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Virtual Desktops on Windows?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the a-more-comfortable-environment dept.

121

raist_online asks: "After long years of X11 (and recently Mac OS X) I'm now in a job that mandates Windows and uses some Windows-only tools, providing us with XP Pro installs. Using VMWare with dual heads means I can still mostly live in X11-based goodness but I'm really missing a virtual desktop when I have to use Windows. The MS Powertoy doesn't really cut it for me and I've been trying out Cooldesk (some task-bar integration but not behaving well) and altdesk (which is OK but doesn't integrate into the task-bar). I'm really looking for something as simple as the standard X11 pager. Please note that I HAVE to use native Windows for some things so suggestions for Wine / VMWare inside Linux are missing the point. Slashdot, what are your suggestions?"

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I use nvidia's virtual desktops when I use XP (2, Informative)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 7 years ago | (#16419575)

I don't have them set up at the moment, so I don't remember what they're called offhand; but one of the utilities that nvidia gives you gives you virtual desktops; though they're a lot clunkier (IMHO) to navigate than what you get with either GNOME or KDE. But, none-the-less; they're there. The downside being you have to have an nvidia card, of course.

Re:I use nvidia's virtual desktops when I use XP (2, Insightful)

Dick Battle (1012575) | more than 7 years ago | (#16419641)

Wouldn't recommend it. It sucks just as much as the MS Powertoys thingy.

Re:I use nvidia's virtual desktops when I use XP (2, Informative)

LordNightwalker (256873) | more than 7 years ago | (#16420169)

I've been using it for years; I just bound the previous/next desktop to the same keys used under gnome (CTRL+ALT+Left/Right), and it works just fine. Not as cool as the spinning cube in xgl/aiglx though... ;)

Re:I use nvidia's virtual desktops when I use XP (1)

WgT2 (591074) | more than 7 years ago | (#16421071)

I agree.

In the past it's been unstable and now it's just clunky and doesn't seem as smart as traditional X11 desktopping.

Re:I use nvidia's virtual desktops when I use XP (2, Informative)

refitman (958341) | more than 7 years ago | (#16420129)

At work I use a program called multidesk [fusion-soft.co.uk] . This has the added bonus of being free. It can support up to 9 desktops and you can map your own hot-keys for switching.

It loads into the taskbar and has a nice GUI where you can drag windows from desktop to desktop.

Re:I use nvidia's virtual desktops when I use XP (1)

gigne (990887) | more than 7 years ago | (#16420177)

Yeah, thats a decent progam.

Good call.

Re:I use nvidia's virtual desktops when I use XP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16422527)

It's called nVIEW. And ATI cards have Hydravision.

Both suck IMO. UltraMon is where it's at, but it's not free (but then again, my video cards and monitors weren't either, not everything can be free)

There is only on logical choice (1)

fwarren (579763) | more than 7 years ago | (#16423779)

Secretly http://www.geocities.com/hirak_99/goodies/secretly .html [geocities.com]

It is the fastest virtual desktop switcher out there, no pause, no hesitation whatsoever. Icons for the most part stay on their own virtual desktop. There is no gui,everything works by hotkey. It is the only virtual desktop manager that just stays out of my way and works.

Most virtual desktop managers for windows are dog slow, you can watch the minimized icons dissapear one by one, then the desktop switches, then the icons for that desktop pop into place, one by one. None of that for me, I am sticking with Secretly.

It was designed to be the ultimate boss key program, but it is more of a linux junkies favorite utility when forced to work in Windows.

WinScroll (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 7 years ago | (#16419579)

I use WinScroll [kinet.or.jp] (English version here [kinet.or.jp] ). It might have problems if you have multiple desktops, I use a triple-head system that only presents a single, unified desktop to Windows.

Real monitors! (-1, Redundant)

headkase (533448) | more than 7 years ago | (#16419587)

Screw virtual, do what I did and buy at least one more monitor! Dual and up monitors rock. Just add Ultramon [realtimesoft.com] (Which IMHO is one of the best multimonitor utilities there is going) and you're all set!

Virtual Dimension (5, Informative)

no-body (127863) | more than 7 years ago | (#16419595)

does it for me pretty good:

http://virt-dimension.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

the power toys - or whatever the junk is from M$ - sucks!

