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Author Topic: Windows XP Alternative shells  (Read 4982 times)
Coeluh
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« on: July 18, 2009, 03:52:51 PM »

I know of cairoshell, which is going to be a good one (i guess), when finished (they are in alpha now...)

But are there any other good ones?
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wraith808
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« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2009, 05:03:51 PM »

Litestep is the one I always used to use.  Now though, by just adding a few things to Windows, you save yourself the hassle of switching shells, so I haven't really kept a hand in.
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SKA
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« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2009, 11:53:13 PM »

Dear Wraith808

Do tell us what things can add to Win XP Pro to avoid installing Litestep shell ?

Deeply appreciated
SKA
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rsatrioadi
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« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2009, 03:03:53 AM »

I'd recommend emerge desktop and sharpE.
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Steven Avery
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« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2009, 05:33:15 PM »

Hi Folks,

Neato references.   I am tempted, even though I am sooo used to the taskbar and the always-cumbersome system tray.

Are these relatively "light" for resource use and for testing and, if necessary, uninstalling ?

e.g. when I looked at virtual desktops some of the ones seem to hook a bit low into the OS (Dexpot) while another, Goscreen, apparently was more true to simply use the Windows API.  (I did use GoScreen for awhile, and can give it a thumbs-up, but then moved away from the concept for now.  I'd rather have a spare XP puter with certain types of intensive apps like web-dev or database than load too much on one puter at one time.)

So these on the thread all look like fine products, however I really want to be pretty sure that if I install and test and uninstall that I have little residue on my system.  And that the programs are pretty stable and relatively API-light.

And can you just share a few words about what program you like, and why ?

Shalom,
Steven
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wraith808
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« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2009, 09:32:27 PM »

Dear Wraith808

Do tell us what things can add to Win XP Pro to avoid installing Litestep shell ?

There are several windows customization solutions to help you get a different look for your shell.

Of course there are the Stardock Solutions (Windowblinds, DesktopX, ObjectBar, ObjectDock, et al), but there's also the Winstep solutions (Nextstart, Workshelf, Nexus), Aston has a shell replacement, and a menuing system and widgets to go on top of your current shell.  There's also free alternatives like Styler, IconDock, RocketDock, RKLauncher, Appetizer, and I'm sure many more I don't know about.

I used to replace the explorer shell because other shells gave more bang for the buck, and explorer was just as unstable as any other, so why stick with it.  Now that it's become more robust, there's less incentive for me.  There's always compatibility issues when replacing the shell, and it's not just worth it to me anymore.
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steeladept
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« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2009, 02:15:57 PM »

There's always compatibility issues when replacing the shell, and it's not just worth it to me anymore.

AMEN!  This is why I never bothered.  Too much hassle for too little payoff.  Windows has always been stable for me (well since Win98 anyway, when I started using computers in earnest instead of as over glorified gaming consoles).  I tried once on Windows Mobile because that interface was so bad it was worth the hassle; but even then there were so many issues I just went back to the original.  It is at least a fairly stable shell at least.
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rsatrioadi
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« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2009, 11:34:05 PM »

here's my opinions:

1. litestep is resource-friendly and very customizable, but to get the max out of it you have to understand the scripting language.
resource friendliness: 8/10
customizability: 10/10
user interface: (1..10)/10 (depends on how you customize it)
friendliness in configuration: 4/10

2. sharpe looks good and friendly, and is customizable too, not as much as litestep though. but unfortunately it's not so resource friendly.
resource friendliness: 4/10
customizability: 6/10
user interface: 9/10
friendliness in configuration: 8/10

3. emerge desktop is very resource friendly and customizable, and you can also use any other .exe (even explorer) as a part of emerge desktop.
resource friendliness: 9/10
customizability: 9/10
user interface: (7..8 )/10
friendliness in configuration: 7/10

sorry for bad english  embarassed
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Target
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« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2009, 01:13:08 AM »

another one for your list - BB Lean

it's a fork of blackbox (another shell) with the focus on being, well, lean.  minimalist interface, easy to setup

I played around with shells quite a bit back in my win98 days (trying to get the most out of my aged hardware  Cry), then ran with BBLean for a while but stopped after a rebuild - as others have noted there weren't enough benefits for me to bother with it

Actually it seems like most shells are as much about eye candy as anything else - litestep is probably the best example of this (the majority of the content on their sites is skins and screenshots).  

if anyones at all interested, these sites may be of use...

shell-shocked.org (the sites been inactive for a long time, but the content is still good)
www.shellfront.org
wikipedia


« Last Edit: July 21, 2009, 01:18:56 AM by Target » Logged

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Innuendo
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« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2009, 10:57:16 AM »

I thought I replied to this thread, but I guess I forgot to hit the Post button or something.

As I said in my missing post, there's very little incentive to run an alternative shell on Windows these days. The only reason now to do it is just to see something different on your PC, but you are going to pay for it with compatibility issues. Even simple tasks like installing software can be frustrating as a lot of these alternative shells lack the code to respond to installers telling the OS where to place icons.

With the release of Vista the world of alternative shells hit a major speed bump as UAC doesn't allow the shell to be replaced. These days the world of Windows desktop customization is dominated by bolt-ons and add-ons that aim at extending Explorer functionality rather than replacing it.

If you are wanting functionality changes, it's best to sit down and list out what you want changed/improved and then set about finding a program that add that stuff to Explorer.

If, on the other hand, you are wanting to just try some new radically different UI then maybe it's time to explore the option of either dual-booting Linux or setting it up in a virtual machine. For the technically inclined, building a hackintosh might be just what the doctor ordered.
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Musubi
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« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2010, 03:43:02 AM »

I personally use Aston2 on my desktop and Aston 1 on my laptop.
Aston2-
+
widgets (like rss, calendar, harddrive, cpu, etc.).
Animated wallpapers
Stable
 easy to install and manage (compared to some open souce software)
-
Takes actually more ram than explorer.exe (Explorer.exe about 20mb - aston  - 40mb)
Because it's a windows shell some explorer.exe dependent programs won't work.
Aston 1
- It's neither freeware nor open source
+lighter (explorer.exe 20 mb of ram Aston 1 8mb)
+ fully customizable (you can easily change every icon every color and pretty much anything
+Plugins made by regular people
+ easy to install and manage (compared to some open souce software)
-Uglier than Aston 2 (Aston 1 looks like win 95 compared to Aston 2 )
- propriery (meaning not free)
http://www.astonshell.com/

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delwoode
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« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2010, 01:09:43 PM »

I am currently using Talisman desktop 3 (I used to use BBclean and before tht Aston 1.9)
I use alternative shells because they are lighter on resources, if they arent I dont use them (ie Sharpe E and emerge)
also my alternative shell has to  be easy to configure (so out goes litestep)
Talisman, Aston (Not ver 2) and BBclean are all good and light on resources. I have found VERY little in the way of incompatibility with these shells
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