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    This is a great description of the technical issues. That said, I wish people wouldn’t do this, because their programs are almost guaranteed to look strange on new releases.

    I haven’t yet looked into Windows 11, but I’m sure it will need some tweaking or maybe even a completely different solution

    I haven’t looked at it nearly as deeply as the author, but one thing I noticed is changing the default shell from explorer to something else causes DWM-rendered square windows, just like Windows 10. So I’m sure it supports both DWM rounded and DWM square windows, and there’s probably more cases where it chooses each.

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      but one thing I noticed is changing the default shell from explorer

      … breaks lots of things in Windows 10, sadly. I have no clue why they wrote everything to be so dependent on explorer.

      1. All the new metro/UWP/store(?) apps fail to open, which means you can’t access settings, windows defender (it starts hogging the CPU trying to open), network settings in the tray or volume settings in the tray.

      2. Things that update their GUI when file/folder changes occur no longer do this. Eg a file-open/save dialog requires you to press F5 to see if anything has changed in the folder.

      Apparently there is some fix for this called “Kiosk mode”, but it requires Win10 Education or Enterprise. https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/configuration/kiosk-shelllauncher I tried it on my Pro key Win10 and it simply didn’t work. Some MS docs pages actually say it should work on Pro, but it doesn’t, and other pages say you need Edu or Ent.


      Very sad. BB4win (last release ~13 years ago) otherwise still works pretty well on Win10, and gives me familiar-feeling virtual desktop setup with a blackbox style window manager. Other broken things of note:

      1. You have to launch it as admin, otherwise windows running as admin don’t get controlled or decorated. This means changing the SHELL reg key isn’t enough (as that launches it as your current user).

      2. Some ribbon-style apps end up with incorrect blending on their titlebars and tops (looks semi-transparent). Sadly this includes explorer.exe, but I guess you can switch to a different file manager.