Re:Virtual Dimension (1)

kjart (941720) | more than 7 years ago | (#16419709)

Looks interesting - I'll have to try it. I'm curious how well it performs though. The only real complaint I have for the powertoy is that it's a little slow. If virtual dimension is noticeably faster then that's good enough for me (especially with that apparent transparency affect).

Re:Virtual Dimension (2, Interesting)

JamesTRexx (675890) | more than 7 years ago | (#16419821)

I can't compare to the powertoys, but Virtual Dimension performs very well. I've been using it for years on Windows 2000 and now XP, and the only real complaint I have that on rare occasions I can't switch desktops, but that could be related to the use of Synergy2 and VMware/Virtual PC at the same time. (one can only use so much keyboard grabbing software constantly at the same time..) I highly recommend trying this one.

Re:Virtual Dimension (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16427339)

I would just like to comment that I am also using synergy and I'm using the microsoft powertoy. Is it slow? Maybe. Is windows slow? Indubitably. So do I let it bother me? Nope :) Besides, it supports a unique background per desktop and it has a preview view, what more do I need?

Re:Virtual Dimension (1)

masklinn (823351) | more than 7 years ago | (#16420175)

Virtual Dimension works MUCH better than the powertoy in every aspect, it's much faster, much cleaner, and has more features.

Re:Virtual Dimension (1)

pasamio (737659) | more than 7 years ago | (#16420767)

I'm a fan of virtual dimension, I use it at work to seperate stuff up so that I don't have to alt tab through a horribly long list of windows, half of which are irrelevant to the present task.

Re:Virtual Dimension (1)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 7 years ago | (#16419717)

Thanks for the link! I learn something new from you people each day. (Well except for exploding radioactive bunnies)

Re:Virtual Dimension (1)

imess (805488) | more than 7 years ago | (#16420377)

I've tried a few virtual desktops, including virtual dimension and another open source one that has quite a few plugins. One thing I like about virtual dimension is the ability to change transparency for almost every window, but like most other virtual desktops on windows, it's not stable, and most of the time when a modal dialog pops up from another desktop the parent window of that dialog will either disappear (I can still spy on the handle, and make an api call to show it again), or simply lock up explorer.

So, use those toys at your own risk.

Re:Virtual Dimension (1)

SteveAyre (209812) | more than 7 years ago | (#16421385)

Looks really good, and it's even working on x64 (except shell integration, I might try porting it if I have time).

Couple of wishes, but they're probably already there if I get shell integration working. (Like 'Move to Desktop').

Anyone know if you can set a hotkey to show/hide the desktops window? I don't want it there all the time, but want to get it to show on a hotkey...

On the whole it's far better than the last ones I tried (which were slow and kept losing windows).

Re:Virtual Dimension (1)

Racsan (36434) | more than 7 years ago | (#16424205)

I have 0.94 and the setting is called "Show/Hide Preview Window"

This allows you to toggle the desktop list off or on.

JLE

Re:Virtual Dimension (1)

SteveAyre (209812) | more than 7 years ago | (#16426913)

Ah! Hadn't seen that.

Thanks! :)

Re:Virtual Dimension (1)

Bandman (86149) | more than 7 years ago | (#16423265)

The one thing I really like about the powertoy that I wish other pagers did is the tile function, where they display all the desktops, and you click to select which one you want.

I mean, with 3desk I have a cooler select method, but I like the "tile" thing too.

Re:Virtual Dimension (1)

edis (266347) | more than 7 years ago | (#16424493)

mee too: just finished GIMP editing session, that would be crazy to do without Virtual Dimension. Must be what you are looking for.

Re:Virtual Dimension (1)

Toba82 (871257) | more than 7 years ago | (#16425701)

I used virtual dimension before I switched to linux and while it doesn't have the same quality X11 does, it's very good.

Virtuawin? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16419597)

Never really used it, but it might do what you want... http://virtuawin.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

Re:Virtuawin? Absolutely! (4, Informative)

ewhac (5844) | more than 7 years ago | (#16420035)

VirtuaWin [sourceforge.net] is a mandatory component of any new machine I set up for myself. I have it installed at home and at work, and I use it constantly. Windows is nearly unusable without it. And it's Free Software. Highly, highly recommended.

