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Windows shell

The meaning of «windows shell»

The Windows shell is the graphical user interface for the Microsoft Windows operating system. Its readily identifiable elements consists of the desktop, the taskbar, the Start menu, the task switcher and the AutoPlay feature. On some versions of Windows, it also includes Flip 3D and the charms. In Windows 10, the Windows Shell Experience Host interface drives visuals like the Start Menu, Action Center, Taskbar, and Task View/Timeline. However, the Windows shell also implements a shell namespace that enables computer programs running on Windows to access the computer's resources via the hierarchy of shell objects. "Desktop" is the top object of the hierarchy; below it there are a number of files and folders stored on the disk, as well as a number of special folders whose contents are either virtual or dynamically created. Recycle Bin, Libraries, Control Panel, This PC and Network are examples of such shell objects.

The Windows shell, as it is known today, is an evolution of what began with Windows 95, released in 1995. It is intimately identified with File Explorer, a Windows component that can browse the whole shell namespace.

Windows Desktop is a full-screen window rendered behind all other windows. It hosts the user's wallpaper and an array of computer icons representing:

Windows Vista and Windows 7 (and the corresponding versions of Windows Server) allowed Windows Desktop Gadgets to appear on the desktop.

Windows taskbar is a toolbar-like element that, by default, appears as a horizontal bar at the bottom of the desktop. It may be relocated to the top, left or right edges of the screen. Starting with Windows 98, its size can be changed. The taskbar can be configured to stay on top of all applications or to collapse and hide when it is not used. Depending on the version of operating system installed, the following elements may appear on the taskbar respectively from left to right:

Task switcher is a feature present in Windows 3.0 and all subsequent versions of Windows. It allows a user to cycle through existing application windows by holding down the Alt key and tapping the Tab ↹ key. Starting with Windows 95, as long as the Alt key is pressed, a list of active windows is displayed, allowing the user to cycle through the list by tapping the Tab ↹ key. An alternative to this form of switching is using the mouse to click on a visible portion of an inactive window. However, Alt+Tab ↹ may be used to switch out of a full screen window. This is particularly useful in video games that lock, restrict or alter mouse interactions for the purpose of the game. Starting with Windows Vista, Windows Desktop is included in the list and can be activated this way.

Windows 7 introduced Aero Flip (renamed Windows Flip in Windows 8). When the user holds down the Alt key, Aero Flip causes only the contents of the selected window to be displayed. The remaining windows are replaced with transparent glass-like sheets that give an impression where the inactive window is located.[3]

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Windows Shell namespaceFile ExplorerList of alternative shells for Windows
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