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Arwinss is an alternative implementation of the core Win32 subsystem components. Technical information about implementation details is available at this page: Arwinss technical.


Checkout the arwinss branch (svn://, and compile using following command:

makex comctl32 user32 gdi32 win32k winent win32csr freetype kernel32 explorer winlogon

This will build all needed modules of a new subsystem, which you need to copy over to the installed ReactOS version (see Transfer files from the host OS to the virtual drive). A modified KERNEL32.DLL is needed only for a compatible global atoms support.

If you want to build winex11 module, you need to firstly copy lib/3rdparty/libX11/libX11.a file from your working copy to the obj-i386/lib/3rdparty/libX11 directory (creating it if it does not exist). This will fix the winex11.drv linking issues, and you can just type

makex winex11

to build this optional module.


Arwinss uses parts of the Wine architecture and parts of Windows NT architecture in appropriate places and in a good way.The overall call flow / architecture of Arwinss looks like this:


It consists of the following modules, one of them being optional (winex11.drv):

  • dll/3rdparty/freetype - implements usermode font rendering (FreeType library, with small ReactOS glue), used by GDI32.DLL
  • dll/win32/user32 - implements USER API
  • dll/win32/gdi32 - implements GDI API
  • dll/win32/winent.drv - implements native graphics and user drivers
  • dll/win32/winex11.drv - implements X11 X-windows graphics and user drivers
  • subsystems/win32/win32k - implements kernel mode counter part of the native graphics driver, a Simple Window Manager (SWM) and a kernel mode USER server.
  • subsystems/win32/csrss/win32csr - implements needed parts of the CSR subsystem along with handling user input


Most of the hacking happens in WINENT.DRV and WIN32K.SYS, with very rare fixes to the user32/gdi32 (mainly, because it's a tested Wine's code with only minor changes).

Convention for marking changes. C++ code comments (//) mean that the place has some special mark up for debugging. A typical use is for a

// FIXME: Something

Potential Benefits

These bugs would be fixed if Arwinss was ready (just a short list):

  • #933 "OO.114 - Installation wizard with blank text"
  • #1175 "listbox does not hide scrollbars in listbox"
  • #1239 "Winamp's Main Window Unclickable"
  • #1546 "Two carets on the screen at one with two edit areas opened"
  • #1776 "Microsoft remote desktop client can't connect, computername can't be entered"
  • #2393 "Firefox 1.5 Download, you need move the mouse."
  • #2769 "Redraw bug using ShowWindow for a child window of a dialog"
  • #2788 "Wrong right click behaviour - unwanted multiple selection"
  • #2835 "Opera 9.64: Unable to locate timer in message queue for W..."
  • #3500 "Charmap redrawing bug"
  • #3542 "background image is clipped in some installers (abiword) in first page"
  • #3893 "Properties for Date/Time: mouse pointer disappears"
  • #3966 "can't hit enter on a selected item to open it"
  • #4443 "Firefox 3 - Can't scroll page with mouse wheel."
  • #4501 "When closing one window, Firefox gets restored if it was minimized"
  • #4612 "tn5250: can't move window"
  • #4779 "K-Meleon popup menus don't work"
  • #5069 "JPEG artifacts in installers"
  • #5305 "Notepad: Highlighted text invisible"

As one can see from these bug titles it mainly boils down to drastically improved user32 and gdi32 support.


See ReactOS Bugzilla (component "Arwinss")

  1. Enable commented out places in the font output code (ET_OPAQUE, etc)
  2. Explorer taskbar does not appear automatically
  3. Taskbar doesn't show any proccess
  4. Implement support for multiple desktops
  5. Implement hotkeys support


You can get the lastest ARWINSS ISO in the first message of this thread or here.