- Great Painters
- Accounting
- Fundamentals of Law
- Marketing
- Shorthand
- Concept Cars
- Videogames
- The World of Sports

- Blogs
- Free Software
- Google
- My Computer

- PHP Language and Applications
- Wikipedia
- Windows Vista

- Education
- Masterpieces of English Literature
- American English

- English Dictionaries
- The English Language

- Medical Emergencies
- The Theory of Memory
- The Beatles
- Dances
- Microphones
- Musical Notation
- Music Instruments
- Batteries
- Nanotechnology
- Cosmetics
- Diets
- Vegetarianism and Veganism
- Christmas Traditions
- Animals

- Fruits And Vegetables


  1. Architecture of Windows NT
  2. AutoPlay
  3. Bill Gates
  4. BitLocker Drive Encryption
  5. Calibri
  6. Cambria
  7. Candara
  8. Chess Titans
  9. ClearType
  10. Consolas
  11. Constantia
  12. Control Panel
  13. Corbel
  14. Criticism of Windows Vista
  15. Dashboard
  16. Desktop Window Manager
  17. Development of Windows Vista
  18. Digital locker
  19. Digital rights management
  20. Extensible Application Markup Language
  21. Features new to Windows Vista
  22. Graphical user interface
  23. Group Shot
  24. ImageX
  25. INI file
  26. Internet Explorer
  27. Internet Information Services
  28. Kernel Transaction Manager
  29. List of Microsoft software codenames
  30. List of Microsoft Windows components
  31. List of WPF applications
  32. Luna
  33. Mahjong Titans
  34. Meiryo
  35. Microsoft Assistance Markup Language
  36. Microsoft Expression Blend
  37. Microsoft Expression Design
  38. Microsoft Gadgets
  39. Microsoft Software Assurance
  40. Microsoft Virtual PC
  41. Microsoft Visual Studio
  42. Microsoft Windows
  43. Microsoft Windows Services for UNIX
  44. MS-DOS
  45. MSN
  46. MUI
  47. Object manager
  48. Operating system
  49. Original Equipment Manufacturer
  50. Outlook Express
  51. Peer Name Resolution Protocol
  52. Protected Video Path
  53. Purble Place
  54. ReadyBoost
  55. Recovery Console
  56. Remote Desktop Protocol
  57. Security and safety features of Windows Vista
  58. Segoe UI
  59. User Account Control
  60. WIM image format
  61. Windows Aero
  62. Windows Anytime Upgrade
  63. Windows Calendar
  64. Windows CE
  65. Windows Communication Foundation
  66. Windows Disk Defragmenter
  67. Windows DreamScene
  68. Windows DVD Maker
  69. Windows Explorer
  70. Windows Fax and Scan
  71. Windows Forms
  72. Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs
  73. Windows Hardware Engineering Conference
  74. Windows Live
  75. Windows Live Gallery
  76. Windows Live Mail Desktop
  77. Windows Mail
  78. Windows Media Center
  79. Windows Media Player
  80. Windows Meeting Space
  81. Windows Mobile
  82. Windows Movie Maker
  83. Windows Photo Gallery
  84. Windows Presentation Foundation
  85. Windows Registry
  86. Windows Rights Management Services
  87. Windows Security Center
  88. Windows Server Longhorn
  89. Windows Server System
  90. Windows SharePoint Services
  91. Windows Shell
  92. Windows Sidebar
  93. Windows SideShow
  94. Windows System Assessment Tool
  95. Windows System Recovery
  96. Windows Update
  97. Windows Vienna
  98. Windows Vista
  99. Windows Vista editions and pricing
  100. Windows Vista Startup Process
  101. Windows Workflow Foundation
  102. Windows XP
  103. Windows XP Media Center Edition
  104. XML Paper Specification
  105. Yahoo Widget Engine

This article is from:

All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License: 

Windows Shell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


In computing, Windows Shell is the most visible aspect of the Microsoft Windows line of operating systems. The shell is the container inside of which the entire user interface is presented, including the Task bar, the Desktop, Windows Explorer, as well as many of the dialog boxes and interface controls, but also describes the past shells, like MS-DOS Executive and Program Manager.

The default Windows shell is called Explorer (confusingly, the same as the MS file browser) this is the program that determines the look of your desktop, i.e. it creates the task bar, system tray, start menu etc.

