Talk:Windows shell

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Don't you think this article should be merged with Windows Explorer?

No, due to the fact that shell is not a word used in the basic understanding ie: its too complicated for the norm 06:05, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

This article really needs to be improved or merged with Windows Explorer - there are much more to write about the XP/2003 interface. Poor! 09:31, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Should not be merged but improved because Explorer only refers to the file management aspect of the shell. Plus, there isn't info to warrant separate articles on topics such as MS-DOS Executive. Program Manager and Windows Explorer already are separate articles, but Windows Explorer is a subset of the Explorer shell/Windows shell. The shell also encompasses the taskbar, Start menu, the desktop, search UI (in 2000/XP) and other shell namespaces. I feel it should not be merged. - xpclient Talk 13:52, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

Another nay - regardless of the dependencies on the shell previously mentioned, and those structures it depends on, the shell is an entity in its own right, worthy of note, and with an important role to play. Its use is not just integral to processes such as explorer.exe, but with the re-use of components throughout the operating system, it seems perfectly satisfactory to have the (already present) foreword on the matter at the top of the page, as any further splitting will result in a good old fashioned mess. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:54, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

This article confuses things[edit]

Luna and Aero are not windows shells. Also no information about Windows Explorer, winfile, etc. BTW Win95 allowed to choose the shell during the installation.--Dojarca 17:37, 12 June 2007 (UTC)


This article doesn't seem to be very concistent about what Windows Shell means. Does Microsoft use this term? Josh 21:17, 15 October 2007 (UTC)

Windows Shells[edit]

While Windows 2.x was also sold retail, it was also sold as a run-time environment for assorted programs, where one might set something like 'shell=aldus.exe', to run aldus pagemaker. Windows 3.0 was the first to offer effective large memory models, but the machines of this era typically had 2-4 MB, with high-end machines at 8MB ram.

Windows 3.x did indeed come with Progman.exe and Winfile. While these programs were an improvement over the MS-DOS executive, they were a long way short of even the DOS menus that early 90's computers came with. Many DOS menus allowed nesting of menus inside menus etc, while progman, largely to display the wonders of MDI, displayed 'documents' in an icon-field window, and each document contained separate links, which could only be loaded when that document (group) was open.

One of the very popular categories for Windows software was replacing the shell, with something more functional. There were many such shells on the market-place, both shareware and commercial. It was a fairly large market, where one might use any of the following shells as application. (I have used all of these on the list, except for calmira MS-Bob, and PC-Tollos). It is useful to recall that this list is a sampling. Others included Topdesk and HP's NewWave, and Novell's win31 client.

  • Microsoft shells: MS executive, Program Manager, File Manager.
  • Microsoft Bob
  • Bubba (a quite usable parody on Microsoft Bob)
  • Norton Desktop for Windows
  • PC-Tools Windows Desktop
  • Quarterdeck's Sidebar
  • Becker Tools Shell
  • Praxim from Sundial (lots of tool-bars + command prompt)
  • Take Command for Windows (the tcmd manual also talks of making it a shell)
  • Sloop Manager
  • Workplace for Windows (IBM EWS)
  • Wilsonware's cmdpost. [msdos on steroids]
  • Dashboard (a kind of launchpad)
  • Backmenu (a kind of right-click on the desktop)
  • Calmira (still in active development!)
  • Any specific application (avoid using memory).

Progman.exe is still required, because some shells pass Shell DDE to progman.exe, and some programs use progman to read icon properties.

Because progman does not use the desktop as such, other programs assumed this, and when they were using the desktop, assumed that clicks were meant for them. For example, running NDW in an OS/2 window displays the Windows desktop over the OS/2 one, but mouse clicks were read by OS/2, not Windows.

There were also programs to enhance progman, such as to add groups inside groups, and icons to group folders.

Much of what appeared in the Windows 95 shell, is largely a result of these shells.

One could create themes in Windows with a program called 'makeover', which edited resources in the video driver, to change different window buttons.

Before Microsoft got into this shell-as-art thing, OEMs used to bundle both DOS and Windows shells. I recall seeing the Packard Bell's OEM shell for windows on some computer. The sneaky feeling is that Progman.exe was better than it.

--Wendy.krieger (talk) 11:04, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Image copyright problem with Image:Win2000.png[edit]

The image Image:Win2000.png is used in this article under a claim of fair use, but it does not have an adequate explanation for why it meets the requirements for such images when used here. In particular, for each page the image is used on, it must have an explanation linking to that page which explains why it needs to be used on that page. Please check

  • That there is a non-free use rationale on the image's description page for the use in this article.
  • That this article is linked to from the image description page.

The following images also have this problem:

This is an automated notice by FairuseBot. For assistance on the image use policy, see Wikipedia:Media copyright questions. --05:19, 5 November 2008 (UTC)


We don't need a single article for the three distinct programs that have been the default Windows shell. - Josh (talk | contribs) 16:57, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

Comments? - Josh (talk | contribs) 17:58, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
Split appears to have been done. SilkTork *YES! 10:42, 15 July 2010 (UTC)

First sentence[edit]

"The Windows shell is the main graphical user interface in Microsoft Windows, and since Windows 95 by Windows Explorer."

Is it just me, or does that last part not seem to make sense? Is it saying Windows Explorer was the shell from 95 and up? Because that wouldn't be accurate, either. - Xcal68 (talk) 20:53, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

Ok, I trimmed it. If someone knew what it REALLY meant, feel free to readd/fix it. - Xcal68 (talk) 19:29, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
It originally read "The Windows shell is the main graphical user interface in Microsoft Windows, today hosted by Windows Explorer." Looking through the history, it seems someone changed it to "and since Windows 95, hosted by...", which was then vandalised, and whoever did the reversion messed up somewhat. I'll change it back to "and since Windows 95". --MarkKB (talk) 00:05, 18 December 2012 (UTC)

Windows Flip 3D[edit]

Under Task Switching, the Text is contradictory since it mentions later that Flip 3D was introduced in Windows Vista, in which it really was. Avster2000NT (talk) 12:38, 27 February 2016 (UTC)

Don't mistake "Flip" with "Flip 3D".
Flip is invoked with Alt+Tab ↹.
Flip 3D is invoked with ⊞ Win+Tab ↹.
Best regards,
Codename Lisa (talk) 13:15, 27 February 2016 (UTC)