The Kaizen Blog

Attempts to continually improve in all walks of life

Desktops : Virtual Desktops for Windows

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For those of you who are familiar working with *nix, multiple desktops are almost given. I have been using multiple desktops with CDE on Solaris since about 10 years now. It is surprising that MS never thought this as important enough feature to be included with the operating system.

I came across this Lifehacker article about latest utility released by MS simply called Desktops. LH Article said “Vista compatible”, which at first I read as Vista-only. Visit to MS webpage releaved that MS doesn’t say whether this works only on Vista, so I downloaded it. The download is surprisingly small, similar to other sysinternal tools. I expected the setup program inside the ZIP file,  but it contains the binary which you can run directly.

When run you see the dialog box asking you to select the key combination to switch between various virtual desktops. Desktops provides two menu options from the right click on tray icon. Options and Select Desktop.

When Options is selected, you get the same initial setup dialog which allows you to change the hotkey. There is also a checkbox to start this at logon. (By default turned off)

Select Desktop shows you live preview of four desktops, and you can click on the one you wish to switch to.

So far so good, very simple to start using. But then it was the end too 😦 There wasn’t much after this initial simplicity. I have been using another excellent Virtual Desktop Manager called dexpot for more than year now, and when compared that that, this utility from MS looks lame.

To sum up the review

Pros :

  • Very small download
  • Nothing to install
  • Simple to setup – almost zero administration
  • Customizable Hotkey to switch between Desktops
  • Shows a live preview of the desktops if switching using tray icon rather than keyboard
  • Good response time – although my system wasn’t really loaded

Cons :

  • No option to Exit !! Biggest flow I think.
  • Number of desktops fixed at four
  • Unable to move applications between Desktops

Written by Mandar Vaze

August 24, 2008 at 2:08 pm

Posted in Productivity, Technical

Tagged with ,

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