LiteStep is a Windows Shell replacement for Windows 9x and up, licensed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL).
LiteStep may appeal to people who like their desktop to be visually appealing, people who like to configure their environment, Unix/Linux users, and people who find the Start button interface that comes with Windows to be less than ideal. Like most of the commonly known Windows shell replacements, LiteStep is based on the idea of a small core that loads configurable modules (DLLs). LiteStep has a large number of modules allowing Windows users to configure their environment to be minimalistic or rich and full-featured . When needed, additional modules are downloaded and installed automatically. A theme for LiteStep is a collection of configurations, scripts and images stored in a .zip or .lsz file that, when installed, change the visual style of the desktop. When using recent themes with a recent version of LiteStep, installation is automatic.
LiteStep was inspired by AfterStep, which in turn was inspired by Nextstep. LiteStep was initially developed by Francis Gastellu as a closed source project until April 1998 (version b23), and was then entirely rewritten (versions 24 and up) by the newly assembled development team. LiteStep later inspired DarkStep, which supports scripting, and PureLS. It also inspired Phil Stopford in 1999 to start LDE(X), which is a complete and production-stable LiteStep-based Windows interface replacement. LiteStep is one of the oldest remaining Windows shell replacements. Over time, and due to the rise of popularity in freeform skinning, LiteStep desktop designs have tended to drift away from the AfterStep layouts seen under pre-24 versions.