I was just scooting around the web looking at different shell-related sites and there seems to be no one repository of knowledge with regard to replacement shells in general. If I had the time and web space, I'd give my take on it, but I don't, so I'll do my best here. See my post above (reply #6) and here is a tidbit from Desktopian
's "What are Replacement Shells" page:
"Replacement Shells" are programs that are run in place of the normal Microsoft explorer shell to give your
desktop a completely different look & feel. In simplest terms, they replace the default Windows interface (Start
Button, Task Bar, icons on desktop) with an interface either borrowed from other operating systems (like Unix,
MacOS, or the Amiga) or something completely new and different.
Note, in almost every case, these applications are doing things that Microsoft never intended to happen on their
operating systems. In addition, many are in early beta (or even alpha) release. That means that some bugs and
minor incompatibilities are to be expected. But the good news is that many are in active development, which means
that bugs and incompatibilities are rapidly being addressed.
A (fairly) comprehensive list of alt shells past and present can be found at Shellfront's list page
. Many of the links are broken but Google
can help, and a link copied and pasted to the WayBack Machine
can get you some shells that are long dead support-wise, but still work. Many developers of dead shells are now working in active shell projects, so hit the forums and take names.
My best advice is; 1- Read all you can before divng in. Check out online documentation as well as the shells 'readme' files. The easiest shells to start with are bbLean
(get the installer) and the Litestep Installer
2- I recommend you get a 'back door' app to get back to explorer in case things go wrong. There are many alt-shell managers like shellon
can handle getting you out of a bad spot, but I have written a small script in AutoIt3 to do just that; get you back to explorer quickly. I'll post my script (and perhaps an exe? Mouser?) in another topic. Maybe someone can re-write it in C or C++ for efficiency.
Hope that helps, and to geektechnu: If you're good with litestep, check out xDesktop1.7
. It's just about as easy to config as it gets, does at least 95% of what explorer's desk does and in the readme it tells how to use jdesk to interface with your actual desktop folder. Which is almost the remaining 5%. sweet. For wallpaper, I recommend bsetroot from the bb4win download site
. It not only handles wallpapers, (bmp and jpg maybe others) but it'll do nice gradient washes so your "plain' paper is not so plain.