John Siracusa has an written an excellent article on what, in his opinion, makes a good desktop shell, concentrating mostly on the Macintosh finder.

As an experiment I have set up my Windows XP folder options to to match his recommendations as much as possible.

  1. In the folder context menu:
* Do view->thumbnails in each folder.

* Turn off the auto-arrange and the align to grid.
  1. In the folder view→toolbars menu desect all toolbars

  2. In the Folder Options panel

* General tab: select "Use Windows classic folders"

* General tab: select "Open each folder in its own window"

* View tab: uncheck "Display the full path in the title bar"

* View tab: check "Remember each folder's view setting"

* View tab: check "Restore previous folder windows at logon"

* View tab: click apply to all folders

It’s like I have a brand new GUI on my operating system! Let’s see how well I like it after using it for a while.