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Virtual Desktops !?!

Do someone know of a good virtual desktops solution for Windows?
Its something Linux has, and no, I don't say Windows must have this. Its just something I started to find useful.
I downloaded 10 apps and tried them all. I found Hi-Desktop to be the best amongs them (some of them were horrible).
Unfortunately even the best one is just not good enough. It has lots of different problems that effectively prevents me from using this as a reliable way to work with my PC.
So is there something I can use? I guess a lot of you may find this feature useful too...

Boris Yankov
Saturday, March 13, 2004

Check "Virtual Desktop Manager" on this page: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/pro/downloads/powertoys.asp

Matthew Lock
Saturday, March 13, 2004

I use VirtuaWin, which is lightweight and has worked well for me.

sid6581
Saturday, March 13, 2004

I use Object Desktop and Desktopx which gives me tons of control over what I want on the desktop, no icons for a start, except where I want them in nice structured sections.

And if I really need to then I can have virtual desktops as well, though I've given that up, my short term memory just isn't up to it.

Simon Lucy
Saturday, March 13, 2004

There are some excellent free solutions:

Virtual Dimension does exactly what you want:
http://virt-dimension.sourceforge.net/

LiteStep replaces the Start bar completely -- it's a replacement shell which includes virtual desktops and many other features:
http://www.litestep.net/

Personally, when I had to start using Windows I used Virtual Dimension for about two days until I discovered LiteStep. LiteStep is wonderful.

Tom Payne
Saturday, March 13, 2004

Question --

What is the purpose of having a virtual desktop?

-T.J.

T.J.
Saturday, March 13, 2004

A virtual desktop allows you to have open many applications at once, yet organizes them so that you can move them from one virtual window to another.

I use them to have my business applications on one "screen", my compile sessions on another, my debug sessions on another, and my school work on yet another.  The virtual desktop manager that I use FLashDesktops available from http://www.flashdesktops.com/ allows me to click on a simple icon in my system tray to switch virtual desktops.  The icons are numbers 1 to 4.  (You can setup fewer or more depending on how you want things).

Some virtual desktop managers show all open programs on the task bar.  Flashdesktops only shows those that are associated with the active "screen".  You can move something from screen to screen by activating the application window, then right-click on the desired 1-4 icon.  It is then removed from your active window and sent to the desired one.

If you don't open many applications at once, then you would have no use for a virtual desktop program.  I typically open around 20 to thirty at one time.  I have the email program, any documents that I open from my email or messages that I am composing (the business screen), Visual Studio, Oracle SQL Worksheet, MSDN, many open C++ files (compile screen), simulator GUI, simulator output tail, log files, Visual Studio (debug screen), etc.

It would be a strain to go back to a single desktop.

Glade Warner
Saturday, March 13, 2004

I just checked out the MS PowerToy version linked above and it seems quite good to me. The quick view icon that tiles the desktops for quick selection is kind of cool. Kind of an MS take on OS X's exposé in action.

As a tip - once you install it you use  it by turning on it's toolbar in the task bar (right-click, toolbars > Virtual desktop). That's not mentioned anywhere.

  --Josh

JWA
Saturday, March 13, 2004

the best one I've tried (and I tested a bunch) is altdesk.

do a google search for it!

Josh No-Spam Jones
Saturday, March 13, 2004

Glade --

Thanks.  Did you find yourself opening more applications once you decided to use a Virtual Desktop?

I am having a feeling that this is like Tabs for Firefox -- very useful for a lot of people, but with little value for me.

Of course, I manage my open apps pretty well, but I have seen far too many QA folks having at least 30+ windows open at once, including 10+ IE windows.  They definitely could use tabs and Virtual Desktops.

T.J.
Sunday, March 14, 2004

I use xdesk (http://www.xdesksoftware.com/).  It's got a feature called mouse knocking where, if you move the mose to  the edge of the screen twice it changes to that desktop.  Took a bit of tweaking to both make it not happen by accident, and to always happen when I wanted it to, but know it's a feature I love.

I've used virtual desktops since I first saw one on a Sun 3, they're a wonderful thing.  I have email, word, winamp and such on one desk, my editor/compiler on another, and output windows/debuggers on a third.  When my docs are a bunch of pdf's they go on the forth.  I have to laugh when I see a coworker searching for the right button when he's got 20 open windows.

Snotnose
Sunday, March 14, 2004

I use desktopplus.  It has a free 30 day trial.  It works well for me.  One of the few apps that I've actually registered.

K
Monday, March 15, 2004

On linux they have a window manager called Window Maker
http://www.windowmaker.org/  (emulates NEXTSTEP step look and feel)

- what's good about is that you can switch desktops easily
(ALT+<number key> switches to deskop <number key>)

I was missing MDI on linux, so this one was somewhat like a MDI emulation.

Michael Moser
Monday, March 15, 2004

I have tried many of the desktop managers suggested, but absolutely none of them work correctly in the way I want them to. I'm sure this has something to do with the way the windows gui actually works.

My main gripe is that for any desktop manager that hides applications from the taskbar for each desktop and only shows the current running windows and applications for each individual desktop in the taskbar; the taskbar is *always* reorganized. I have yet to find *any* vdm that keeps the order of the items in the taskbar intact. Virtual Desktop managers aren't very useful if when you switch a desktop and go to click what you think is one program, yet it is another.

If anyone knows of one, list it here. I've tried so many; I've pracitcally tried every single one listed here before even reading about them. None of them are up to the task of playing nice with the taskbar.

So frustrated
Thursday, March 25, 2004

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