Yes Ross this has been brewing in my mind too for so long, too long. I suppose the horrendifiying default gui for windows could be from trying to standardize it to an already existing billion people userbase. It's kind of like the state approved North Korean haircuts. They're made for everyone so they fit no one! I'm not saying that's excusable or anything. If they tried something different, human beings have a tendency to adapt, especielly if it's a smoother experience in the long run. The true evil is treating customization like a virus. They could do a lot better with the prepackaged gui. They could do A LOT better with what hoops you have to jump through just to fit things to one's ways and needs. But this is all things you've already said more or less. (more) For anyone who cares or are bored out of their minds here's my personal setup that works for me, personally. I tried some various shell replacements, I wasn't satisfied. So I went with no shell at all! Full screen does what it's supposed to! Perfect! When I log in I see this: Now it doesn't quite look like this, in reality I am in 1080p and have a wallpaper instead of a solid color. To use a wallpaper without shell you can set the shell to wallpaperhost.exe But I digress. That is Far manager, it's a Norton Commander clone. Norton Commander is a DOS era gui and what 99% of all explorer file manager alternatives today are based on. I love it, with hotkeys, macros and a command line which doubles as an extremely fast program search, going back to explorer feels like cutting a lawn with a breadstick. It also has mouse and touch support, so... I was very annoyed over how windows 10 is organized. I am the only one using this pc, and there is user folders, public folders, user and public start menu program folders, and user and public desktops. If I wasn't using LTSC (Long Term Servicing Channel, formely Embedded, it's stripped down Windows for ATM machines basically) I would have libraries too on top of that mess! So I relocated all those to just C:\ New desktop icons are put there, new start menu folders and shorcuts are put there aaaand my media folders and system folders. Because that hierarchy is what makes sense to me. Am I crazy? Now one part that's not perfect but OK I GUESS is minimizing: This just what happens when you minimize without a shell. It's literally a leftover from, buckle up, Windows 1. I didn't leave out a zero there. In 1 through 3, the compressed titlebars used to be disguised as icons but that part of the code has since been deprecated. Unlike Ross, I love keyboard shortcuts and I rather keep my hands on the keyboard as much as possible and only use the mouse when I have to. My hand is clumsy, my fingers are dancy. It's not for everyone, but my is it fast and fluid for me this way. I have preferred alt-tabbing over the taskbar for years upon years! It has gotten to the point, having many windows open, I can hold alt-tab and let to go when I intend to. Just from getting a feel for how fast the selection moves. To me this is tons faster than moving my clumsy hand to get the cursor to the right taskbar (or dock) item. The tray: No. I abhor the tray. It's a small taskbar for stuff that's runs in the background you either rarely interact with or interact with so often it's a nuisence to open the tray everytime you want to open your program. I already made sure nothing ever minimizes to the tray so I don't miss it. There's a caviat here. I don't have battery or network icons. Right now I have solved the former by (drum roll) not solving it at all. I realized I plug in the charger when my screen dims or isn't at full brightness, not when the battery tray icon changes. When do I ever use the battery icon? All I really care about is if I have to charge or not. Percentage has never been an issue for me. On my phone, that's an entirely different situation. But my laptop is most likely somewhere where an outlet is. The latter I ctrl alt del and switch networks from there, it is admittedly not ideal but maybe I'll figure something out. Or as Ross put it, surrender to chaos. But the center piece truly is Far, the Norton Commander clone. It's my start menu, it's my file manager, it's my desktop, my command line, my run and my search. I think I'm wise to follow the advice from men I trust.