Schwab

Re:Virtuawin? Absolutely! (2, Informative)

Eric Pierce (636318) | more than 7 years ago | (#16423941)

I can vouch for this. I've used VirtuaWin for ~3 years, and it is hands down the best virtual windowing utility for Windows I've tried.

It's open source too.

Eric

Re:Virtuawin? Absolutely! (2, Informative)

couchslug (175151) | more than 7 years ago | (#16425785)

"Highly, highly recommended."

Especially with the Cool Desktop Switcher module.

Re:Virtuawin? (2, Informative)

eegreg (970843) | more than 7 years ago | (#16421383)

I have tried out most of the free virtual desktops, and VirtuaWin is what I use. It does not show a graphical preview of other desktops. If you want that feature you may want to try dm2. If you are a real power user you way want to look at PowerPro. For any that you try out, just don't forget to try out all the options and configurations- they can make a big difference. But don't forget that multiple desktops on Windows is always a big hack. If you stick with just one desktop you may want to try TaskSwitchXP which is a nicer ALT+TAB windows manager.
Yeah, I'm running VMware too. Make sure to install VMware tools (may need to be using VMware server, not player). mount.cifs will get you connected to Windows. If you are using a NAT configuration and need to terminal to a server, use rsh/ssh -X

UltraMon (0)

rishistar (662278) | more than 7 years ago | (#16419637)

Not a full desktop but I found Ultramon [realtimesoft.com] to be a great little item. Its also lightweight and non obtrusive, which were two features I found lacking when I tried other desktops out.

Re:UltraMon (1)

kjart (941720) | more than 7 years ago | (#16419697)

Yeah, I use Ultramon at work since I have two LCDs there. It's a great little app and makes dual monitors that much better. The two key features for me are the non-mirroring taskbars (i.e. apps open on one monitor will only show up in the taskbar for that monitor) and the button beside minimize that quickly lets you move a window from one monitor to another. Killer app.

Re:UltraMon (2, Informative)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 7 years ago | (#16420559)

However, it costs $40 if that matters to people who prefer free software like VirtuaWin.

Microsoft Powertoys (0, Redundant)

jfclavette (961511) | more than 7 years ago | (#16419713)

Link [microsoft.com]

Re:Microsoft Powertoys (1)

Kangburra (911213) | more than 7 years ago | (#16419739)

The MS Powertoy doesn't really cut it for me

I think that means the MS powetoys are more toys and less power?

Re:Microsoft Powertoys (1)

malvidin (951569) | more than 7 years ago | (#16419907)

How about Cooldesk or altdesk? I would link to them like you did to powertoys, but I think the links might be included in the post.

GoScreen (0)

antdude (79039) | more than 7 years ago | (#16419725)

GoScreen [goscreen.info] is the best virtual desktop manager that my friends and I found and use. It is not free after 30(?) days, but it is cheap and worth it. It still supports old Windows 95 to the newest (XP). Very low resources. We use it at home and work.

Re:GoScreen (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16426697)

Another vote for GoScreen. It is rock solid, and has lots of nice features.

Re:GoScreen (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 7 years ago | (#16426811)

Yep, how long have you been using it? I think I got it when Windows 98 was around.

Virtuawin (4, Interesting)

christophe.vg (742168) | more than 7 years ago | (#16419755)

Back in the days when I was still using windows, I used Virtuawin. It works very nicely, has a rich feature set, but ... 9 virtual desktops, each one filled with application, sometimes brought Windows to its knees ;-)

http://virtuawin.sourceforge.net [sourceforge.net]

See also my previous post about Virtuawin an other posts in reply to an article about "Improving the Windows XP User Interface" containing other useful applications in the same line: http://ask.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/04/14/19 18218&tid=201 [slashdot.org]

Microsoft TCO (5, Funny)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#16419823)

If you've read any reliable reports you will know that the total cost of owership of a MS-based PC is far less than a Linux one. Therefore your company should be able to afford to fit many PCs on your desk and you won't have to use virtual desktops.

Re:Microsoft TCO (1)

TheGreatGonzo (952532) | more than 7 years ago | (#16420237)

That doesn't happen to be the report that Microsoft wrote was it?? Get the facts............ the windoz facts!!

Virtual desktops (1)

quiberon2 (986274) | more than 7 years ago | (#16419925)

You mean like this [linuxtracker.org] ?

