Install Active Desktop in Windows 95 / NT4

Active Desktop is part of the Windows Desktop Update and was introduced with Internet Explorer 4 (IE4). The Active Desktop delivers features like the Quick Launch bar and the ability to dynamically order the Start Menu items. WinNT4 and Win95 doesn’t come with IE4 by default, and if one decided to be quick and install IE5 or IE6 without installing IE4 first then Active Desktop isn’t installed.

There are two ways to install the Active Desktop in this situation:

  • Uninstall IE? and install IE4 and then install IE? again
  • Install the IE4 Active Desktop package on top of the existing IE?

The second solution has the following steps:

  1. Download the file (Usually acquired when downloading IE?)
    • (WinNT4) (Change URL from EN to DA for Danish)
    • (Win95) (Change URL from EN to DA for Danish)
  2. Extract the contents of the above cab-file to a directory
  3. Right click the now extracted Ie4shell.inf file and select install (Note a background popup might complain about a missing Wallpapr.htm press Ignore)
  4. Let it restart your computer
  5. Run The IE Repair Tool and do a repair (Note your Start Menu, SendTo might not work at this point)
    • To run a command in WinNT4 press CTRL+SHIFT+ESC to launch Task Manager or browse My Computer to start Winnt\System32\cmd.exe
    • To run a command in Win95 press CTRL+ESC to launch Task Manager or browse My Computer to start Windows\
  6. If icons look garbled then check Repair incorrectly displayed icons

Note the install of Active Desktop replaces your Explorer.exe with another version (Likely 4.72.3612.1700) and you cannot go back to the old version of the Explorer.exe.

Note one should make sure that the language of the Active Desktop is the same as the operating system, as mixed binaries can lead to unpredictable results.

More Info MS KB165695
More Info MS KB217344
More Info MS KB293907