Classic Shell

Portable Classic Shell
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Author:  Tenzen [ Wed Apr 03, 2013 12:19 am ]
Post subject:  Portable Classic Shell

I wonder if its possible to make a portable version of Classic Shell to use portably, or even with "Portableapps"

Just with some basic functionality and saving the built-in customizations on the USB drive, and if all other Bat Files and other stuff are present in the USB drive at the target folders, then the whole thing can be portable and used on any computer we use..

Author:  Jcee [ Wed Apr 03, 2013 12:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: PortableApps

I would also like to see this :P

Author:  Tenzen [ Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: PortableApps

maybe it might work if Classic Shell had internal folder organization for User add-ons, such as "Bat Files", "VBS Files", "Icons" etc, that users could edit & manually add items, that way it would always look to its own directory for commands.. with the directory renamed as its own current directory changes... and wouldnt be dependent on certain drive letters.

alot of other programs for PortableApps have folders users place things in that might normally be elsewhere on a drive in a normal full install

Author:  Tenzen [ Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: PortableApps

They say:

Software publishers can easily make portable versions of their apps.

This page shows how:


The Development section is designed to provide resources to developers working with portable applications - both adaptations of existing apps as well as original apps designed to be portable. This section of the site is still being constructed, but you'll find it growing weekly, so check back.

Packaging Portable Apps

These links are useful for packaging software for portable use.

Author:  Ivo [ Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: PortableApps

You can't have portable shell extensions. They have to be installed and registered with Explorer.
The start menu can be made portable, however there's the question about how is it going to start automatically.

Author:  Jcee [ Wed Apr 03, 2013 8:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: PortableApps

i figured the shell extension couldnt be made portable.., the start button is mostly what im after :P, i wonder what the parameters of 'autorun.exe' are or whatever..
(files with that name on disk usually automatically run, when you click the disk), i wonder if theres a way for files to autorun just by inserting a flashdrive (prolly not, that just screams virus lol)), but still it would be nice, even if the user has to run the program manually for it to start working :P

and by can be you mean if we throw the file on a flash drive as is? or do you mean you could make it portable?

Author:  Ivo [ Wed Apr 03, 2013 8:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: PortableApps

Sure, all you need to do is copy the files and find a way to run ClassicStartMenu.exe. The settings (and things like MRU lists, custom orders for menus, etc) however will still be stored in the registry.

Author:  Jcee [ Wed Apr 03, 2013 3:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: PortableApps

and theres no way to auto-load a settings xml from portable mode? that would be nice

Author:  Tenzen [ Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: PortableApps

well, when I first began using classic shell, it wasnt set to start by itself, and i created a shortcut to the launcher, and would double-click it to begin with

since its portable, i think just double-clicking ClassicStartMenu.exe every time we plug in the USB would work great, since we're only going to use it for a few hours, and nothing will be saved or transferred to that computer

it would have to be a completely separate set-up to what we use on our own computers, for instance, we'd have to use portable Search Engines instead of Agent Ransack, and our folders etc woulnt be there... etc..

but here's some thoughts:

- if Portable Classic Shell could have a %dir% or something that we could use to automatically reference folders inside Classic Shells own install directory, our Menu could have custom folders

- the same thing to get to our Bats & vbs, etc

- And have a Bat file which automatically does a DOS transfer of all files in a specific internal folder to the System Drive, such as shellexecute, devcom, makelink, nircmd, etc

- contain all of its own shortcuts internally, for items in the internal directory, or in the same DRIVE as the Classic Shell, but in say a "Program Files" folder

- retain all of our custom DOS commands, and locations

- the ability to have multiple versions, one for Windows XP, one for Win7/8 etc, in case commands or Control Panel directories are different etc..

just some thoughts

Author:  Tenzen [ Thu Apr 04, 2013 1:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: PortableApps

i was thinking...

