Some users think that the Windows Explorer shell is a fine desktop. But if you've played around in the land of Linux for a while, that less-than-flexible Explorer interface may not work for you. One solution is to install a replacement Explorer shell. There are plenty of shells to choose from, some open source, some proprietary. Here's a rundown of five of the most appealing choices.
Note: If you'd prefer to view this information as a blog post, check out this entry in our Five Apps blog.
Aston Share also offers animated skins and themes, live wallpaper, effects, and much more. It's shareware and will run you $29.95.
ShareEnviro will especially appeal to users who want to be able to customize every aspect of their desktop. This shell is open source, so it's free of charge.
You won't be adding widgets and new and improved menus with WindowBlinds. But the enhanced appearance of the Windows 7 interface can be fairly dramatic. This shell costs $19.95
bbLean is one of two BlackBox clones we'll look at here. BlackBox was always considered one of the lightest, fastest window managers in the Linux environment. So if you want a desktop shell for Windows that is incredibly fast and minimal, bbLean is a great choice.
bbLean also offers hotkeys, window skinning, the slit, the taskbar, the icon box, and the mouse menu. Lean and fast. It's open source, so it's free of charge.
Xoblite isn't quite as lightning fast as bbLean, but it offers more features and power. Like bbLean, Xoblite is open source, so it's free of charge.