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Shell replacements take the place of the Windows 95/98/2K/NT Explorer. That is, they provide a substitute for the System tray, the Taskbar, the Desktop, My Computer, and/or the Start Menu. Usually the substitute is more configurable, flexible, and more attractive than the Explorer.

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DARKSTEP SHELL..........DarkStep is a new shell replacement for WindowsTM 9x\NT\2K which is compatible with most LiteStep themes and modules but has been written from the ground up with the original intent of LiteStep: To be fast, resource friendly and ultimately configurable. The shell itself is a mixture of public domain code that has been revised and assembled by Fahim Farook to represent his perception of the ever illusive "perfect shell" replacement :) While everyone's view of this "perfect shell" most certainly will differ, there is no denying the speed, ease of use and configurability, combined with a very flexible interface......(free beta).....GO THERE!

E-SENSE.......For Windows NT only, E-Sense is a porting of the Unix shell manager, Enlightenment (a window manager for the X Window System and which runs under UNIX-like operating systems: Linux, BSD, Solaris etc.). ....(free).....GO THERE!

EUROPA.......Europa is a 3D shell for Windows NT v4.0 or greater. No longer are you confined to a flat 2 dimensional interface. Europa allows you to look around a 3 dimensional desktop with full 360� freedom in all axes. You can zoom in or out using the mousewheel ( or keyboard ). Navigation is quick with Europa's Viewpoint hotkeys that you define. Europa currently runs on top of Explorer but will soon replace it as your shell.....(free).....GO THERE!

EVWM.......... Evwm was written to be extremely small and very fast. Because of this, it is not very pretty. The goals were to create a core shell with minimal "clutter", and then extend from that in various directions, such as towards a better user interface. The end result of this is a layered design, with speed and memory consumption sacrificed for visual appeal or functionality depending on what features are loaded. Evwm, at its current incarnation, is incredibly fast and powerful, with several important features that make it significantly better than other shells. The most obvious is speed. It was written in straight ANSI C and WinAPI, and done in a modular way so that very little memory is taken. It is also extensible, allowing for special add-ons such as the Litestep Wharfapp plugin.....(free).....GO THERE!

FRIGATE..........Windows Explorer replacement---Basic file operation(copy, move, delete). Good support of archives (entry, packing, unpacking, view). Support compressed files zip, arj, rar, ha, lha, zoo, limit, hyper. Built-in comfortable viewer for most popular graphic formats. ThumbNails & Slide Show. Built-in viewer for text, rich text and DBF files. Built-in editor for text with syntax highlighting and rich text files. Scheduler, Quick Launch, Calculator, System information, Phone Book, Alarm, Messenger, Clipboard viewer, Quick access to favorities directory. Works from system tray. Active skins.....(apparently shareware, $30 after trial, but the author does not mention this on his site)......GO THERE!

GEOSHELL..........In the developer's own words: "I work on namespace extensions for Windows Explorer which means I spend a lot of time in a debugger starting and restarting Explorer (and thus losing my shell, system tray icons, and so on). So I decided to write a new quick and dirty shell replacement so I wouldn't lose all of these nifty things. It started out as a [really ugly] start menu and system tray that looked a lot like the normal ones. Then I decided I wanted to reclaim the desktop space taken up by the use[full|less] taskbar, so I collapsed the taskbar into a popup menu. I figured I was pretty much done at this point, and started showing it off to people at work. We started discussing other ways to improve the shell -- grouping windows by application, adding quick-launch buttons to the taskbar, etc. A lot of them are good ideas and are on my todo list. One of my coworkers got really excited about my idea for embedding windows on the desktop, an 'active desktop that works.' In any event, I spent the weekend implementing a plugin interface for "desktop" windows and LiteStep modules. And it is darn cool. So now I have a shell replacement for Explorer that is fast, requires less memory, and is just plain cooler than Explorer. It is definitely not done, but it's ready for gutsy people to start playing with".....(free).....GO THERE!

GNOME.......... GNOME stands for GNU Network Object Model Environment. The GNOME project has begun to build a complete, user-friendly desktop based entirely on free software. GNOME is part of the GNU project, and it is free software compliant with the openSource(tm) definition. The desktop consists of small utilities and larger applications which share a consistent look and feel. GNOME uses GTK+ as the GUI toolkit for all GNOME-compliant applications.....(free).....GO THERE!