Windows 1 and 2 - Early UI

Windows 1.0 GUI
Windows 1.0 GUI

Just after the PC hit the market (August 1981), a project named "Interface Manager" started. It was renamed to "Windows" because the programmers talked very much about the zones called "windows" on the screen. Rowland Hanson, the head of marketing at Microsoft, convinced the company that the name Windows would be a more appealing name to consumers. The first Windows pre-version was presented in November 1983. It used Word for DOS-like menus at the bottom of the screen. The 1.0 version (it was numbered 1.01; it is rumored that version 1.00 was actually released but quickly pulled due to a severe flaw), released in November 1985, used pull-down menus like the early Macintosh System 1.x (Microsoft actually licensed GUI elements from Apple). The shell was a file manager (not a program manager) called "MS-DOS Executive". Applications could be launched from the MS-DOS Executive which minimized itself. The minimizing (called "iconing") was done by transforming the windows into an icon which was placed at the bottom of the screen, in a special minimized windows zone. The maximizing (called "zooming") could extend the window over the minimized windows zone. Windows could not be overlapped, but they were instead "tiled". As a result, two windows could not be "zoomed" at the same time.

Windows 2.0 was an interface-based release. The new window controls were introduced with this release, with the new "minimize" and "maximize" terminology. Windows could be overlapped and the minimized window icons could be moved freely on the desktop.

OS/2 1.x

As of version 1.1, launched in 1988, the new OS/2 operating system from IBM introduced a new GUI, called the Presentation Manager. The default shell (a program) was a program manager (not a file manager like in Windows 1.x and 2.x) called "Start Programs". Versions 1.2 and 1.3 renamed "Start Programs" to "Desktop Manager", added 16-colour icons support and many more.

Windows 3.x, NT 3.x - The First Revolution

Windows 3.x GUI
Windows 3.x GUI

Windows 3.0, introduced in May 1990, inherited the OS/2 GUI. The new "Program Manager" was an advanced "Desktop Manager". A background could be put on the desktop, and the window controls were redesigned. The buttons were all in 3-D appearance (the windows weren't). As a result, the Windows 3.0 operating environment was a success. Later versions of Windows 3.x introduced Screen Savers.

The new operating system from Microsoft, "Windows NT", featured the same GUI in the first version (3.1), like Windows 3.1x.

Windows 95C, 98 - "Nashville"

The growing popularity of the World Wide Web forced Microsoft to release its own browser, dubbed "Internet Explorer" which was based on technology licensed from Spyglass[1]. In early 1996, Netscape announced that the next release of its browser, Netscape, would completely integrate with Windows and add a new shell, codenamed "Constellation". Microsoft started working on a similar Internet Explorer release, codenamed "Nashville". Internet Explorer 4.0 was redesigned and resulted in two products: the standalone IE4 which replaced the Windows shell with a new "Active Desktop" shell and the future Windows releases, like Windows 95C and Windows 98, which integrated Internet Explorer and Active Desktop in the shell.

Georgia, Neptune and Tiger

Windows 2000 (NT 5.0) also integrated Internet Explorer into the shell and added some new capabilities, such as extended Start Menus and some eye candy. This interface was codenamed "Georgia". Windows Me also added these features. In the meantime, some new Windows versions were planned, "Neptune" and "Odyssey".

Neptune and Odyssey were cancelled in January 2000 and replaced with "Whistler". But before that, an early alpha release of "Neptune" appeared. It featured Activity Centers, which were also cancelled along with "Neptune" and "Odyssey".

"Tiger" was a short-lived idea for continuing the DOS/9x platform. Some fake screenshots were leaked, featuring a new task-based, 2000 white-style interface.

Odyssey, Whistler - The skinning engine

"Odyssey" was designed to have a skinning engine similar to Stardock's WindowBlinds. It was later incorporated into "Whistler" (the "skin" name was changed to "visual style"). Two visual styles were developed: one "Professional" and one "Home". Early builds of "Whistler" (later named Windows XP) shipped only with the "Professional" visual style (later renamed to Watercolor), which was developed initially for Odyssey, but later Microsoft polls showed that consumers were interested in the "Home" visual style, which later replaced Professional/Watercolor.

XP, Server 2003 - "Luna", "Royale"

Windows XP's Luna visual style
Windows XP's Luna visual style

The "home" skin became known as "Luna", and this refined version featured other UI elements, such as a reworked Start Menu and Control Panel. It was shipped with Windows XP. It received an update with Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, called "Royale". Windows Server 2003 featured the same Luna UI.

Longhorn - Plex, Slate and Jade

See also: Development of Windows Vista

The future Longhorn operating system was designed to have a new interface called Aero. In the early alpha builds, Longhorn featured some interfaces called Plex, Slate and Jade, which were some interim steps between Luna and Aero. The Aero developments were at the beginning Plex-ish, but later transformed in the modern Aero.

Vista - Aero

See also: Windows Aero
Aero in Windows Vista
Aero in Windows Vista

The Aero UI was introduced with Longhorn build 5048 and was developed along with the Vista builds, Beta 1 and the CTPs. The tiers are called "Aero Glass", "Aero Express" and "Aero Basic".


  1. ^ Eric Sink (April 15, 2003). Memoirs From the Browser Wars. Retrieved on 2006-06-24.
Retrieved from ""