Thursday, August 14, 2008


Blackbox for Windows

Blackbox are alternative replacement shells that allow you to interact with your operating system in much the same way as Windows Explorer. However, Blackbox dispenses with some, or many, of the graphical features which are a staple of the Windows model. For example, you won't find icons in Blackbox menus, nor will you be able to drag menu items to reposition them. Generally speaking, you will find a Blackbox environment appears spartan and minimalistic compared to a normal Windows interface.

Currently there are two original shells, three or more forks.


The original Blackbox for Windows shell is BB4Win, originally developed by azathoth. While BB4Win is no longer actively developed, is still an important web page for important announcements and updates.


Xoblite was the first fork of the BB4Win code, and is developed by qwilk. To date, there have been 3 major generations of the xoblite shell, bb1, bb2, and most recently bb3 (released December 31, 2005). For more information about xoblite and to download it, head over to


bbLean was originally called BBLC or BB Lean and Clean, it is (was?) developed by grischka. The last official release of bbLean, as well as other useful tools created by grischka can be found here.


bbLeanMod is a project initially started by Alex3D, and carried on by nocd5 to supplement development since the disappearance of grischka. A few issues have been resolved and enhancements have been made to bblean 1.16 source code release. The changes are summarised on the bbLeanMod page. See the Change Log for links to the detailed forum thread and to downloads.

Concern has been expressed that the bbLeanMod releases no longer work with Windows 9x, but they should work fine with Windows 2000 and XP.


Is a more recently started project that seems to have been underway is bbLeanless which builds upon bbLean and is aimed at being as minimalistic as possible if your a real performance guru you could probably live to enjoy it after you get accustomed with it. I strongly suggest getting one of the more full featured version first however and tweaking bbLeanless using some of the configuration files from another version to make it user friendly at least if you want quick menu shortcuts setup for example.


bbClean was started by Zeytok - with its first release being 18 months after the start of bbLeanMod. As bbClean's first release included only a few of the bbLeanMod enhancements, it can be regarded as a direct fork of bbLean. It was originally known as bbLeanModMod, but was renamed to bbClean after a short while. It now rests in the hands of noccy and contains mostly enhancements. The forum thread for bbClean can be found here.


bluebox was originally developed by nivenh and is the only Blackbox for Windows shell not based on BB4Win. While bluebox seems to follow fluxbox methods of rendering and functioning, it really is blackbox/fluxbox only in appearance.

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