It might be better to just make a special portable version that has all its own built-in commands & installs with the most popular & useful tools & buttons

maybe look around the site and compile all the best / everyone's favorite buttons, and make custom internal built-in buttons for them, including ones using shellexecute

such as different shutdown timers, a search box that works with the Nirsoft portable Search Program: SearchMyFiles, various common DOS commands, Administrative Runs, common useful batch files in an internal folder, Audio Properties, Microphone Properties, Restore Points, System Restore, System Back-Up, Eject or Close DVD, the list of Run commands listed in the Tutorial Section, and include devcom, shellexecute, makelink, nircmd, etc in the dos transfer batch file/button, etc

make an internal "Start Menu Orbs" folder where its permanently pointed to, and can only read from that one folder, but you can select any PNG file in that folder

and an internal "Pinned Apps" folder, which never changes and only contains internal portable apps on the USB Drive or the ability to "Pin" from other locations on the USB drive to the CSM by creating an internal folder full of shortcuts.. but all pinned items must be from the same Flash Drive or same Drive letter location where Classic Shell Portable is run from.

Author:  Tenzen [ Thu Apr 04, 2013 1:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: PortableApps

Personally, I think you should contact them directly and tell them you would like to partner with them, so that PortableApps.exe bundles with Classic Shell, and uses the Classic Shell interface for all of its programs

or it'd at least be cool to be able to pin any of the PortableApps menu items to a portable Classic Shell

and a Classic Explorer would be awesome too..

Author:  Tenzen [ Thu Apr 04, 2013 1:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: PortableApps

about the autorun, I dont know if portableapps sets its own autorun or not.. since I always delete the autorun.inf file on my USB drive whenever they're created/whenever I see them, since I use the drive for alot of other things besides a menu.. i just run "Start.exe" from the "Portable Apps" folder.. the same way I would expect to start Classic Shell, from a separate Folder. or from within portableapps if possible, but not necessary, separate is fine

Author:  Jcee [ Thu Apr 04, 2013 6:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: PortableApps

most computers nowadays support booting from usb... you just need a decent sized usb to have windows on it with all your stuff

Author:  Tenzen [ Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: PortableApps

ya, but alot of people have to use alot of computers overly-administrated by some IT power-crazed lunatic, or Ghost image OS's with all drives Ghosted, and alot are older systems, cant support Win7, and their Bios is either locked or not worth tinkering with.. Probably dont often need a whole OS, just all your portable apps that the administrator wont let you install.. If i need an OS, i just use Windows PE or something.. anyway, u'd have to carry around WinXP & Win7, and have access to Bios... not usually worth the trouble,.. especially if you just want to use Firefox with a new Flash player, and few basic tools or something..

theres nothing wrong with their OS, really, just want to run portable apps

although, where possible, itd be great to have your own Win7 with all the favorite installs on a microSD phone card... but most often it wont work, depending on where you're at

Author:  Ivo [ Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: PortableApps

There are no plans to make Classic Shell into a fully-featured portable app. It is open-source however, so other people are welcome to try.

Author:  Tenzen [ Fri Apr 12, 2013 7:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: PortableApps

wow... seems too tricky for me...

do you need Visual Studio? is it written in VB or C++? and what program do you use to make it?

I've been thinking a portable version could serve more as a USB interface..

the main features would be the awesome CMD buttons & Custom Shortcuts

It wouldnt be that difficult to use Relative Paths would it? I think VB does that pretty easily.. does the current classic shell support relative paths in the Links?

anyway, it might work like this:
  • Create a NewButton
  • Add a Relative Link.. if you browse to an Item on a computers D, E, F drive etc, a window pops up and tells you that it is not located on the same drive as Classic Shell Portable (CSP), and cannot be added
  • Adding any program on the System Drive would work (C:\ only), without the need to type the drive path, as it does now, anyway
  • You could then create custom links to:
    • Folders anywhere on your USB drive
    • Any Portable Programs
    • Links to Bat files contained in a folder on the USB drive
    • Links to any Program Installed on your USB Drive, that didnt need to make any Registry Entries, etc..
    • Commands to Nircmd, or other custom Command Programs
    • System Commands
    • Anything on the System Drive (C:\ only)
  • All Icons would have to be either on the System Drive, or in a Folder anywhere on your USB drive
  • Start Menu Buttons would be customizable
  • Search would use AgentRansack installed on your USB drive, and Parameters maybe could even be Relative to USB search, & to Windows Drive
  • Internet Search would launch a USB Browser
  • Recent Apps would only save Items launched from the same drive as CSP is installed, and on the System Drive (C:\ only)
  • Pin to CSPM could work for only items on the CSP Install Drive as well
and that would be all thats needed.. with a few more considerations:

