Replacing the Explorer Shell in Windows 7

by Mitch Tulloch [Published on 11 Oct. 2011 / Last Updated on 11 Oct. 2011]

How to replace the Windows Explorer shell in Windows 7 with another shell.

As in previous versions of Windows, you can still replace the Windows Explorer shell in Windows 7 with a different shell such as the command prompt or the Windows PowerShell command shell. To do this, open Registry Editor and locate the following registry entry:

Key: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

Name: Shell

Type: REG_SZ

Value: Explorer.exe

For example, you can change the Value to Cmd.exe or PowerShell.exe and then log off the computer and log back in again.

Note that you may even be able to run some third-party shell applications, though Microsoft obviously doesn't support the replacement shell itself (the vendor will have to support it).

If you have feedback concerning this tip, please email me. And be sure to check out my website!

The Author — Mitch Tulloch

Mitch Tulloch is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, networking, and security. He has been repeatedly awarded Most Valuable Professional (MVP) status by Microsoft for his outstanding contributions in supporting users who deploy and use Microsoft platforms, products and solutions. Mitch has published over two hundred articles on different IT websites and magazines, and he has written or contributed to almost two dozen books and is lead author for the Windows 7 Resource Kit from Microsoft Press. For more information, see .

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