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screen control softwareI am always a bit wary of anything that goes to work on the Windows Shell. Tweaking the normal way Windows is supposed to function always comes with a bit of risk. But making Windows better is always a great temptation.

Improving Windows with a tweak to the Shell is easier (and safer) now with a bunch of screen control software applications that do it with a click.

So it is with SecondShell (ver.1.0.7) – a tiny little freeware that brings productive enhancements to the Windows shell.

SecondShell’s 372KB downloads in a blink. The fact that it is a portable screen control software which will not mess with your registry while installing and uninstalling should set the mind at ease. Like most portable software it operates from the system tray at your beck and call.

SecondShell works on Windows XP and Vista. Windows 7 is not mentioned, but it’s worth a tryout. SecondShell is really meant to work well for netbook and laptop users with limited screen estate. Its main calling card for these devices  is mentioned in the first two features listed below.

Get More Screen Space With A Click

The usual way to get more horizontal or vertical space in a window is to move the edges with the mouse. SecondShell saves you the effort with shortcut keys. A combination of CTRL+ALT and the arrow keys maximizes a window horizontally or vertically. You can toggle between the views.


screen control

It’s useful when you need to keep a window open but not at full screen. Think of how you work with Excel for example and you will get an idea.

Get More Screen Space With Smooth Moves

SecondShell makes it very easy to drag a window to a new location or resize a window for better viewing. With the shell enhancement you can click anywhere on the window to drag it around with the mouse or resize it to your custom size. Using the Alt key and Left mouse button combo drags it. Using the Alt key and Right mouse button resizes it.

screen control

Moving windows around without reaching for the title bars or dragging the corners to resize them makes everything faster. You will appreciate it if you work in a graphic app like Photoshop with a bunch of image files in their independent windows.

Get Rid of Them With A Click

There’s no need to reach for the crossed close button or the minimize button. The same job can be done by clicking anywhere in the titlebar. Right click to minimize, left click to close. This feature feels like the right thing to hide away a window before your boss gets a chance to figure out what you are up to.

Get Back The Middle Mouse Button

The Caps Lock can be toggled and used as a middle mouse button if you don’t need it that often. The middle mouse button has productive uses, for instance, in browsing and for some games. So if you want a tradeoff, you can go into SecondShell’s secondshell.ini config file and change the setting.

screen control

When you need the Caps lock again, you can do it with a SHIFT+Caps Lock or suspend SecondShell.

Get A Lot More Done With Your Own Application Hotkeys

SecondShell helps you to define 10 application shortcuts in the config file. The config file can be opened with any text editor. Explanations are lucidly provided. You will see default hotkeys for Notepad and Microsoft Calculator mentioned.

After modifying the config file don’t forget to reload SecondShell.

SecondShell is a neat little application that adds a dash of productivity to the simpler tasks we do. As a Shell enhancer it is not an overwhelming software. Even before using the freeware, you can guess that from the functions that come up with a right click on the system tray icon.

If you like simple portable apps that enhance Windows, you should give SecondShell a try.

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  1. secondshell
    June 29, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    And a new version of Secondshell is already available. 2.0.1 is just released today, visit

    Thank you very much for the review!

  2. secondshell
    June 29, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    And a new version of Secondshell is already available. 2.0.1 is just released today, visit

    Thank you very much for the review!