WPS for Windows v1.51- by Brian L. Juergensmeyer

Have you ever had someone come in and look over your shoulder while you were multitasking several applications? They say, "That looks great, but that interface looks bizarre!" You tell them that OS/2's interface is very intuitive and easy to work with but they remain unconvinced and are unwilling to buy OS/2 until they are comfortable with their ability to work with the Workplace shell.

Or maybe you, like me, still have Windows 3.1 on your system. Maybe you haven't been able to find an equivalent OS/2 program to that one Windows program that you must have. Or, maybe you've found it but just can't afford it. And you just hate Program Manager.

Well, there is a FREE answer to all these problems. Workplace Shell for Windows is an IBM Employee Written Software (EWS) program that will transform Windows 3.1 into something that looks and feels almost exactly like OS/2. Really!

Installation is very simple. Simply download WPS for Windows, unzip it, start Windows (or Win-OS/2) and run the included setup program. That's all! The install program is very straightforward, explains exactly what will happen and reassures you that backups of your .INI files will be made and complete instructions for backing out of the install are easily available.

After the required restart of Windows, you will discover a desktop that might fool even a seasoned Warp junkie. There is a Template folder that includes templates for:

Dragging is now accomplished by the same method that is used in OS/2 (i.e. you drag with the right mouse button and not the left). Right clicking on any object will bring up the pop-up menu for that object. Right clicking on the desktop will bring up the desktop pop-up menu (which looks almost exactly the same as in OS/2). You can even nest folders (place a folder in a folder in a folder), which is one of the most glaring shortcomings of Program Manager. WPS for Windows also creates a Windows system folder that includes the Windows Control Panel and a Drives object. Unfortunately, the drives object only allows Icon and details views instead of the Tree view that I usually use for viewing drives, but that seems a minor thing.

There are also some minor differences between OS/2's Workplace shell and WPS for Windows. In WPS for Windows, you will notice that, in the settings notebook for an object, you cannot choose to open another view for that object when it is double clicked again. You also cannot use the font palette in WPS for Windows to change the fonts for any of the dialog boxes or the Window titles.

There are a few other small prices to pay for this convenience too. For example, WPS for Windows would be a bear to uninstall because it would require wading through your .INI files if you wanted to keep any changes made to them (such as virtual device driver additions and deletions) after you installed WPS for Win. These would have to be added by hand after you restored the backed up copies of your .INI files from the WPS for Windows directory. Also there are a few programs out there that will refuse to install if you are running something other than Program Manager as a shell, so you may have to deactivate WPS for Windows for them to install. Advice: install every Windows program that you want to have, and then install WPS for Windows.

But what a convenience it is! If you're using Win-OS/2 on your OS/2 machine, installing WPS for Windows will partially standardize the interface of your system. No more culture shock when switching to full screen Windows sessions! And if you're just using it to make Windows more productive, get ready for a thrill. Even users with only 8 meg will be able to see how OS/2 is supposed to run--intuitive and graphically oriented but lightning fast--without giving up their Windows software.

In all, you will be very surprised by how well the author of the program managed to translate the feel of the OS/2 Workplace Shell over to Windows. After days of twiddling, I'm surprised when I find something that doesn't work in WPS for Windows the way it does in Warp. And, best of all is the price. I think that IBM would be well served to include this program along with the Warp Demo program that is available for download in Hobbes and half a million other places or with the Just Add OS/2 Warp program they are pushing.

I highly recommend getting this program and using it. It really helps lessen the culture shock when swapping from an operating system to an operating environment for an ancient operating system!


 * Workplace Shell for Windows v1.51 (650k)
IBM Employee Written Software
Registration: Freeware
Brian L. Juergensmeyer is a college senior majoring in microbiology, who does OS/2 consulting work in the Manhattan, KS area. He is annoying the VA hospital in Topeka, Kansas (where he actually works) by trying to get their IS manager to convert from NT/WfW 3.11 to Warp Connect/Warp Server.

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