Simple Virtual Desktops on Vista – Desktops 1.0 Released

Virtual Desktops in Vista has been a sore point for massive multi-taskers since Linux made virtual desktops cool 114 years ago and Apple took it mainstream with OS X 10.5 and Spaces.

We’ve been on the hunt for a good Virtual Desktop application for Vista for quite a while; we wrote about Vista/XP Virtual Desktop Manager a while ago, but generally found the app too unstable and little niggling annoyances drove you nuts over the period of days working with the software.

Grant Gochnauer sent in news today that the Sysinternals team (bought up by Microsoft years ago) has released an ultra-simple multiple-desktop utility called Desktops.

If you are not familiar with Sysinternals, they are the code-ninjas that created all the wicked-awesome Windows system tools that just about every savvy Windows admin ever used. Desktops is no different; it’s so tight and locked down it’s a 62kb download and not even an installer, just an EXE.

On first install it fires up the options menu, you can dial in exactly how you want to switch between your 4 virtual desktops (cannot be adjusted) and hit OK… that’s it.

On first switch you might notice a long-lag or a black screen while the desktop loads (I believe this only occurs the first time when you switch to a new desktop) but then things seem fairly snappy.

There don’t seem to be any graphical anomolies but the application is basic… really really basic.

I miss being able to switch desktops using ALT+CTRL+<ARROW KEYS> as is with most other virtual desktop apps, and there is no hovering desktop indicator that changes as you flip between desktops, so if you mis-hit a key it’s easy to get disoriented as to where you are (and you have no real good way of knowing, unless you popup the switcher and stare at it to figure that out).

With some minor tweaks I think this app would more or less rock my socks, let’s hope version 2.0 brings them to the table, or Microsoft just decides that Virtual Desktops aren’t only for hippy, left-wing tree-hudding graphic designers and that the rest of us like them too.

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About Riyad Kalla

Software development, video games, writing, reading and anything shiny. I ultimately just want to provide a resource that helps people and if I can't do that, then at least make them laugh.

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No Responses to “Simple Virtual Desktops on Vista – Desktops 1.0 Released”

  1. Amre Ellafi August 23, 2008 at 7:27 am #

    congrats ! working on windows 2008 server as well :)

  2. Editor August 23, 2008 at 1:05 pm #

    Amre,
    Thanks for the heads up, glad to hear it works there as well.

  3. Ben August 26, 2008 at 3:30 am #

    You should also review Virtual Dimensions, though development seems to have halted. I’ve used it for years and its still the best out there in terms of features and usability. I’m really surprised how few people know about it. Its open source, btw.

  4. Editor August 26, 2008 at 4:39 am #

    Ben, thanks for the heads up, I had never heard of Virtual Dimensions before, but it’s a real shame development stopped, it looked like a successful project with quite a few releases and some really cool features.

    Unfortunately I don’t see Vista compatibility listed anywhere, any idea if it works on Vista?

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