Quick Start:

  • Open the .zip
  • Extract its contents to a suitable directory (usually c:\Blackbox\ )
  • Open blackbox.rc in the Blackbox root directory
         (please note that this file *has* to be named blackbox.rc or blackboxrc)
  • Edit the session.menuFile value to point to the location of the included menu.rc file
         (this file can have any filename, but we recommend menu.rc or menurc)
  • Edit the session.styleFile value to point to the location of the style file of your choice
         (a few included styles can be found in the "styles" subfolder, style files can have any filename)
  • Download the Blackbox font pack from our website (fonts will default to Verdana if not available)
  • If you want your styles to be able to set wallpaper automatically, download bsetroot from our website
  • If you want to use any plugins, add the plugin paths to the plugins.rc file
  • Start Blackbox.exe
  • Enjoy!
  • (...however, we recommend that you read the information below as well!)


    Blackbox supports the following commandline options (switches):

    -help
    Displays command line options and version information in a message box, then exits.
    -nostartup
    Starts Blackbox without running the items in your startup folder
    (-nostartup is used automatically if running on top of Explorer).
    -nosystray
    Disables the Blackbox internal system tray
    (-nosystray is used automatically if running on top of Explorer or if another systray is present at startup).
    -rc path
    Lets you specify a new blackbox.rc path.
    -searchmenu
    This will open up a file requester to let you search for a menu file to use.
    -searchstyle
    This will open up a file requester to let you search for a style file to use.
    -install
    Lets you install Blackbox as your default shell.
    -uninstall
    This will let you uninstall Blackbox, changing back to Explorer as default shell (you won't need this... <g>)

    Blackbox can be run on top of almost any other shell. However, this will usually result in certain features of the underlying shell being de-activated. Blackbox is designed to be run as the single shell on your system, but it will not *automatically* install itself as the default shell. However, we recommend that you run it this way.

    To set Blackbox as your default shell, you could either use the built in -install functionality, or use a shell installer application such as galois' excellent Installer. We also recommend that you consult online resources such as lsdocs.shellfront.org (replace the word "LiteStep" with "Blackbox" everywhere, and you will be fine! <g>).

    On exit or restart, Blackbox will save the running configuration to the file blackbox.rc (or "blackboxrc", depending on which one it finds first) in the Blackbox root directory. This includes all options from the [config] submenu, the currently selected style file, your workspace names etc. Usually the blackbox.rc resource file is created and maintained by Blackbox itself. There are, however, a few settings in it that you might want to edit yourself, such as:

    session.menuFile:
    This tells Blackbox where to look for its menu file.
    session.screen0.toolbar.widthPercent:
    This determines the width (in % of screen width) of the toolbar. The default value is 66%.
    session.screen0.strftimeFormat:
    This string configures the toolbar date/time display (the default string is %H:%M | %a %#d %b):

    %a = Abbreviated weekday name, %A = Full weekday name
    %b = Abbreviated month name, %B = Full month name
    %c = Date and time representation appropriate for locale
    %d = Day of month as decimal number (01 31)
    %H = Hour in 24-hour format (00 23)
    %I = Hour in 12-hour format (01 12)
    %j = Day of year as decimal number (001 366)
    %m = Month as decimal number (01 12)
    %M = Minute as decimal number (00 59)
    %p = Current locale's A.M./P.M. indicator for 12-hour clock
    %U = Week of year as decimal number, with Sunday as first day of week (00 53)
    %w = Weekday as decimal number (0 6; Sunday is 0)
    %W = Week of year as decimal number, with Monday as first day of week (00 53)
    %x = Date representation for current locale
    %X = Time representation for current locale
    %y = Year without century, as decimal number (00 99)
    %Y = Year with century, as decimal number
    %z, %Z = Time-zone name or abbreviation; no characters if time zone is unknown
    %#d, %#H, %#I, %#j, %#m, %#M, %#S, %#U, %#w, %#W, %#y, %#Y -> Remove leading zeros (if any)

    Characters that do not "begin" with % are copied unchanged to the output buffer.


