Explorer shell replacements

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by no13, Apr 25, 2005.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. no13

    no13 Retired Major Resident Nutcase

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Posts:
    1,327
    Location:
    Wouldn't YOU like to know?
    Got any ideas?

    I've heard a lot about these...
    * HoverDesk
    * LiteStep

    I won't touch Windows Blinds or styleXP with a barge pole...

    I want explorer.exe replacement that's seamless and as non-invasive as possible.

    any help?
     
  2. Kaupp

    Kaupp Guest

    IMHO that would be Aston ,it's very light and very similar in design to explorer,taskbar ,startmenu and desktop icons are all there ,

    I use it myself and think it makes for an excellent shell replacement and I have absolutely no intention of every using explorer again ;)

    regards
    Kaupp
     
  3. GForce

    GForce Guest

    No13,

    I speak from limited experience, but here's a good place to get busy. ;)
    Whole lotta tweak'in go'in on! :cool: .... I'm sure you knew about it, thought I'd post anyway.


    GF
     
  4. gottadoit

    gottadoit Security Expert

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2004
    Posts:
    601
    Location:
    Australia
    Have a look at http://shellfront.org/ it is a forum with information on a range of different options for shell replacements

    I have been giving geoshell R4.11.10beta a try on my test pc and it has its quirks and is not a finished product but I do quite like the minimal desktop approach with geobars

    You need to edit the registry to configure things but thats not particularly hard once you have a read of the documentation on the geoshell wiki

    I have setup my quick launch bar in a "geoFlexiMenu" plugin inside a geobar and set "display as menu" off so that each icon is displayed as a clickable item (following the geoFlexiMenu documentation). This way I have access to the apps that I want with a single click and I have this geobar running vertically down the left hand side of the screen (not set as always on top)

    If I want to add/remove things from the quick launch bar I just navigate to the directory where the shortcuts are stored and add/delete as required
    (this is
    C:\Documents and Settings\yourUserName\Application Data\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch). A recycle of geoshell later and the bar has been updated

    geoshell doesn't display the desktop so I just open up explorer (or my favourite explorer replacement) and navigate upwards until I reach the desktop (if I find that I need to)

    I have another geobar down the bottom of the screen with a traditional "start menu" button a geoFlexiMenu configured to show the quick launch bar as a menu and a geoTasks plugin to show the running apps. This way the bottom of the screen looks fairly normal for anyone else using the computer (this is set to be always on top)

    I have a geobar for the system tray with the geoTray plugin loaded into it and I sit that vertically on the right hand side of the monitor (*not* set to always on top, so it doesn't waste screen space)

    Its very minimal, functional with a little bit of effort and just that little bit different. It will be nice to see the little bugs ironed out and I may keep using it for a while longer yet before I get sick of it

    NB: I don't actually have a favourite replacement for explorer for file browsing. I've tried ExplorerXP but that keeps too many file handles open for my liking, so I am still using explorer with a folder size shell extension to show the sizes of directories
     
  5. no13

    no13 Retired Major Resident Nutcase

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Posts:
    1,327
    Location:
    Wouldn't YOU like to know?
    tried xplorer2 ?
    I heard its good for "power browsing"...whatever that is...

    actually, by replacing explorer.exe... I mean the whole GUI should be gone from my sight including the file explorer.

    PS using ... [[ XP SP1a ]] ...
     
  6. gottadoit

    gottadoit Security Expert

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2004
    Posts:
    601
    Location:
    Australia
    I haven't gotten around to trying it yet, I have downloaded it but not bothered installing it...

    All I can say is that it isn't a big priority for me, I don't find the current explorer interface that offensive and the only thing that bugged me was not being able to see how much data was in a folder and the shell extension fixed that

    The main reason I changed was because I got sick of explorer.exe crashing and taking out the desktop and systray. I thought I'd try something free first and I've stuck with it so far

    Good luck in your search, the only caveat I would suggest is to watch the resources being used by your replacement (reasonably easy to do with process explorer by selecting a few more columns) and see how the resource usage changes over time
     
  7. no13

    no13 Retired Major Resident Nutcase

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Posts:
    1,327
    Location:
    Wouldn't YOU like to know?
    xplorer2 was low on resources and neat and clean, i think.

    for me ... explorer.exe is a security risk... I saw some weird stuff going on with it [tried to connect to MS sites arbitrarily, tried to connect to non existant ip addresses]
     
  8. gottadoit

    gottadoit Security Expert

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2004
    Posts:
    601
    Location:
    Australia
    I suppose it could be trying any of those things and I wouldn't know
    I denied it access to make DNS queries and also general network access

    As you say its a personal choice, one day something about it will annoy me enough to change to using something else for most tasks

    I'll make a point of having a look at xplorer2, its been sitting on my harddisk for long enough now that there have probably been 2 new versions released...
     
  9. meneer

    meneer Registered Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2002
    Posts:
    1,132
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    I tried a few and I'm not yet convinced.
    Not all of them are very stable. Configuring can be tough. And don't forget that system (or win?).ini config doesn't like space characters (\Program Files\... may not be found, leaving you without any shell).

    I prefer using another shell alltogether, combined with another OS (linux with gnome or kde).
     
  10. tBB

    tBB Registered Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    Posts:
    25
    Location:
    .de
    Using replacement shells since Win98 I would recommend eMerge http://emergedesktop.org because it is very stable, small, fast (C++) and it's not that complex as LiteStep. However, LiteStep is able to visually emulate any working environment and has by far the most plugins. GeoShell is OK too but as was mentioned, still has some bugs.
     
  11. yahoo

    yahoo Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Posts:
    290
    Location:
    nowhere
    I was trying alternative shells too. Just like meneer, I have tried a few and I'm not yet convinced either.

    Popularity is one of my criteria at this time. It would be easier for my to get help if there are a lot of other users using the same shell. From this point, three alternative shells get on my list: Aston, LiteStep, and BB4Win. It seems that they get more users than other alternative shells (If I have missed some other shells, please point it out:) ).

    Aston would be my choice if it is free. It is easier to be configured among alternative shells, and have many good features. Well, it just comes with a price. LiteStep had the largest number of users. As a result, there are a lot of tutorials, as well as a lot of extensions, available online. It is claimed to be the most flexible and powerful one. The side effect is that it is also the most difficult one to be configured. So far I am using BB4Win. BB4Win is not a feature rich one. It is designed to do things that must be done, so there is not really a lot to be configured. This fits my goal :D . The shortcoming is that you may not be able to get a feature that you want.

    From what I read and what I experienced, it seems that most of the shells are stable itself. But when plugins (or extensions) are added, things can become unstable. Another fact is also that these alternative shells are more or less quite difficult to be configured.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2005
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.