List of alternative shells for Windows

This is a list of software that provides an alternative graphical user interface for Microsoft Windows operating systems. The technical term for this interface is a shell. Windows' standard user interface is the Windows shell; Windows 3.0 and Windows 3.1x have a different shell, called Program Manager. The programs in this list do not restyle the Windows shell, but replace it; therefore, they look and function differently, and have different configuration options.

ShellSoftware licenseWindows versionsDevelopment status
BumpTopApache LicenseNoNoNoYesYesYesNoNoDiscontinued
Cairo Desktop EnvironmentApache LicenseNoNoNoNoYesYesYesYesActive[1]
Emerge DesktopGPLNoNoYesYesYesYesNoNoDiscontinued[2]
KDE Plasma WorkspacesGPLNoNoNoYesYesYesNoNoDiscontinued on Windows[3]
Packard Bell NavigatorProprietaryYesYesNoNoNoNoNoNoDiscontinued
ReactOS ExplorerGPLNoNoNoYesYesYesYesYesActive[6][7][8]
Talisman DesktopTrialwareNoYesYesYesYesYesNoNoStalled[9][10]

See also


  1. "Cairo Desktop Environment Website". Cairo Development Team. 15 Jan 2018. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  2. " has shutdown". Emerge. Archived from the original on 11 May 2015. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  3. Funk, Kevin (18 June 2016). "KDE on Windows status update". Personal Blog of Kevin Funk. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  4. phil (18 April 2007). "The road ahead is a cliff face". LDE(x) Forums. Archived from the original on 26 October 2007. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  5. Donelle (11 January 2017). "Re: Added .NET Framework interoperability to the core and started a c# binding library". GitHub. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  6. "ReactOS Explorer". ReactOS Project. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  7. "ReactOS Explorer source code". ReactOS Project. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  8. Fuchs, Martin. "ReactOS Explorer (original author, details)". Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  9. "Talisman Desktop". LightTek Software. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  10. "Talisman Desktop News, no updates since Aug 15, 2011". LightTek Software. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
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