Updated: Windows faster with Netscape – the saga continues…and continues
Reader has bright idea while other reader points to different shell. And NT could benefit too...
The solution we gave for substituting the IE 4 shell for Netscape does work but readers have reported that by itself it seems little use. But now a reader has suggested a further tweak to the original story. (Story: Windows runs faster using Netscape shell)
"I tried the Netscape shell procedure mentioned in a recent article. Wow, it does work. On its own it's very useless but from Netscape, set your home page to a batch file which in turn then runs Explorer and you can get the file manager to launch all your programs." He said: "It speeds up your Windows. Before, my win amp suffered from lag when I dragged its window around. Now, even with Explorer opened as a task, it's almost smooth being dragged around.
"Here's an idea I am thinking of. Instead of shell=netscape, why not set the shell to the old Windows 3.1 file manager which is still in Win98. From there you can set up shortcuts to your common programs, including a shortcut to Explorer so you can do file manipulation.
"The only problem I still can't seem to solve is how to launch programs there were in your start\programs\start section, but I have only had this going now for half an hour. If you know, please tell me.
"The point is that you can still run programs, although Netscape nags you a lot with the "save to disk or open" question. And, at first glance, it does seem to run faster. All Windows services seem to still be available -- I am running GL, Quake and winamp, DOS, etc."
Meanwhile, another reader has suggested a possibly better solution. He wrote: "You might like to take a look at Litestep, where you can download an alternative shell for Windows, which provides most of the old Windows navigation and launch options, plus some new ones, in an out of this world user interface.
"It uses the same SYSTEM.INI hack to substitute itself for Explore/IE. As Explorer/IE seems to be the cause of the performance drop with Win98, this 'fixes it' and scares your boss when (s)he sees it and thinks you've installed NextStep on your PC. Keep up the good work at The Register.
As we went to press, another reader said that replacing Explorer.exe in SYSTEM.INI was an old trick. "Of course, if you replace Explorer with anything at all, Windows is likely to be faster so long as you can find a way to run programs.
"Or, if you want a PC to act as some sort of single-purpose kiosk, you can replace Explorer.exe with the program you want to run. People won't be able to mess up the Windows configuration or run programs you don't intend because there won't be any means to. (I've done this on old 486 boxes with Lotus Notes to make dedicated email kiosks; you could do it with Netscape to make Web kiosks for libraries -- there are plenty of uses for this trick.) And, if you've got an old Win3.1 replacement shell you like, you can use it using this trick. Or you can grab Win3.1's Progman.exe (did anyone actually like that interface?) and save yourself some memory. I believe it would be possible to do something similar under NT, but I've never investigated it... ®