[Update: Newer releases are available]
As a follow-on from the last release, I've uploaded the latest iteration of my EvilDesk shell replacement for Windows XP.
The changelog goes something like this:
- much more robust installer, which should address most of the problems that were reported with the last release.
- improved window state tracking. Console windows now respect the desktop state.
- improved multi-mon behaviour.
- improved window title display for really long window titles when alt-tab'ing.
- new putty context menu plugin (read the docs for details)
- experimental tweaks for changing the target slit and gravity for plugins (so you don't have to have everything on the right hand side of the screen). Registry editor required; no GUI. See docs for details.
- fleshed out the Tweakage menu, making it more useful. The shell will use RunAs for the system level items, for those of us running without admin privileges.
Some random notes/comments:
- During my debugging, I found that WinLogon doesn't like spaces in paths, so I've changed the default installation destination to \\EvilDesk on your system drive. Sorry about that, but it is a Windows bug.
- You MUST have admin privileges to install the package; the installer will not modify your shell, so this is safe. Most people will be running with full admin rights anyway. (if you're one of those people, you should be reading The Non-Admin Blog)
- Sadly, you can't use RunAs to invoke the control panel without invoking explorer.exe for the admin user. I'm open to suggestions. For now, control panel is launched using your privileges via explorer.exe.
- On a related note, people running XP Home might not be able to launch the control panel. Tough luck, you should be running XP Pro anyway.
- Gaim still has weird interactions (probably other gtk+ apps will do too). If you rapidly switch desktops, the gaim window sometimes gets mashed up, as though its layout engine has gotten confused. Not sure if thats my bug or GTK's bug. The workaround is to close the chat window when that happens.
- Thunderbird/firefox: again, rapid desktop switching sometimes confuses them, causing them to not restore from minimized state properly. I have added code to spot this situation and make it less inconvenient. Again, not sure if (how?) it's my bug, or a bug in the toolkit used by those apps.
- MSDN help browser: seems to do something funky with its top-level window (could be GDI+ related) that has some weird interactions when using the Win-W popup menu in evildesk.
If you want to download and install it, you should first read the following disclaimer:
The software is provided as-is in binary form only with no warranty. I am not liable for any bad mojo, be it mental, physical or meta-physical, that arises from its use. By downloading it, you assert that you will not decompile or reverse engineer the software in any way, and that you will not re-distribute it to any third party in any form without my express consent. All rights reserved; All liabilities disclaimed.
- Download evildesk.msi
- As the Administrator, install it, by double clicking on it. Note that this act will not change the shell of the administrator.
- As the user(s) that plan to use the shell, login and run the "Set Shell" shortcut from the Start Menu:
Start | Programs | Evil, as in Dr. | Shell | Set Shell
- You should now reboot. Yes, rebooting sucks, but if you don't reboot, the Win-E will cause explorer.exe to load the taskbar. This is an issue with explorer.exe and affects all replacement shells. Sorry.
- When next you login, you'll be running my shell.