Torrent here [linuxtracker.org] . Enjoy.

You might try some alternate shells... (5, Interesting)

Mr. Gus (58458) | more than 7 years ago | (#16420019)

I haven't used any myself in quite a while, but there are alternative shells [shellfront.org] for windows that replace explorer (start menu et al) that are very unixy. I used to use LiteStep [beyondconvention.net] , which made it seem a lot like AfterStep. I even had a theme that made it seem kinda' WindowMaker-y (though it was a bit cheesy). I'm not current, don't know what's "the best" these days, but it's a direction you might want to look in to, if you're employers will let you do it.

Re:You might try some alternate shells... (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 7 years ago | (#16420647)

Litestep's virtual window manager was brilliant, but installing the shell under XP is a PITA -- even piecing together the latest version of Litestep itself is a bit of a hassle. I really should archive off the Litestep directory from my old 98SE laptop.

Re:You might try some alternate shells... (1)

hwolfe (531) | more than 7 years ago | (#16420997)

I used to love Litestep, then development slowed, and I held off on upgrading. When I decided to try and upgrade with a new installer, it just hosed my old setup, overwritting my rc files.

Re:You might try some alternate shells... (1)

15Bit (940730) | more than 7 years ago | (#16421029)

I used litestep for several years on NT4 and Win2K, and whilst i haven't tried recent incarnations of it on WinXP i'd definitely recommend it based on my experience.

I'm not sure what the current state of the litestep community is like - it seemed to undergo some sort of implosion a few years back, and the main litestep sites closed up shop. Was kinda sad, given how well the shell worked. Anyone here know how things are currently?

Re:You might try some alternate shells... (1)

Yeti.SSM (869826) | more than 7 years ago | (#16421091)

I use LiteStep some two years and like it, although it has some bugs. The most serious for me is the infamous "lost windows" one (the window gets somewhere out of the viewable area and it's impossible to get it back - you need the DeskLite [desktopian.org] utility for that).

Otherwise, it's lightweight, nice, clean, customizable and there's quite a lot of themes available.
Just my $0.02.

Re:You might try some alternate shells... (1)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 7 years ago | (#16421879)

!VWMGather is your friend :)

LiteStep (1)

Yakust (652563) | more than 7 years ago | (#16425655)

I would definetly recommend LiteStep.
All the previously mentionned bugs/problems have been solved years ago. LiteStep is now easy to install/use/configure.
Get details and the installer here : http://ls-universe.info/ [ls-universe.info]

PS. It is also easy to run LiteStep as a normal app to get only the features you want (VMW or whatever)

To better help answer the question... (1)

Loligo (12021) | more than 7 years ago | (#16420223)

...what is it about the Powertoy that DOESN'T suit your needs?

Note: Having Microsoft's name attached doesn't count.

  -l

Re:To better help answer the question... (4, Informative)

myc_lykaon (645662) | more than 7 years ago | (#16420745)

I have use it constantly (at work) for the last 2 years.

1) It's slow, very slow.
2) Dialogs (such as VS.NET pops up a dialog when a file has changed) pop up on the visible screen, not on the screen occupied by the parent. You can waste time wondering why your app appears to have locked up - it's just waiting for you to clear a dialog on another desktop.
3) MS Excel looses all it's toolbars if you flip between virtual desktops.
4) Some apps don't behave well to being switched and the window contents 'slide' down inside their container.
5) If an app on one of the other desktops wanders off into the long grass and consumes lots of CPU, it's the devils own job to switch desktops. I find after starting using MSVDM I use taskmgr much more frequently.

That said, it's definately the best of a bad bunch.

Re:To better help answer the question... (1)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 7 years ago | (#16424501)

#2 happens to me all the time. There also isn't an easy way to move apps between virtual desktops, but I've learned to live with it.

