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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

How to Multiple Desktops on Windows (with VirtuaWin)

If you use Linux, one of the things you probably miss when using Windows is multiple desktops. At least that’s what I missed the most.

I was looking for some applications that would let me do the same on Windows, and I stumbled on a couple cool softwares.

The first one was from M$ itself, and is part of the Power Toys package. The group of software has some tools that are pretty neat. I will describe the ones I like on another post.

The Virtual Desktop however sucks, as usual. It let’s you choose different wall paper for the 4 different desktops (like KDE), and has a nice option of viewing all 4 desktops in a view window like this:

You can choose the virtual desktop you want by pressing on of the 4 buttons on your taskbar:

The application itself is very unstable and extremely slow. You can not move windows from one desktop to the other. And if you like to separate specific application per desktop and the desktop manager crashes (which happens A LOT), you are pretty much f#@!. You’ll have to re-start the desktop manager and re-open all your applications in the proper order.

After a quick research I stumbled on another program called VirtuaWin. It’s a bit complicated to use, but it’s stable, really fast and flexible.

It doesn’t provide you with button to choose a desktop, but it does: (correction, it does with the install of a module)
. allow you to set key combination to invoke specific desktop;
. move windows between desktops;
. list open windows on all desktops;
. move to next desktop by moving the mouse to any corner of the current desktop;
. move to next desktop by right clicking icon on taskbar;
. etc…

The program presents you with an icon on the taskbar that looks like this:

You can right click to get a menu or left click to get a list of open windows:

The setup window has a help menu that explains what each option is for. I found it very useful.

Anyway, I haven’t really “shopped” around for virtual desktop applications for Windows, but I was disgusted by M$ attempt and sold out to VirtuaWin.


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