Posted by: drew | March 9, 2006

My Windows Interface – Less is More

Just in case anyone else is in to alternative Windows Shells and such, I thought I’d post what I use. I abandoned Explorer.exe as my shell long ago in favor of more customizable and more memory efficient ones. I tend to be a minimalist when it comes to my desktop and interface. I rarely ever see my desktop, so having icons and shortcuts on it is useless to me.

I have tried a lot of opensource shells and have settled on Geoshell. This shell gives me a fully customizable doc that I can load various plug-ins in to. My favorite is the Command-Time plug-in, which gives me a time/date section that becomes a command line entry when you click on it. You can create Aliases to launch programs with a single word or even letter.

I use a “Terminal” skin, which I always prefer. Perhaps it was the years on the Unix terminals during University, but I even set my code editors such as the .NET IDE to use neon green text on a black background…see pics below the fold if you’re interested.

The other part of Geoshell is that you don’t have icons on a desktop. You can right-click anywhereon the desktop and a customizable menu pops up. This works for me very, very well. Further, Geoshell uses far less memory than Exploder.exe.

I also, from time to time, use Stardock’s free ObjectDock utility. This gives you a Mac OSX style program launching tool that also contains plug-ins.

The last part of my anti-exploder.exe plan is that I use the freely available xplorer2 lite. This is a dual pane file explorer with advanced filtering, etc. I can’t deal with a single pane anymore.

To see images of my desktop and those tools, go below the fold.

This shot shows the Geoshell dock at the bottom and the right-clik menu:

Desktop w/Geoshell

The ObjectDock tool looks like this:ObjectDock

Those spherical icons come from a set I created for this very purpose. I created an icon for all of my often-used programs:

Lastly, I used to use a program called Rainlendar. This program gives you a small calander on your desktop that has various plug-ins, such as a TODO list. Since I started using the GoogleDesktop bar, I’ve stopped using that. It’s still a neat tool.

So that’s it. If you’re interested in any of this, let me know. I’m always happy to create new sphere icons, etc for anyone who can use them. I keep meaning to expand the set and post it to


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