On OS/2, I use the virtual desktop utility that came bundled with Hummingbird eXceed, and it seems to be much more "conventional" with an X x Y pane panel (I use 2x2) and the ability to drag apps between desktops using the mini window images. Maybe I need to get a copy of eXceed for Windows? :-)

Re:To better help answer the question... (4, Informative)

commadore_sponsz (995989) | more than 7 years ago | (#16420771)

I'm using it at the moment and, whilst it does give you virtual desktops, it has its problems:
  • I have yet to find a way to send windows to another desktop - they stay where you open them. This can lead to dialogue boxes on a different desktop to it's parent program.
  • Some programs don't get on well with it, Excel 2003 loses the tool bars and one of our in-house apps hangs if you change desktop.
  • If a program freezes it will lock things up when you try and change desktop - ctrl-alt-del is the only way I've found to get round this and killing the stuck process can kill explorer and bring everything back to destop 1.
  • It can be slow to change desktops and will often re-arrange the order of windows and their buttons on the task bar when you return to a desktop.
It's better than no vrtual desktops but not by much. However, it does have the virtue of not showing up on our internal software audit scans as a verboten software install.

Re:To better help answer the question... (1)

hwolfe (531) | more than 7 years ago | (#16420957)

The first one is rather obvious. Switch, momentarily, to shared desktops, alt-tab to the app you want on the current desktop, then turn off shared desktops.

I agree that the 2nd is a problem. I had that issue with Access, when working with it for a database class. Odd that these particular MS products don't work well together.

Re:To better help answer the question... (2, Informative)

commadore_sponsz (995989) | more than 7 years ago | (#16421133)

Yep, that does work but it's a long winded way of doing something I am used to doing with two mouse clicks in X. A menu item of 'Send to Desktop [n]' is what I call rather obvious, this I call an obscure workround, but that's semantics for you.

Re:To better help answer the question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16424567)

Not only can you not move programs from one desktop to another, but sometimes programs magically jump from one desktop to another while switching desktops and you have no way to move them back other than exiting and relaunching the program.

You have to turn it off whenever you want to play a game or really screwy things can happen.

Last of all, the Microsoft virutal desktop powertool only works on WinXP.

Re:To better help answer the question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16428923)

Along with the other commenters' responses, another thing that irritated me was the fact that it took so much space in the task bar. Why does it have to have a big "MSVD" (or whatever it was) logo next to the _four_ buttons? I found Virtuawin and use it on both XP boxes I have to use on a regular basis. It takes 16x16px in the statusbar, and I pretty much use keyboard controls for everything (just like I do with virtual desktops in FVWM, GNOME and more recently, KDE).

-bill!

powerpro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16420269)

http://powerpro.webeddie.com/ [webeddie.com]

Does multiple desktops and so much more. I've been using it just for multiple desktops on Windows for years and have never even touched the rest of its functionality. It just works.

powerpro (1)

N7DR (536428) | more than 7 years ago | (#16420335)

http://powerpro.webeddie.com/ [webeddie.com]

I have used this for more years than I care to remember (more than 10). It is the second thing to get installed on any Windows system that I have to use. Immediately after GoBack.

desktop twister (1)

KillerLoop (202131) | more than 7 years ago | (#16420441)

quite simple, but does the job. i've been rummaging through various multiple desktop environments for windows for years, and have come back to desktop twister regularly.

download:
http://members.aol.com/SuperFlago/files/dsktw150.z ip [aol.com]

It's worth a try (2, Informative)

DutchMasterKiller (1003736) | more than 7 years ago | (#16420485)

Free for personal use last time I used it. http://www.dexpot.de/ [dexpot.de]

Re:It's worth a try (1)

tenelson (136520) | more than 7 years ago | (#16425829)

I highly recommend this software. I use it every day and it is the least flaky of all of the virtual desktop programs I have used. It's loads more configurable than the downloadable MS tool, for instance you can set it up to switch desktops with a key combination.

Odd... (2, Funny)

Mr. Samuel (950418) | more than 7 years ago | (#16420799)

I've always considered Windows itself a virtual desktop.

BlackBox for Windows? (3, Informative)

SpiritOfGrandeur (686449) | more than 7 years ago | (#16420885)

I currently use bbLean [sourceforge.net] . It has not been updated in awhile but it is reliable.

xoblite - makes windows a little less hellish (2, Informative)

wulfbyte (722147) | more than 7 years ago | (#16421067)

http://xoblite.net/ [xoblite.net]
Granted it's not been updated for almost a year now, but I use it at work for the very same reason. I use the edge flipping and mousewheel plugins with the pager so I have a lot of flexibility in how I move from desktop to desktop. It gives me Unix like interface and with Cygwin (which also has an option to run X windows but I've not played with it much) augmenting my command line, I'm almost happy with it.
I've used various Blackbox for Windows branches, and xoblite seems to be the best of them. Fast and stable; the only times I've had problems with it, could be traced back to another program.
Plus there is the added bonus that my Windows only co-workers can't figure out how to navigate around my machine.