  • It doesnt have to be "Stand-Alone" Portable, so long as it Installs on the USB and doesnt make changes to the System Drive or Registry
  • If its not possible to simply click ClassicShellPortable.exe and have it work on Windows, then Classic Shell could have its own menu interface separate from Windows.. a bit like the one, only more open, free, customizable, & useful..
  • It could dock to the left, right, top, bottom, or any of the 4 corners.. and be drag-resizable...
  • The Menu could be Multi-Column or Scrollable, and even include its own little quicklaunch on the bottom toolbar..
Classical Explorer Portable could perhaps just be a stand-alone Explorer Program.. like Q-dir.. or not, not important.. Classic Shell is all that needed

Author:  Tenzen [ Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Portable Classic Shell

Maybe its possible to do this:

  1. Mount your USB to a Different Drive Letter, far down the line, no other computer is likely to have, like S:\
  2. Install a Second Version of Classic Shell into a new Master Folder, onto your USB Drive on S:\
  3. Copy all of the Custom commands, linked items & programs etc from other drives onto the same S:\ drive, into the same Master Folder as Classic Shell
  4. Fix all of the links in the Menu from your current Classic Shell to Point to all S:\ Drives (it might be easier to re-create the folder hierarchy from your other drives on the S:\ Drive as well, so you can just change the Drive letter, and leave the rest of the path the same.. so they are basically just empty folders with copies of anything portable Classic Shell Menu links to, such as "S:\Program Files\Portable Tools" to copy an item from your main install drive, or "S:\Computing\My Bat Files" to copy all the bat files found in your "Computing\My bat Files" folder on your F:\ Drive, for example..
  5. Create an *ISO image file of your S:\ Drive as it is, with a Drive/Folder/Any-to-ISO program
  6. Save the .ISO File on the USB Drive at the top level along with a Drive-assignable ISO Mounter
  7. Plug in your USB on the new computer, browse to the ISO file, Mount it to S:\ and double-click to start Classic Shell Menu
  8. Any data you created or edited would be saved, so long as your menu included links to permanent folder locations on your USB, or even links to the files themselves would work, if they were never moved or renamed

I wonder if this would work

I wonder if theres a Stand-alone program that can mount ISO images to a selectable Drive letter, without Administrative Privileges

or a way to always identify your USB as S:\, no matter where its plugged in, perhaps through a Firmware utility

then we could create & distribute custom ISO's for Portable use...

Author:  Jcee [ Thu Apr 18, 2013 7:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Portable Classic Shell

my computer has an S drive.. just sayin :P...

Author:  Tenzen [ Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Portable Classic Shell

well.. that would be better for you then... you could set up Classic Shell on S:\, and all related stuff on S, then just copy it over to your USB directly, since you arent likely to ever use another computer outside of yours with an S:

then all you'd have to do is create an ISO and Mount to S:, and everything should work fine..

I go to J.. I suppose that would work.. i'm running out of space though.. may need to add another 2TB

maybe I'll dedicate one small partition at the End of it to Classic Shell, as an Image-making Portable Drive

still curious if this will work.. i'll try building a fresh small Install of Classic Shell & try it when i have time...

Author:  Tenzen [ Fri Apr 19, 2013 1:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Portable Classic Shell

well, i think I may have solved the most difficult problem

Theres a super killer little Program called Windows CD Emulator

it has x64 & x86 versions, it's Installable-Portable, and has an option to disable Security Warnings

there an Actually Portable Version they make but is quite a bit different.. i dont think it'll work for this, since it auto assigns drive letters..