ICESPHERE SHELL..........A new Windows open source shell replacement: IceSphere. There are three main components in the IceSphere shell, the Core, Desktop and the Blocks. These three components make up the majority of IceSphere, they are all separate programs or EXEs that work together and allow a great deal of modularity and make the shell more stable. 1) IceCore is a very important component in IceSphere, it is the backbone of the shell. IceCore is responsible for all other parts of IceSphere. It composes of the CPS Crash Protection System and the Console. The Crash Protection System or CPS manages other parts of IceSphere, if a component of IceSphere crashes the CPS system restarts the crashed plugin before you can realize it crashed. The IceConsole is the second part of IceCore, the console is a hosted plugin that works as a frontend to DOS and as a DOS style console for IceSphere. It logs errors and keeps track of what is going on in the shell so you are not pestered by annoying pop-up windows. The log the console keeps can help solve any problems with the shell as well, by showing other people who are ready to help what exactly the problem is. IceCore also keeps track controls ALL of IceSpheres components and plugins, it lets you shutdown, restart or recycle plugins and components on the fly. 2) The IceDesk or the Ice Desktop is a major IceSphere component. Its major job is to host plugins and modules and nothing but plugins and modules, which makes IceDesk very light and fast. IceDesk has a simple drag n' drop interface to load plugins, all you need to do to add a plugin to the desktop is drag its icon on the desktop to the position you want to keep it in, so u don't need to mess with configuration files to add plugins. 3) IceBlock is the one tool to use in IceSphere to design your desktop, with it you can create buttons, icons and so much more. It is very similar to Litestep's wharf, but it is also different in many ways. You can have blocks in blocks, you can position them anywhere on the desktop, you can have multiple sets of blocks, you can even layer them by having one on top of another, and you can link the blocks to launch programs; the IceBlocks are only limited to your imagination......(free).....GO THERE!

LITESHELL..........Liteshell is a minimalist windows shell that takes up no screen space it is less than 80k uncompressed and is only a 45k download (readme included). There is only one downside at the moment: no system tray (this might be permanent). Anyway, download it, install it and try it out.....(free).....GO THERE!

LITESTEP..........The best known and most used replacement shell. According to Tin Omen, "Litestep isn't the oldest replacement shell out, but it is definitely the most popular. In practical terms, it clears off your desktop, gives you substantially more control over your interface layout, is exceedingly cool to look at, and is also an excellent way to somewhat minimize the Win9X/NT look & feel of your desktop if you are a Linux refugee forced to use 95 at work. It excels at giving you a graphicly rich desktop environment".....(free).....GO THERE!

OUTSIDER99..........Outsider 99 is a new Shell for MS Windows 95/98/NT. It takes control of your Windows Desktop and Windows Taskbar. Combine Outsider 99 with a window replacement like Window Blinds or Efx and you have a totally new OS! Many features, including these: Fully skinable Shell (so you can change the look of your taskbar like WinAmp or K-Jofol). All buttons can be customized. (I mean, you can change the look and position of a button) Full compatibility of the Windows taskbar. Very simple Skins editors, so you can made your own skin and exchange it with your friends. Shell Chooser. You have the choice to boot with Outsider 99 or Windows Explorer .....(free).....GO THERE!

REVEAL..........In the developer's own words: You might have heard Reveal referred to as a shell replacement for windows. Certainly, if you're at all familiar with shells it's an obvious label for Reveal. And it's true: a major facet of Reveal's functionality is shared by - actually, is the foundation of - recognised replacement shells (ie. customising the desktop interface). However, while this goal is the concept that other recognised replacement shells are founded upon, it's more of an obvious or logical benefit of Reveal's wider intent to give the user control of how they work and play with their computer. Now, this isn't a subtle (or not so subtle) way of making you think that Reveal is somehow a "better" kind of replacement shell. On the contrary, I want to make it plain that because Reveal is designed as a comprehensive interface engine (and also through it's other goals), Reveal is a more profound, effective and open process of developing the Human-Computer Relationship. While present replacement shells (ala litestep and evwm) have traditionally allowed you to customise the look and actions of your desktop within a certain framework, Reveal let's you go further. Hell, throw away the desktop metaphor completely and make your interface a pig sty... literally! Let the "pigs" wander around in the muck, touch them and they squeal (perhaps their name); click on them and notepad (for example) opens. Now, there's probably no conceivable reason to do this, but you can. Reveal doesn't constrain you to use any particular interface elements (like a taskbar, wharf or desktop shortcuts). It isn't some template for you to slot in some tiles and icons. In fact, Reveal is founded upon the idea of an open dialogue between you and your computer. A means to specify exactly how you want your interface to behave. So how do you do this exactly? By talking to Reveal in a language that's designed to be easy, effiecient and powerful. Learning it is easy; designing something meaningful with it is the challenge. As I'm fond of saying: Reveal... the possibilites".....(free).....GO THERE!

SERENADE..........Serenade is a shareware shell replacement for win32 platforms. It can be customized to suit the look that you want, no longer limiting the user to Microsoft's Explorer. Serenade was designed with the experienced user who wants more than Explorer offers. Note that Serenade is shareware, not freeware. Serenade is free for home and educational use, but will costs for corporate use.....(free).....GO THERE!

