Mobile Shell 3.5 is one of the most customizable user interfaces for Windows Mobile, but there are still limits on what you can do. Although you can add widgets and shortcuts of your choice on multiple panels, some aspects of the shell are stationary and can’t be easily adjusted. For example, the “menu bar” at the bottom of Mobile Shell, which is an important component of the UI, is designed to be used for access to the launcher and contacts. These buttons are forced on the user, whether they want them or not. You have to manually edit files to change the bar, which can be quite cumbersome for the average user. Another way is to wait for custom themes to be built for MS3.5, but again, that’s tailored for the creator, not you.
What if we don’t want a launcher or contacts button at the bottom of the shell? Perhaps, some of us would prefer to have access to weather, agenda or no launch buttons at all. The carousel is another good example. What if we want to add or remove specific panels without having to manually edit the registry? Well, thanks to ShellExtension, we have an easy to use customizer for the menu bar/carousel found at the bottom of Mobile Shell. Continue reading to learn what can be personalized.
ShellExtension, from XDA-developers, can adjust the menu bar and more in Mobile Shell 3.x. You can select how many (0, 2 or 3) and which buttons you want placed at the bottom of the UI. The customizing can be applied simultaneously to both the Professional and Lifestyle layouts or you can set separate menu bars for each layout. So, say you want to retain the launcher and contacts for the Lifestyle screen (maybe even add an agenda button between them), but prefer to keep things clean on your Professional screen by removing all the buttons. ShellExtension will allow you to do that. I’ve removed the menu bar buttons from my layouts because I found that there is a ton of redundancy within the UI. Now, I have extra real estate for shortcuts where the menu bar buttons would normally sit.
You can also change the text and icons for buttons on the menu bar, which adds a personal touch to the UI. As mentioned earlier, panels on the carousel can be added or removed to your liking. Up to 10 panels can be added to the Lifestyle and Professional layouts as well. For a full list of options, please see the feature set below.
To install (recommended with a clean copy of MS 3.5):
- Download ShellExtension from XDA-developers
- Unzip the folder containing 2 files and place it anywhere on your device
- Run ShellExtension and start customizing
- If you decide to uninstall, please see XDA-thread for details
ShellExtension has the following options:
Auto detect of spb version 3.0.1 and 3.5 (extra functions for the 3.5 version)
Change the number of menu buttons for both (Pro and Life) and their functions
Change the number of menu buttons to 0, 2 or 3 (With 0 buttons you can put widgets on the menubar.
Changeable functions: Launcher, SPB Menu, Favorite Contacts, Weather, Weather conditions, Agenda, Time, Profile, Task manager, Wireless manager, Phone Profile, Backlight, Call logs, SPB Contacts, Contact carousel, Today, Lifestyle and Professional Home
The Launcher V35 and Contacts V35 are still changeable by the SPB menu
Change or remove the text of the buttons
Local versions of SPB Shell retrieves the correct local button text (if not changed by the user)
If you know the right number for a menu icon, you can change that too
Change the number of Lifestyle and Professional screens from 0 to 10
Change the number of Fav. Contact screens from 1 to 10 (if 1 is selected the left and right functions are functional)
Full control over your carousel screens, remove screens you don’t want and/or add (Task manager, Wireless manager not in SPB version 3.5 , Profile manager and Backlight)
Change the text to your own text of these carousel screens
Add or remove the menu bar with “back” button for Task and Profile manager
Add or remove the recycling bin in the edit menus
Program text in (English, French, Greek and Dutch) according to you SPB shell language
Easy updating qa_layouts.dat with your own manipulated xml files
Make the folders editable or removable (Extra buttons)
Change the dialer contacts button to your choice
After the changes, ShellExtension restarts the shell automatically