The winshell Module

What is it?

Certain aspects of the Windows user interface are grouped by Microsoft as Shell functions. These include the Desktop, shortcut icons, special folders (such as My Documents) and structured storage. These are mostly available via the shell module of the pywin32 extensions, but whenever I need to use them, I’ve forgotten the various constants and so on.

The module offers the following areas of functionality:

Each of them is exposed by simple functions which offer sane defaults for most of the options. Since it’s perfectly possible to drop down to the underlying functions, I haven’t attempted to expose every last option. It’s entirely likely that future incarnations of this module will be more ambitious.

There’s also a small but growing list of cookbook examples:

Where do I get it?

Prerequisites & Compatibility

The module has been tested on versions of Python from 2.4 to 3.2. It may also work on older (or newer) versions. You’ll need Python 2.5+ for context manager support. It’s tested with the most recent pywin32 extensions, but the functionality it uses from those libraries has been in place for many versions.

The tests have been run on WinXP, Win7, Win2k3 & Win2k8. At present, none of the more recent shell functionality is included; if it were added in a future release this would be done so conditionally to allow the older functionality to continue running.