How to improve the look of the Win 3.1 GUI?

Microsoft Windows v.3.11 for workgroups...
July 18, 2010 at 14:13:40
Specs: Windows 3.1, 286
How we can enhance the appearance of Windows 3.1 / WFW 3.11?
I know ALL3D and another program that allows you to have an explosive effect when you open the windows (how did MacOS Classic).

However, browsing the web I found this screenshot:
how did the author give this 3D look to the edges of the windows, title bar and menus ?

See More: How to improve the look of the Win 3.1 GUI?

July 19, 2010 at 07:14:01
several programs are running in the background

the windows desktop is open to all programs
so that a program can doodle all over everything else

you can even adjust other programs windows

any visual aspect that a programmer expects windows to handle by default might be adjusted

nothing stops a programmer from managing his own visual effects

the borders are open unless closed :P

wat say?

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July 19, 2010 at 10:53:57
There are several shells out there for windows 3.x. There is one to make Windows look like OS/2 Warp which I have not tried as yet.

One I have tried is Calmira II:

It makes it look more like Windows 9x, but there is also an XP shell.

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July 19, 2010 at 12:27:59
I mean, only programs that change the appearance, without adding functionality! Calmira adds functionality to the desktop rather than change the interface.
what I'm looking for is some patches such as WindowBlinds for Windows 9x, ShapeShifter for MacOSX, Chameleon for MacOS Classic, VisualPrefs for AmigaOS Classic, I hope I explained well....

Watler, Do you know the name of the application that allows you to give a 3D look to the appearance of all windows under Windows 3.1 as in the screenshot I posted?

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July 19, 2010 at 18:31:55
I forget the name

I archive freeware
it was shareware

did you ask at toastytech?

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July 19, 2010 at 23:54:06
OK. I know what you mean. I think I might know where that program is.

At this site there are several archived CD ROMs from the 1990s. This one in particular has some of these programs, such as WinMenu (old shareware) which might not be what you are looking for, but there is much more to explore and I know I have seen it somewhere amongst this massive pile of software - enough to browse for lifetime.

This directory has that program I mentioned...

If you browse up toward the main directory you will find a devastating amount of freeware and shareware for 3.x

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July 20, 2010 at 11:28:14
MisterGopher: thanks for the advice.

watler: toastytech does NOT remember the name of this shareware prog.

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July 23, 2010 at 15:48:06
Have a look at See the description for the programs running, altering the "look and feel" of Win 3.1.

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July 31, 2010 at 08:47:00
thought about it
mask 98

wat say?

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August 1, 2010 at 11:32:51
no, it's NOT Mask98.
Mask98 is a Windows98-like GUI, while the tool i'm looking for is very different:
anyway, thanks.

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March 4, 2011 at 08:09:13
I think I found the file you might be looking for:

The file in the list you need is:

This gives you a Macish desktop...

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March 5, 2011 at 18:56:55
I absolutely believe you can't beat the workplace shell.. it was written by an IBM employee for os2 users while running win31, and it is highly professional and complete, and stable.. it's kind of a blend between the OS2 2.1 presentation manager and Warp interface...

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April 18, 2011 at 06:11:20
Another enhancement that might have been put in that original screenshot is smartpaper - an old shareware program.

You have to copy:


into some directory. This will allow you to have backgrounds for MDI (multi-document interface) programs such as file manager, program manager and certain others. It'll recognize a third party MDI and put its advert BMP in the background to allow you to change it with a right click. You have to insert it into the startup folder to keep it on everytime you use Windows, but from my tests, it's quite cheap on resources to have running.

It's a pretty clever program that doesn't arbitrarily nuisance itself into autoexec.bat, system.ini or win.ini, but has its own .ini file it creates for remembering the bitmaps you choose for your MDIs.

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