Program Manager was the shell of Windows 3.x and Windows NT 3.x operating systems. This shell exposed a task-oriented graphical user interface (GUI), consisting of icons (shortcuts for programs) arranged into program groups. The user-friendly interface replaced the file-oriented shells of previous Microsoft operating systems, and enabled non-technical users to run their computers without seeking technical assistance.
In later versions of Microsoft Windows, starting with Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0, Program Manager was replaced by Windows Explorer as the shell, though Windows 95 gave the user an opportunity to choose which shell they preferred during setup. For backward compatibility with old applications, Program Manager was still included in later versions of Windows. It can be accessed by executing PROGMAN.EXE from the command line or Run dialog. The file is located in the Windows directory in older versions, or the System32 directory in Windows 2000 and Windows XP. On any Windows version, it can be used as the default shell by specifying the Shell= value in the registry at either HKLMSOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionWinlogon (per machine) or HKCUSOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionWinlogon (per user).
Today, Program Manager has little practical use beyond compatibility with extremely rare, antiquated programs. Since Windows XP Service Pack 2, it has been reduced to a stub and a converter for Program Manager shortcuts to Windows Explorer shortcuts. Windows Vista does not include it at all.
It is still possible to use the Program Manager in Windows XP Service Pack 3 by replacing the Progman.exe executable with the executable from Service Pack 1 or the Windows XP retail release. With the SP1 CD, one can expand it by typing expand -r D:i386progman.ex_ %Windir% at the command prompt (replacing D: with the CD-ROM drive letter). It is also possible to bypass the Windows File Protection and overwrite the SP3 version of Program Manager completely. Alternatively, the file can be saved to a different location or using a different filename. If Service Pack 3 has backed up previous files on an RTM or SP1 Windows XP installation, the backed up version can be accessed from: %Windir%$NtServicePackUninstall$Progman.exe
In common with many applications of the day, a hidden 'feature' was included. Instructions on how to access these features were often printed in computer magazines.
To access the Easter Egg, hold down Ctrl, Alt and Shift throughout these steps:
Understanding the program manager's role: Defense Systems Management College develops new course for DCMA. (Program Management).
Mar 01, 2002; Twenty-five Defence Contract Management Agency employees are better equipped to support program managers after completing a new...