But I tested x64 version out on my Win7Ult64 on a limited User account, and it prompt for a password

I right-clicked the program > Compatibility > Run this Program in Compatibility Mode for Windows Vista > Apply

and it worked on the limited user account, and successfully mounted an ISO to V:\

I didnt see "Compatibility Mode for Windows XP" though... so i'll have to try it on an XP machine next week.. but thats totally awesome!

Author:  Tenzen [ Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Portable Classic Shell

well, it worked on a very strictly administrated windows XP SP3 computer...

I was able to mount, as a test, a Windows XP.ISO to a manually assigned S: Drive without a problem..

SO.. I think I'm going to go ahead with a Self-Contained Master Folder Portable Install of Classic Shell & See what I cant do to get it set up with all S:\ drive Links & Locations. then select the Master folder and create a ISO Image with Folder2ISO, at that level, of the entire folder.. and put that on the drive

Since I want to save space, most all programs and whatnot will be stored within a Master-Folder Hierarchy on my USB drive, and all the links will go through that folder's directory to their respective paths, with all Drive letters changed to S:\ or maybe U:\... as opposed to simply Enveloping them all into a single ISO folder..

this will hopefully allow for editing and moving things around and adding things to folders and so on..

pretty excited so far..

on a side note.. while I cant install normal programs on the computer due to restrictions, I was able to run the WinCDEmu.exe Installer.. then double-click the ISO.. since it assigns itself to ISO folder types.. the default on the computer was to open ISO with WinRAR... and I can seem to get WinCDEMu to open an ISO with "Open With..".

if anyone knows a way Im missing, let me know.. otherwise the little installer should work.. I dont think its an actual Installer more than it is an ISO Associator..

Author:  Tenzen [ Tue Oct 29, 2013 8:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Portable Classic Shell

I've been thinking, a smaller Portable Classic Shell could even compliment a Normal Install of Classic Shell, and both could be run Simultaneously.

If we could somehow get the Entire Shell to Float, or be Dockable to certain areas of the screen, then we could have it on the bottom left, or top left, or top right, or center, and it would work in conjunction with the Built-in Windows Start Menu, or a Start menu running the full version of Classic Shell

Then the menu could contain native built-in commands, links to Built-in System Tools & Programs, DOS Commands, Network Control, etc

then just take it with us wherever we go.

and secondary is linking to Portable Programs contained on the USB, as an additional effort, but not required for full use

then we can keep our Full Classic Shell free of those programs, so we have space for other programs

at least, it would be cool if you could find a way to run 2 start menus at a time, one of them can be moved anywhere, and each one can run independently of the other

Author:  Non sono Mandrake [ Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Portable Classic Shell

Somebody actually tried to do it here: ... c%20Shell/

It's portable, but it still requires an administrative account

Author:  redblade8 [ Thu Jan 05, 2017 2:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Portable Classic Shell

Perhaps this will help for installation without admin rights, I'm not sure if it still works though. ... /d30ffe37/

Author:  sl23 [ Thu Apr 27, 2017 4:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: PortableApps

Ivo wrote:
You can't have portable shell extensions. They have to be installed and registered with Explorer.
The start menu can be made portable, however there's the question about how is it going to start automatically.

You can have portable apps that require registration of DLL files, Lopesoft achieves this with FileMenuTools using the PortableApps Launcher.
You have three PA Launchers upon installation of FMT Portable. One for the main interface, and two for registering and unregistering the DLL files.
FMT itself has built in context menu options for (un)registering DLL's.

Even registry entries can be added, deleted, saved and rewritten to the registry as needed, as I'm sure you know.

I have just installed Classic Shell and moved the folder to an internal HDD then uninstalled it. I only require the menu, but it works fine, no issues... yet!
I try my hardest to find alternatives to installed apps as they ultimately clog your system up with junk folders, registry entries, etc. Why? When there are other, better ways of doing things.

Please don't think I'm being harsh, just my point of view. I use my PC for music mostly, so it needs to be as lean as possible.

Would you please consider changing the app over time to save settings in the apps folder, stop using the registry and maybe add the ability to register and unregister DLL's as needed? Perhaps it should simply do that on startup and shutdown of the app?


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