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Location: GUIs > Windows Shells > Calmira II

Calmira II
Version 3.31 Screen Shots

Calmira II is a free Windows 95/NT 4 explorer clone for Windows 3.1. It attempts to recreate much of the same functionality and appearance as Windows 95/NT 4. It even copies the Windows 95 icons. There is also a separate version that is themed with the Windows XP icons.

Over all, Calmira does a surprisingly complete job job of mimicking Windows 95. Most of the differences are a result of the limitations of Windows 3.1.

Unlike many of the other alternate Windows desktops, Calmira was created after the release of Windows 95. Although almost nobody uses Windows 3.1 today, for a long time there were a great many people who were stuck with it after Windows 95 came out. Calmira attempted to bring Windows 3.1's desktop up to date for these people.

Calmira II is open source software and is written in Borland Delphi.

This is the welcome screen that first appears when you run Calmira II.

By default it does not start up in place of Program Manager but it can be configured to load at startup.

Right off the bat a number of features are visible:

  • A fully functional Taskbar that lets you switch programs just like modern Windows.
  • A desktop with icons for Recycle Bin, My Computer, and Calmira Explorer.
  • A Start Menu similar to Windows 9x.
  • A System Tray that contains a clock and icons that can launch applications.
  • A Quick launch bar on the taskbar that can be customized.

Calmira II has a customizable start menu that behaves much like that of Windows 95. Because Windows 3.1 lacks long filename support, the program menu is not implemented using file folders like Windows 95. It can still be configured in the properties as shown in this screen shot.

Opening the "My Computer" icon opens a Calmira Explorer window. Oddly, when the window is opened the icon on the desktop disappears and then reappears when the window is closed.

It is possible to access mapped network drives from here, however Calmira does not have a "Network Neighborhood" and does not support UNC names.

The control panel can either be accessed from the icon in the My Computer folder or through the Settings menu in the Start menu.

The folder views can be viewed as icons, lists, or in a detailed view. Dragging and dropping, and other behavior here, works mostly like Windows 95.

It also has an Explorer View with the folder hierarchy at the left.

An interesting feature that I have not seen in any other Windows 3.x alternate shell, Calmira integrates with the file sharing capability of Windows For Workgroups 3.11. From the Explorer view you can start and stop the sharing of folders and the folder tree visually indicates which folders are shared.

It is possible to add shortcuts on the desktop to documents and applications. However, in Calmira the desktop is not a real folder and therefore can not hold files.

"Aliases", as Calmira calls them, can be placed on the quicklaunch bar.

Windows 95 and NT 4 did not have a quicklaunch bar. The quicklaunch bar was only added with the IE 4 desktop "update". This implementation, however does not require a web browser.

For those that wish to screw up Windows 3.1 as much as Windows 98, it still possible to find and install Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 for Windows 3.1. It is much different from IE 5 for Windows 9x, but it is still somewhat usable. IE 5 also includes Outlook Express for Windows 3.1 and an optional Win9x-like Internet dialer that will work with other browsers and internet tools.

Netscape Navigator 4.08 is also available for Windows 3.1.

Calmira even comes with a faithful clone of the Windows 95 find utility. You can search for files by name or search for text in files.

If it weren't for the lack of long filename support, I would try and use this under Windows XP. Windows XP's webbyish search utility is broken, mostly useless, and annoying to use.

It has an extensive help system and there are a great number of customizable options.

Exiting Calmira.

In this screen shot Calmira is running as the only Windows shell. If Program Manager had started up with Windows there would also be an option to just close Calmira.