Program Manager

Program Manager
Component of Microsoft Windows
Progman logo.png
Program Manager in Windows 3.0
TypeGUI shell
Introduced inWindows 3.0
Last included inWindows XP
MS-DOS Executive
Replaced by
Windows Explorer

Program Manager (PROGMAN.EXE) is an application launcher used as the default shell in Windows 3.0, Windows 3.1x, Windows NT 3.1 and Windows NT 3.5x. Program Manager descends from Desktop Manager, the shell for OS/2 1.2. Unlike Desktop Manager, which presents its program groups in a simple list, and opens each group in a separate window, Program Manager opens program groups in child windows using the new multiple document interface in Windows 3.x. Beginning with Windows 3.1, Program Manager contained a StartUp group. Programs and files placed into that group would be loaded when Windows starts.

Some Research Machines' OEM versions of Windows 3.x intended to be run from a network include a "restricted" version of Program Manager, PROGMANR.EXE.[1][2] This version has resources edited to disable the New, Run and Properties options in the File menu, thus users can only run applications specified in existing program groups.

In later versions of Microsoft Windows, starting with Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0, Program Manager was replaced by Windows Explorer as the default shell. However, the Setup still included a "Windows 3.1 user interface" option, which launched the Program Manager at startup with the Explorer shell.

Later Windows versions removed that option, although the application was still included for compatibility purposes. Windows Longhorn build 3683 is the last known build to include the full program.

Microsoft replaced Program Manager in Windows XP SP2 with a compatibility stub that simply redirects to Windows Explorer. The executable was later removed completely during the development of Windows Vista Beta 2.

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