GeoShell is a replacement shell for the Microsoft Windows operating system. It replaces the default Explorer interface. It features menubars–“geoBars”–that can be dragged-and-dropped anywhere on the user’s screen. There are also desktop menus that can be triggered whenever a user clicks anywhere on the desktop, and global keyboard shortcuts. It also has plugins that other developers write to add functionality, and skins to change its appearance. Most settings are configured by directly editing the Windows registry, although more recent versions of GeoShell have a configuration utility, GeoConfig, which simplifies configuration tasks.
The original code was released under the GPL by author Geoffrey Elliott (“geO”), circa 1998. It competed in the Explorer shell replacement market, which was mainly dominated by LiteStep. GeoShell uses the Windows registry instead of plain text files for its settings, and visible objects can be re-located by drag-and-drop. GeoShell is advertised as a minimalist shell replacement due to its simple configuration and low resource usage.
Late in the 4.x series, Geoshell began to support more graphical effects including skinning and alpha transparency for Windows 2000 and XP.
WinShellEx is a component developed by the GeoShell team to ease third-party shell development. It was introduced to GeoShell in the 4.11.10 Beta.
WinShellEx restarts GeoShell if it has been unexpectedly stopped for whatever reason. However, its primary function is similar to that of the Windows Notification Tray (aka: System Tray, systray) that can persist when the main shell is shut down or crashes. It can also refresh a main shell’s system tray list when that shell is started or restarted after applications are running and have placed icons in the system tray.
Additionally, WinShellEx can be used by multiple shells without needing to reboot to change shells, and it allows any shell using it to run on top of the default Windows Explorer shell (as GeoShell could already do).