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How to change the Windows shell

The Windows shell is the main graphical user interface in Microsoft Windows. The Windows shell includes well-known Windows components such as the Taskbar and the Start menu. The process that hosts the Windows shell is Explorer.exe. The Windows shell is not a “shell” in the usual sense of the term, and the word here is used more generally.

The solution to the problem

Follow the instructions to change the Windows shell:

  1. 1

    Click the ‘Start’ button to display the ‘Start’ menu.

  2. 2

    Select ‘Run’. (The ‘Run’ dialog box appears.)

  3. 3

    In the ‘Open’ drop-down list box, type “SYSTEM.INI”

  4. 4

    Click ‘OK’. (System.ini opens.)

  5. 5

    Make a backup copy of System.ini:

  6. 6

    a) Select the ‘File’ menu and select ‘Save As…’. (The ‘Save As’ dialog box appears.)

  7. 7

    b) Type the following in the ‘File name’ box:

  8. 8


  9. 9

    c) Click ‘Save’.

  10. 10

    Locate the ‘SHELL=’ statement.

  11. 11

    Type the correct path and name of the alternate shell program.

  12. 12

    Select the ‘File’ menu and select ‘Save As.’

  13. 13

    Save the file as SYSTEM.INI in the C:\Windows directory.


The Windows UI provides users with access to a wide variety of objects necessary for running applications and managing the operating system. The most numerous and familiar of these objects are the folders and files that reside on computer disk drives. There are also a number of virtual objects that allow the user to perform tasks such as sending files to remote printers or accessing the Recycle Bin. The Shell organizes these objects into a hierarchical namespace and provides users and applications with a consistent and efficient way to access and manage objects. The entire procedure is applicable to Microsoft Windows 95.

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