    Finally, a short summary of the available mouse commands in Blackbox for Windows:

    Desktop / Menu

  • A right click (button 2) on the desktop will pop up the (configurable) main menu, which is used to launch applications and execute commands.
  • A mid click (button 3) on the desktop will pop up the Workspaces menu. Using this menu you can add or remove workspaces, view applications running in each available workspace, view minimized applications (ie. not on any workspace), as well as jump directly to any workspace or application. Left clicking (button 1) on an application in the Workspaces menu will switch to that workspace and raise/focus the application; mid clicking will warp the application to the current workspace and raise/focus it.
  • Shift + Right click on the desktop "emulates" a mid click (ie. pops up the Workspaces menu) for people still living with a 2 button mouse... :)
  • Left clicking on the titlebar of any submenu and then dragging it somewhere else will cause the menu to stay visible ("pinned"), ie. not disappear when you click a menu item. Right clicking the titlebar of a menu will make it disappear.
  • If you happen to have a mouse with more than three buttons, X1 clicking the desktop will open Display Properties, and X2 clicking will open Sounds and Multimedia Properties.
  • Drag'n'drop of an image file onto the desktop will set the image as your wallpaper (tiled mode) using bsetbg.

    Toolbar

  • Left clicking: There are four buttons on the toolbar; the two on the left will switch workspaces, the two on the right will cycle through your visible (non-maximized) applications. If the task you're switching to is on another workspace you will automatically be switched to that workspace.
  • Left doubleclick on the toolbar clock will open Date/Time Properties.
  • Right clicking the toolbar will pop up the toolbar menu, which lets you control toolbar settings such as placement and if the toolbar should be always on top.
  • Mid clicking the toolbar will show/hide the Blackbox internal system tray / taskbar.
  • Shift + Mid clicking the toolbar will show/hide any loaded plugins (naturally, this functionality needs to be supported by the plugin).
  • If you happen to have a mouse with more than three buttons, X1 clicking the toolbar will open Display Properties, and X2 clicking will open Sounds and Multimedia Properties.
  • Drag'n'drop of a style file onto the toolbar will make Blackbox use that style.

    Taskbar / SysTray

  • Left clicking on a task will focus it, automatically switching workspace if the task isn't on the current workspace.
  • Right clicking on a task minimizes it.
  • Mid clicking on a task moves it to the next workspace (i.e. to the right).
  • Shift + Mid clicking on a task moves it to the previous workspace (ie. to the left).
  • Ctrl + Left clicking on task switches between bar mode and icon mode for the tasks.
  • The system tray icons behave the same way as in Explorer, i.e. right click to open the icon's menu, etc.
  • X1/X2 clicking and drag'n'drop of styles works the same as on the toolbar.

    Window Titlebars and Borders

  • Left clicking anywhere on the window border raises the window, dragging moves the window, and dragging the resize grips will resize the window (ie. the "normal" behaviour).
  • Mid clicking the titlebar of a window minimizes it.
  • Double (left) clicking the titlebar of a window will "shade" it -> only the titlebar will stay visible. Another double click will redisplay the window contents ("unshade" the window).
  • If you happen to have a mouse with more than three buttons (again!), X1 clicking the titlebar of a window will move it one workspace to the right, and X2 clicking one workspace to the left (please note that this does not work on all windows, e.g. Explorer (what a surprise eh? <g>)).
  • The maximize button on the window can be used in three different ways: Left clicking it toggles the window between maximized and normal view, right clicking it maximizes the window only horizontally, and mid clicking it maximizes the window only vertically.

    Oh, btw, there is also a single hotkey: Ctrl+Alt+F1 can be used to quit Blackbox for Windows... (you need to use a plugin if you want to be able to configure your own hotkeys).