Two machines (1)

Zombie (8332) | more than 7 years ago | (#16421225)

Do what I do whenever they stick a Windows-machine in my face. Get a second machine running Linux to do all the real work; and use the Windows-machine only for those programs for which there is no easy alternative.

I've had a machine to run only Outlook that way, and now I have one that's dedicated to compiling code that I edit and do version control with on my Linux laptop. The laptop runs Samba, and the compiler has to get the source over CIFS.

Get a new job (0, Offtopic)

shd666 (451529) | more than 7 years ago | (#16421233)

Get a new job then. If using Windows is more important than what you want to accomplish then maybe the job is too badly managed. It annoys me that many organisations place restrictions on technical solutions that the employee could make oneself; For example, it would be demotivating for me to be ordered to work with IE instead of Firefox (or Windows instead of UNIX :-) Not all employees are sheeps that have to be micromanaged. Some people are more than capable of making techical decisions without admins or technical support.

Re:Get a new job (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#16421423)

Yeah, get a new job when there exist tons of free (even as in freedom) virtual desktops for Windows...

Sounds a little drastic, don't you think?

Re:Get a new job (1)

shd666 (451529) | more than 7 years ago | (#16421719)

Sounds a little drastic, don't you think?

Probably so. I wanted to point out a general problem on IT field rather than comment on this specific case (as there weren't many technical details about the case).

Re:Get a new job (1)

tomknight (190939) | more than 7 years ago | (#16421431)

I guess you're not working in the real world then.

Wiki Article (3, Informative)

Corbets (169101) | more than 7 years ago | (#16421265)

i figured someone would save me the trouble of posting this, but an hour or so later, no one has.... so here you go.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_desktop [wikipedia.org]

They list a bunch of alternatives on there. I hooked a friend up with Dextop, it works pretty slick.

sharpe (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16421309)

its supposed to be a shell replacement but you can just use the virtual desktop part
http://www.sharpe-shell.org/ [sharpe-shell.org]

Vern (2, Informative)

chill (34294) | more than 7 years ago | (#16421511)

Vern [freedownloadscenter.com]

Re:Vern (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16423271)

That'a pretty old copy of Vern - the homepage is http://www.oneguycoding.com/vern/ [oneguycoding.com]

This is an absolute essential for any (windows) computer of mine, and among the best 20 bucks I've ever spent.

-A

Alt-Tab? (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 7 years ago | (#16421839)

So rather than page through your individual applications, you want to page through 'desktops' showing your applications already maximized?

Virtual desktops are so early 90s.

Re:Alt-Tab? (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 7 years ago | (#16423089)

No, I generally don't use maximized windows for a lot of things. What I want are sets of Windows. If I'm programming I generally have an 2 xterms (one for compiling the other for running tests, and sometimes a 3rd for debugging) and emacs open on one desktop. If I'm image editing I have all of GIMP's windows open on another. If I'm browsing the web then I do have a maximized copy of the browser open. When I switch between desktops I want to switch between a WORKSPACE (which may well have lots of programs open), not just single programs.

Multidesk (1)

Dunx (23729) | more than 7 years ago | (#16421871)

I've been using Multidesk [download.com] (or possibly Mutidesk2001 [download.com] - I don't have my work machine to hand to check) for years now, long before the PowerToy came out. It gives you:
  • up to nine desktops (MSVDM only gives you four)
  • hot keys to switch desktops
  • a workable, if inelegant, mechanism to move windows between desktops

It's by no means flawless, though - it's freeware, but not Free; and the code is old, having not been updated since Win98 days. But my Windows days at work would be vastly more painful without it.

I will be looking at some of the other recommendations in this thread, though.

BossKey (2, Informative)

erykjj (213892) | more than 7 years ago | (#16422045)

10 desktops, lightweight, free, portable, allows window exclusion - works great
http://keir.net/bosskey.html [keir.net]

XDesk (1)

eric76 (679787) | more than 7 years ago | (#16422119)

I've used something called XDesk [xdesksoftware.com] for quite a while on my remaining windows machine. Before settling on that, I tried just about every one I could find and felt this handled just about everything better than the others.

