What is an alternative shell?
Every OS has several layers interacting with each other.
- At the heart of the OS lays the Kernel. The Kernel will directly communicate with the hardware. This term is most known to linux users who are used to frequent Kernell updates (and hopefully not so frequent "kernel panics"). The infamous "Blue Screen of Death" is the result of the Windows kernel crashing, when this occurs, the only solution is to reboot.
- Then comes various "mid layer" components that perform specific tasks. The well known Windows processes fall into this layer.
- Finally, the visible layer is the GUI. In every modern OS, the GUI will show windows with buttons and menus. Those don't appear by magic : an application will create them. It may be Firefox, Microsoft Word, Rainmeter. But what about your desktop? It's the first thing you see when you log to your session and it's tempting to think it's something unique, well, it's not really! Actually, the desktop, the taskbar, the start menu ... are just some special windows created by Windows Explorer.
Most of those directly comes from, or are inspired by, the Linux world where multiple desktop environment have existed from the beginning.
Why use an alternative shell?
- An alternative shell will give a different look to your OS, but can also add or remove some functionalities for accessing files and functions (such multiple task bars, right click menu on the desktop to launch applications ...). Some people will find them more convenient to work with.
- An alternative shell may work with less ressources than Windows Explorer. If you have an old machine and want more power for your applications, it might be worth "lightening" the system.
- An alternative shell may increase the system security because they don't have the vulnerabilities of Windows Explorer. That being said, they have other vulnerabilities and security increase is only true because targetting those vulnerabilities is not worth the effort for most pirates.
- Most alternative shells are more customizable than Windows Explorer.
Why NOT use an alternative shell?
- Because you are happy with the way Windows looks and works.
- Because you don't want to mess up with an important part of your system.
- Because you know how Windows works and you don't want to re-learn using your computer.
- Because your computer works perfectly right now and you need it as stable as possible
- ... add your own good reason
Note : Please correct me if i said something wrong. I'm no programmer and most of my computer knowledge is self learned on the net. As we all know the net is not always the best place to find truthworthy informations