Welcome to SharpE!

Congratulations and thank you for trying SharpE!

This guide is a general overview of the default setup. SharpE can be intimidating to new users. This walkthrough aims to decode the interface for first-timers, and induce them to explore their new desktop environment.

What happens when you first run the shell?

When you first load SharpE, you will get a dialogue window asking if you would like to set SharpE as your default shell. If you click "yes", then your machine will boot into SharpE. If you select "no", then your machine will load Explorer when you next reboot.

The next thing you will encounter is the splash screen, letting you know that the shell is loading.

Your desktop

The desktop you see is not the windows desktop.

Your icons have been replaced by icon objects, and the wallpaper is different. The wallpaper in this guide may even be different than the wallpaper on your install but that is simply a different theme, the setup is the same. Right-click on the desktop brings up the SharpMenu. Don't panic, this is the normal work of SharpDesk. Your regular desktop icons can be found in the SharpMenu at the "Desktop" selection. The default setup for SharpE includes examples of desktop objects (icons), the SharpBars (bars), and SharpBar modules.

Desktop Objects:

These look like icons but they're actually much more! If you call them icons we'll know what you mean. Double-clicking these icons will take you to their labeled locations on your machine, and can be changed in a variety of ways.

What are these objects?

Good question! Listed from left to right, these are the default desktop objects.

  • My Computer
  • My Network Places
  • Control Panel
  • SharpCenter
  • Recycle Bin (This object is setup to display recycler information by default.)


At the top of the screen in the center, and at the bottom of the screen, far left and far right you will see the SharpBars. These bars contain modules and can be configured in any number of ways.

Anatomy of a SharpBar

SharpBars can be situated at the top or bottom of the screen. They may be aligned to the left, the right, or the center of the screen. The largest things on the SharpBar are the modules which might be buttons, little control panels, meters, or something else entirely. The tiniest things on the SharpBar are the throbbers. The throbbers are the little buttons at the top left of each bar, and an even smaller one, a minithrobber, is at the top left of each module. These, when clicked, open options for the bars and their modules.

Default SharpBar Modules:

The SharpBar comes out of the box with a default setup. You can leave this if you like it, or you can change it to suit your taste. In the default setup there are three SharpBars. In these examples, the modules are listed in the order they appear in the screenshots.

Top SharpBar:

Menu Button

This menu button links to the SharpMenu. This is an advanced Start Menu. The SharpMenu can also be accessed by right-clicking the desktop, but this icon is present because most Windows users are not accustomed to right-clicking their desktop for the Start Menu.

Drives Button

This button lists the drives that are currently on your computer, including virtual drives.

QuickLaunch Button

The QuickLaunch is a button that is linked directly to the QuickLaunch folder (C:\Documents and Settings\User\Application Data\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch) and lists all of your quicklaunch icons for fast access with minimal desktop real estate.


This is like a tiny little command-line interface. If you type "cmd" the DOS prompt will load. The little button to the right browses for locations, scripts, and actions.

CPU Monitor

The CPUMon displays current CPU usage. This can be configurd to be displayed in several ways and if there are multiple CPU's, a CPUMon module can be set up for each one.

Memory Monitor

This monitor keeps track of your current RAM and SWAP file usage, and can be altered in a variety of ways from the default settings.

Notes Module

This is one of the neatest modules. This is a small notes application that uses tabs. The notes are saved as .txt files in the user's SharpE Settings folder. The Notes module can also be opened with the hotkey Win+N.

Media Controller

A little basic control for your media player. The farthest button on the control is a selector for various media players.

Bottom Left SharpBar


This is the task bar, just like the windows one but prettier and with a lot of options. At the very left the tiny grey icon is "Minimize All Windows" and the tiny one with two windows is "Restore All Windows". These buttons can be added and removed in the TaskBar config.

Bottom Right SharpBar


The SysTray is the regular windows System Tray enhanced. Options include transparency and color blending. Unlike the Windows SysTray, this can be placed on any bar that is on the screen.


Clock with display settings.

That is the first look at SharpE in its fresh-install form. From this point, the next step is forward to more specific configuration.