I do turn some of the "bells and whistles" off. For example, I really don't need to see representations of the individual windows. From my point of view, that usually just gets in the way.

I believe the purchase provided updates for one year. Since I really don't use windows all that much these days (mainly OpenBSD and Linux), I never bothered to purchase another year's worth of updates. So my version is not the latest by any means.

Re:XDesk (1)

MagicM (85041) | more than 7 years ago | (#16424935)

I second XDesk. Both the app and the website look and feel like they were created in the 80s, but I could not find a better virtual desktop manager that gives me a pop-up preview window of my desktops.

If you just want to switch between desktops using hotkeys and nothing else, then you could probably do with something less bloated. But otherwise, give XDesk a try. They have a free trial.

My suggestion... (0, Offtopic)

lynx_user_abroad (323975) | more than 7 years ago | (#16422133)

Leave the company.

A company that mandates the use of a certain solution invariably develops an inability to address that segment of their market which exists outside of the dependency on that solution.

For example, a shipbuilder who mandates all hulls it builds to be sealed with a certain type of caulk will be unable to address the market for hulls built with a different kind of caulk.

In this example, to the extent that your company will be using Windows as its exclusive solution for whatever it is you are required to do, the company will be unable to access solutions outside of the Windows-centric method for doing this. If a better (or more appropriate) non-Windows solution becomes available, that solution will not exists within the 'toolbox' of solutions available to your company, placing it at a competitive disadvantage.

This 'one solution' strategy does have it's place, for example, if the only market for your solutions is among a customer base which exclusively demands those solutions. An example of this might be an electronics manufacturer demanding that all circuit pack manufacturing processes use CFC-free solvents in a market where legal requirements or market conditions specify this.

Such might be the case here if your company is developing a Windows-exclusive product or service for a Windows-exclusive market. However, I'd argue it's inappropriate here due to Microsoft's extensive dominance of their market. Essentially any Windows-exclusive solution eventually becomes a part of Windows itself, unless blocked by legal restraints (think: Quicken in money management) or abnormal market dynamics (think Symantic in anti-virus software). You company would be destined do be bought-out by Microsoft, on Microsoft's terms.

Re:My suggestion... (1)

Hegh (788050) | more than 7 years ago | (#16424349)

"Quit your job" is not what I would call a realistic solution for "I want multiple virtual desktops under Windows." Just my opinion, but it seems a little excessive. :-P

My suggestion...Better zealotry. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16425267)

Isn't zealotry and hatred a beautiful thing?

Re:My suggestion... (1)

lynx_user_abroad (323975) | more than 7 years ago | (#16425453)

"Quit your job" is not what I would call a realistic solution...

Well. okay. That's a fair reply.

There's a lot to be said for someone who is, essentially, looking for a way to keep doing things the non-Windows-way in a Windows-only environment. If the company has a survival path, it will be through people like these who have the vision to see beyond the dogma.

That said, I don't hold out much hope for that company, nor can I offer any relevant Windows solution, not having much experience working under such constraints.

And faced with having no helpful comment to add, I always fall back to a quick snide remark.

SDesk (1)

fiber_halo (307531) | more than 7 years ago | (#16422313)

I use SDesk [tomasek.cz] even though it's "closed as of 2000" whatever that means. This is exactly like the FVWM desktop switcher and I've mapped ctrl-arrow key combinations to move around, just like on my Linux system. It's GPLed, so you can theoretically modify it if you want. It's written in Delphi?? I don't even know what that is.

My only complaint is that SDesk seems to take a really low process priority. So that when an application is busy, it's difficult to change desktops. In practice, this doesn't seem to be a problem at all. It's just an occasional irritation.

AltDesk (1)

chroot_james (833654) | more than 7 years ago | (#16422699)

I use altdesk and I'm very happy with it. I've been using it for about a year and a half since entering the financial software dev world. I was all Linux and Macs until then. Now I'm all Linux and Macs at home and all Windows and Linux in the office. My entire setup is actually kinda neat. I hide the desktop icons, use cygwin, but with a putty shell interface (search for puttycyg), aquadock (an apple style launcher) and altdesk. Combine that with iTunes and Firefox and you won't really mind windows so much. It's at least tolerable...

flashdesktops application (1)

apk (120253) | more than 7 years ago | (#16422869)

http://flashdesktops.com/ [flashdesktops.com]

Very easy to move apps from one VD to another. You can also make them sticky.
Customizable keyboard shortcuts for moving between windows as well as other
process/.exe-specific handling if you desire.

