Desktop Managers

posted Feb 26, 2010, 12:39 PM by r0m30 1
If you have worked with another OS, usually Linux or OSX you have probably been exposed to a Desktop manager.  Desktop managers create multiple virtual desktops and allow you to distribute your windows among those desktops reducing the clutter so you aren't looking for that missing window all the time.  Once you start using a desktop manager you'll be loathe to be without one.

I've tried two desktop managers on Windows 7, Desktops and Dexpot. I'm currently using Dexpot.

Desktops from sysinternals.com takes an interesting approach to creating your virtual desktops, it creates multiple Windows desktop objects.  This should in theory make this desktop manager almost bullet-proof but it does create some limitations as well.  You can't transfer a window from one desktop to another or do any of the other rule based things you normally expect from a desktop manager.  If you just need a basic desktop manager this is lightweight and should cause very few problems.  I only had one issue while running it.  It seems to breaks the slideshow for background images.  When the slideshow does break all you have to do to fix it is go into the themes and reselect the images you want to rotate, no real harm done just an annoyance.

Dexpot is a more traditional desktop manager it has most of the things you would expect and it works well with Windows 7.  It is what is currently on my machine and so far it just works.  Occasionally a program will pop up a window on a desktop other than the one it is running on and finding out why the program has suddenly stopped responding is frustrating, but usually a quick swap to desktop 1 and a click will get you going again.  I haven't experienced this a lot but it does happen with ImgBurn.

If you don't use the background slideshow and your needs are minimalist Desktops should be fine, if you want or need a more full function desktop manager Dexpot should be high on the list of products to try.
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