Blackbox Tutorial - Part I: The Shell

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OK, I finally realize I can't postpone this anymore - the interest runs high and if I wait for more corrections and additions I will probably never submit it. So, here is my Blackbox Tutorial. It ain't perfect, it ain't complete, but it will do for the time being...
There are 3 parts, so far - The Shell, The Plugins, and The Styles. Knowing me, will probably add more on the way... :D
Have fun and happy Blackboxing!


OK, I have two sets of instructions for Blackbox - the short one and the loooong one. I am sure most people will read the short one, tho the long one is more detailed and safer. Here we go...

The short one

1) Dowload Blackbox for Windows. There are three clones: bb4w (, xoblite (, and bblean ( my personal favorite which I strongy recommend).

2) Create a folder under, say, c: named Blackbox. (c:Blackbox). Unzip the con

tents of the zip file there. Subfolders are created automatically.

3) Double click Blackbox.exe. Easy!

If u want a full installation (Explorer, as shell, will be replaced by Blackbox (recommended))

1) If u downloaded bb4w 0.90, after unzipping files double click install.bat. If u downloaded bblean, type in the commandline blackbox -install.

2) If u want to uninstall: for bb4w 0.90, double click uninstall.bat. For bblean, type blackbox -uninstall.

The long one (but recommended)

Win XP is the best way to run Blackbox, but the clone I'm going to suggest works perfectly well with Win 98/Me/2000. Yes, it will radically change ur desktop. I don't know if u had any experience with alternative shells before, but I'll tackle this as if u hadn't.
Windows' interface works with a certain shell, or GUI (graphic user interface) application, Explorer. Yes, Explorer is not only a file browser but the very heart of the Windows system. Delete Explorer and Windows crash. Now, Explorer determines the look and the usage of every component like the desktop, the taskbar, the systembar etc. etc.
Many people don't like the looks of Windows' native shell, or the fact that it's heavy (which means that it eats up ur memory). So, many different shells were developed during the last 6 or 7 years, most of them based on Linux' window managers. Litestep, the most popular alternative shell around, for instance, is based on Afterstep, a Linux manager, and Blackbox for Windows is based on Blackbox, another Linux window manager. In fact, B for W and B for L are so similar that their styles (themes) are interchangeable. Which means that u can choose from about 3,000 styles (themes) around the web.
Now, what an alternative shell does is a) make things lighter (usually). Less CPU usage, less RAM needed, faster responses, and b) change the looks completely (or not). What u saw in my screenies was Blackbox in full motion - at the top, a task bar including choice between different desktops (yes, u can have as many desktops as u wish) and a clock. On the right, there is a "wharf bar" (program launcher), a more graphical clock and the desktop management plugin for 6 desktops (I don't need more). And, at the bottom, a "slit" (something like a drawer) with some plugins running, like a choice of styles, a waste bin manager, a window skinner, an audio player including volume slider(s), application shortcuts (the icons) and a systembar with running system applications. Now on the right there is a sidebar I created using bbinterface. It's not released yet, but will be, probably next week. More later...
On the left, u can see the menus (as many as u wish) which can be accessed by right-clicking on the desktop. The menus are something like the start/programs/all programs thingie under the Explorer shell, but are floating around and much more flexible.
Now, what makes Blackbox unique is the ability to change the colors and the textures of all its components on the fly - which means I can change everything, including the wallpaper and windows trimmings, within fractions of a second. So, I can have 3,000 styles, 3,000 wallpapers and lotsa plugins on my hd and create as many as I wish within 15 minutes each - authoring styles is VERY easy.

There are currently three "branches" of Blackbox (under Windows, there is only one under Linux).

1) Blackbox for Windows (bb4w)

2) Xoblite

3) BBLean

I personally use BBLean since it's more flexible, light, and impressive. This is the dl link:

Now, if this is ur first time with an alternative shell, as an added precaution I'd advise u to use a shell switcher, like ShellOn or Carapace (I personally use ShellOn 2.0, Carapace's link is, thanx sryo for the info.
First, download Blackbox following steps 1 and 2 in the short instructions section above. Don't run Blackbox and don't install it as shell.
Second, download and install the shell switcher.
Third, add Blackbox as an alternative shell in the shell switcher's configuration window. Read instructions carefully.
The shell switcher may ask u to reboot. Do so and when the "choose shell" window appears, choose Blackbox.
Voila! Ur first Blackbox session.

What u will see is a basic configuration, but remember: Blackbox is highly customizable. U will need sometime, however, to get accustomed to it. U can switch between shells, if u like, so in fact u don't ever have to uninstall Blackbox: u can use Explorer AND Blackbox.
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There is a detailed explanation on YouTube