SHARP OS..........The basic thought behind SharpOS is to have a powerful shell in which you can use the benefits of Microsoft Windows, and still be able to customize as much of the GUI as you want. And since time is money, we have made it fast by adding fast shortcuts, and strategic placement of menus. We have also reduced the size, and made it more compact. (For example, why make a run menu twice the size, when you can make it much smaller, and still don't' have to shrink any text?).....(free--beta).....GO THERE!

SIP SHELL..........Sip Shell is a Windows shell replacement program. It replaces the boring (and slow) default application bar in your Windows 9x / NT. The Sip Program Bar, similar to the Mac Program bar, stays at the top of the screen and lets you launch programs, explore drives, access recent files, and configure Sip Features. Clicking the top left corner will open the Main Menu, while the top right corner will open a Task Manager (again similar to MacOS 'Finder'). There is a Shortcut Bar at the bottom of the screen which allows you to have your favorite shortcuts always on the screen. Sip Shell supports themes, and making a theme is a very simple task and the theme itself doesn't waste much space. Sip Shell comes with a visual configuration editor (SSCE), included in the setup package......(free).....GO THERE!

STAR OFFICE..........Latest word is that you can use this freeware office suite as a Windows shell. I make no comment, but here it is if you want it.....(free).....GO THERE!

TALISMAN..........Replaces the standard Windows Desktop through the creation of a new interface of any complexity. Talisman is capable of making your computer unique and completely responsive to your needs as a user, without ugly icons & toolbars! Manipulate up to 999 (!) different screens. Ready to use desktops collection included. ......(shareware, $25 after trial).....GO THERE!

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ALTERNATE WINDOWS MANAGERS..........In the site's own words: "While many other Operating systems exceed Windows95 in looks and usability, Win95 has one big advantage over all other systems: Software and Hardware support; If you have a need Win95 has a program. However the Windows95 interface is restrictive, and not easily replacable.... Several programmers are working on window managers to replace the current shell, Explorer. Each author putting their own take on how Windows95 should look like, whlie fighting the restraints of the Win95 GUI." This page is a collection of their efforts.....(free).....GO THERE!

BOOMIS LITESTEP RING..........A ring to take you to a whole lot of Litestep sites.....(free).....GO THERE!

BOOMIS WIN32 SHELL RING..........A ring to take you to a whole lot of shell replacement/management sites.....(free).....GO THERE!

BUBBASHELLS..........This site is intended to be a resource for those who enjoy runnning alternate shells for windows and more imprtantly a place for those who don't know much about shells and what they do to find information. A majority of the stuff you'll see here will be Serenade related......(free)....GO THERE!

CHUNKYMUNKY..........A wonderful Windows customization news site, which boasts as well a forum and hosts a number of other shell sites.....(free).....GO THERE!

ELLICIT.ORG..........News, betas, reviews. Great web design---lots of flash in their presentation--an up and coming site for customizing Windows.....(free).....GO THERE!

FLOACH PIMPIN NET..........Loads of news about most aspects of the genre. In addition, great downloads, and host to a number of the other players, including Geekmaster and Mindstorm.....(free).....GO THERE!

GEEKMASTER..........This page is dedicated to Geekmaster's insanity and module creation for Litestep, an afterstep wannabe that runs under Windows. Litestep is actually a wonderful platform for creating little utility modules that do very specific functions that can be assigned to hotkeys, or popups, or shortcuts, and so on.....(free).....GO THERE!

LITESPEED.........."The Ultimate LiteStep Resource Site".....(free).....GO THERE!

OBJECT MODEL NEWSGROUP: SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT SHELL PROGRAMMING (microsoft.public.inetsdk.programming.shell_objmodel)..........(free).....GO THERE!

SHADOWLAND..........A site devoted to shell replacement and Windows customizing.....(free).....GO THERE!

SHELLSCAPE..........Formerly Darius X, the subtitle of this site is "The Unchained Desktop" and the name is apt. This site is especially geared for newbies to the shell replacement world.....(free).....GO THERE!

TIN OMEN..........All the latest news, an attitude, and plenty to download. Tin Omen's crisp, insightful commentary on the shell community and its various phenomena is well worth reading. A "don't miss" site on your daily rotation......(free)....GO THERE!

USER INTERFACE NEWSGROUP: SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT SHELL PROGRAMMING (microsoft.public.platformsdk.ui_shell)..........(free).....GO THERE!

WINDOWS 95 SHELL USER INTERFACE NEWSGROUP: (microsoft.public.win95.shellui)..........(free).....GO THERE!


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