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I have to deploy around 80 touch-screen terminals for my company.
We're going to run several Windows applications on those terminals and they'll be operated by touch input only. I basically want those machines to run in a kiosk mode, so employees won't be able to launch any programs than the ones they're supposed to (also, this will hide the task bar/start menu, which will give it a much nicer, corporate look).
There's usually one app that should automatically launch on startup and other apps that can be launched from the desktop.

I've tried to accomplish this (under Windows 7 Pro) with a custom shell replacement. This removes the task bar/start menu like I described earlier.
I used an AutoHotKey script for this, because it's easy to, for instance, define hotkeys so admins will still be able to launch stuff like Windows Explorer (okay, I know I could just launch it from the task manager [Ctrl+Shift+Esc] but I'm considering locking that as well).

So far so good.

Some problems though:

  • No desktop icons.
    Needed to launch apps from the desktop.
  • No wallpaper.
    Required for CI.

Is there any way around this? I wouldn't mind using another shell replacement, as long as it's reasonably lightweight. I'd love to get the wallpaper and desktop icons to show with something like AutoHotKey though.


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The best light weight shell replacement that I have come across is Emerge Desktop. Easily customizable, comes with its own integrated hotkey system, and of course is very light weight. I use this on all of my older laptops and desktops. It is not pretty, but that is not what were looking for. As for the desktop icons-you can try a third party app to work with what you have currently, or Emerge has an option to switch to windows desktop and right click. It is also configurable per user allowing you to switch the shells at any time you wish.

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Thanks for the suggestion, but I think a "full" explorer shell replacement is still too heavy for me. If only I knew how to enable the standard Windows/Explorer desktop with my custom shell. – tuesprem Oct 20 '12 at 15:23

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