as a subtopic of the Litestep article way back when, but that article has been changed so many times by so many people that it no longer exists. Darkstep never achieved the popularity that its parent did, and during most of its life it was only being developed by a single individual. It's been defunct for years. I don't think it meets notability standards for its own article, but I certainly think it — along with other branches and distros of Litestep — deserve at least a mention in the Litestep article. I can see adding it here, perhaps as a sub-list item under Litestep. Canonblack (talk) 18:32, 28 May 2009 (UTC)


From the Cairo FAQ Page: "Will Cairo be free?

Cairo will be freeware, which means we will not require a fee for using our software. However, Cairo is closed source and not available for duplication." Can someone please proof this? The commited source is not reachable. -- (talk) 17:54, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

I have noticed this too. I had contacted the Development team who made Cairo and they said they are not owned by a company but they will not release the code (The Building Blocks) of the Program to avoid duplicates of the same software. I had made a edit to the list saying "Closed Source but free" to avoid any confusion. Alex9113 (talk) 18:54, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

Create list[edit]

I tagged the article with create-list. There's not much content here apart from the list. The details from the lead (which is unreferenced at the moment) can easily be moved to Windows shell. Its new title could be List of Windows shell replacements. --Pnm (talk) 03:21, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

I was thinking of moving the list to a separate article, but maybe just a refocusing to a list article would be best. --Ronz (talk) 03:53, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

This article does not cite any references or sources...[edit]

I'm removing the {Unreferenced} tag. This is simply a list where the vast majority of entries refer to their wikipedia page. The only objections I could really see is if an item in the list were disputed for it's lack of notability. If you put the tag back, please be specific in what you would like to have referenced. Thanks! - Xcal68 (talk) 19:07, 28 January 2012 (UTC)

Cairo part 2[edit]

This notice[1] originally listed here [2] (now dead) would indicate it's open source as of a couple years ago. Also, the original source can be found here[3], with a newer branch here[4]. The notice reads as follows:

You may have noticed that the development team has been quiet over the past few months since the release of M1.9. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to dedicate as much time as we have hoped with our developers becoming more and more involved with their actual jobs. Of course, none of us want to see Cairo cease development. So, we thought we’d do something about it that allows us to continue on with our extremely busy lives.
The answer, of course, is going open source. Starting today, you can log into GitHub and make changes to our git repository. Naturally, we ask that you be professional and not damage the code. Go nuts with your skills to help us make Cairo the best it can be!
There are several notes we must make regarding edits:
  • The Cairo team has locally branched code. We will only release these branches.
  • Code committed to our git repository should not change or break any of Cairo’s user interface guidelines. We have worked hard in order to carefully craft our user interface.
  • Committed code should be tested to make sure it doesn’t cause instability.
  • Changes that are malicious or extraneous will not be tolerated.
  • Code which meets our guidelines and quality expectations will be merged into our local, official code branches.
We look forward to seeing what the community can come up with and thank you all for your continued support.
-The Cairo Team

The faq listed here[5] is outdated. - Xcal68 (talk) 19:36, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

To those who keep thinking Cairo is proprietary, the above notice, which explicity indicates it is now open source, can be found archived here[6]. It was posted Jan. 11, 2010, directly on their website. The FAQ listed here [7] is outdated and abandoned. If you check here[8], at the Elemental Software branch, you can clearly see at the bottom of the page it is released under GPL. The Cairo team even made a release after it went open source, giving credit to Elemental Software for a fix, which can be seen here[9]. So please, if you feel the need to change it to proprietary again, discuss why first. - Xcal68 (talk) 19:57, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

Pokki is a virus/adware leak[edit]

Pokki shouldn't figure on that list. It is a known cause of issues on all computers including the infiltration of adwares, spywares and virusses... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:45, 12 January 2015 (UTC)