I've been using it for at least 5 years. There's a try-before-you-by period,
cost is $25.

Best feature -- it's FAST.

Andy

compass (1)

aksokzan (979658) | more than 7 years ago | (#16422933)

It's not well-known, and we haven't hacked on it since 2001, but it works pretty well as is. And it's GPL. It requires no installation, and the zip file is only 117kB.

The sourceforge page has since lasped, but here's the last version we released (with source): compass.zip [twinaxis.com] . Try it out; if someone wants to do more with the code, by all means.

Enable Virtual Desktop (2, Informative)

mt stat (576142) | more than 7 years ago | (#16422947)

From Enable Software at http://enablevirtualdesktop.com/ [enablevirtualdesktop.com] Works pretty much just like an X11 desktop pager, you can drag apps from window to window and they behave as expected. It also has a set of 'rules' that you can implement to handle apps that don't play nice. I have been using this software for 8 years now, it just works.

Use ManageDesk (1)

siyavash (677724) | more than 7 years ago | (#16423463)

Use "ManageDesk" , you can switch between desktops with the middle of mouse button scroll. so u won't have to move your mouse anywhere in order to switch desktop. U'll love it.

deskwin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16424261)

I am surprised no one has mentioned deskwin [demon.co.uk]
[www.yipton.demon.co.uk] yet?

'HAVE' to run native Windows? (1)

skinfitz (564041) | more than 7 years ago | (#16424843)

You mean for games right?

Run X11 and use Terminal Services to connect to your Windows servers for anything you could ever want to do (except games).

standard X11 pager (1)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 7 years ago | (#16425263)

What is the standard X11 pager?

multidesk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16425427)

Do a search for a little utility called multidesk. It puts up to nine icons in the tray. Very unobtrusive. There are two versions, one a more updated beta and a slightly older one v2.1b. The newer one looks slicker while the older one has an ugly green desk for a tray icon. I suggest the older one as it works a little better.

VDesk from the windows nt resource kit (1)

Arthur Dent (76567) | more than 7 years ago | (#16425677)

If you can get your hands on the windows nt resourse kit, there's a utility called VDesk.exe. One of the best desktop managers I've come across. Maintains separate login sessions for each desktop. 12 desktops maximum. Only annoyance: cannot change the hotkey - linked to CTRL+Fn. Best feature: hooks into the virtual screen, so xp terminal services mode does not work. Bliss :)

Litestep (1)

Akvum (580456) | more than 7 years ago | (#16425753)

It might not work if the group policy makes your box essentially a dummy terminal or wipes a lot of settings, but replacing your shell with litestep has always been my choice if I needed virtual desktops, as it has some themes that can look pretty much like your favorite *nix windowmanager.

http://www.litestep.net/ [litestep.net] should have all the stuff necessary for litestep's needs.

x-desk (1)

ehuss (904267) | more than 7 years ago | (#16425893)

I have used x-desk 1.4 which I liked because it was lightweight and seem to have a fast refresh when switching (it also normally kept the windows in the taskbar in the same order which some virtual desktop programs have problems with). Development was halted, so it's kinda dead, but it still works great: http://www.freedownloadscenter.com/Shell_and_Deskt op/Virtual_Desktop_Managers/X_Desk.html [freedownloadscenter.com] Suggest you change the default to "alt-arrow" for changing desktops.

Free (1)

xate (784379) | more than 7 years ago | (#16428655)

Free apps are everywhere. google it

Virtual Dimension (1)

weegreenblobbie (931680) | more than 7 years ago | (#16429015)

By far the best one I've used is calll Virtual Dimension. I can set it up to behave just like GNOME, with CTRL + ALT + RIGHT to move to the desk at the right, and CTRL + ALT + LEFT to move left. One can also drag and drop icons from desk to desk, or make a window appear on all desks. It's also integrated into Window's shell.
Check it out:
http://virt-dimension.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]
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