RE: [TOOLS] Review/user comments of MS Virtual Destop Manager powertoy

Subject: RE: [TOOLS] Review/user comments of MS Virtual Destop Manager powertoy
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 24 Jul 2008 12:06:26 -0400

Replying to myself again... :-)

Like many IT Departments, ours connects to user PCs with a remote-access
tool. When I first had my dual-monitor setup, IT personnel could view
only the primary. If I had windows open on the secondary monitor, I had
to drag them where they could be seen.
Some months later, IT upgraded their remote-access tools, so that they
could see multiple monitor views.

It occurs to me to wonder what happens if they check in with my desktop
when I'm using one-of-four virtual desktops. Hmm.
I suppose they could just use the VDM icons to jump around as I do
locally. But I wonder if there are any gotchas. Hmm.

> -----Original Message-----
> From:
techwr-l-bounces+kevin -dot- mclauchlan=safenet-inc -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+kevin -dot- mclauchlan=safenet-inc -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-
>] On Behalf Of McLauchlan, Kevin
> Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2008 11:57
> To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: [TOOLS] Review/user comments of MS Virtual Destop Manager
> powertoy
> Perhaps the following observations will be useful to somebody on the
> list.
> Last week, I talked about the crowding of my Windows desktop, and the
> difficulty of finding stuff that I want to navigate to, versus the
> inconvenience of frequently closing everything that's not related to
> current (this five minutes) task. Several people admitted similar
> concerns. Some had suggestions.
> A list-member recommended a couple of Windows XP Power Toys -
> unsupported goodies developed by Microsoft programmers as fun
> and provided on the MS website, but without official support. In
> words, they work as advertised, and don't break anything, but
> doesn't promise anything - they are provided "as-is".
> One was Taskswitch, a simple enhancement of the "Alt-tab" function to
> add thumbnail views of application instances, so that [Alt][Tab]ing to
> another task becomes less of a guessing game. That one works fine,
> one exception...
> The other PowerToy is Virtual Desktop Manager. At first glance, MSVDM
> looks like it should be the answer to the Linux/UNIX multiple desktop
> capability, as I (appreciatively) experience it via KDE (and
> occasionally via GNOME, when I'm in a frivolous and non-KDE mood).
> However, after using it for a week, I find VDM lacking and annoying...
> at least for anybody who is accustomed to spreading their work and
> among two, four, or more semi-independent desktops within a Linux
> graphical session.
> VDM does create multiple virtual desktops that are visually separate
> from each other, with one visible at any one time and the others
> until you select a hidden one via its little numbered icon in the VDM
> section of the Windows toolbar. That part seems good and acts much
> I'd expect from years of experience running four desktops in my Linux
> KDE sessions.
> VDM appears to have two modes: Shared Desktop or... not.
> If Shared Desktop is on, all the windows/tasks from all your desktops
> are represented in the taskbar at the bottom of every virtual desktop,
> AND if you click one of those tasks/icons, the associated window
> to life... on the current desktop. It does so whether it was already
> part of that desktop or part of another. This action rather defeats
> desire to organize your tasks/windows in groups, per desktop. The
> correct action, according to me, would be to switch desktops while
> presenting the desired window/task.
> If you switch off Shared Desktop, then the tasks become
> confined/isolated to the desktop on which they were originally opened.
> However, the taskbar below each desktop now reflects only what lives
> that desktop. As well, the [Alt][Tab] function works only within the
> current virtual desktop. You have to remember which other desktops
> your various tasks and windows. Unlike in KDE/Linux, there's no
> (that I've found) to right-click a window frame and "send" it to
> desktop where it's better suited. If you want to move a window
> desktops, you need to switch on Shared Desktops, go to the desired
> desktop, click the task for that window, to launch it in its new
> and then switch off Shared Desktops again.
> In addition, the KDE virtual-desktop switcher shows little thumbnails
> your desktops, so you have visual reminder of what's on each one,
> you click to transfer-your-viewpoint/bring-up-a-different-desktop. As
> well, if you elect to have all your apps/tasks appear in every KDE
> desktop taskbar, they'll tell you which desktop they belong to.
> As well, there are hot-key options for jumping instantly among your
> desktops, AND you can have a different background color or photo for
> each one, as an aid to recognizing where you are at any moment. I
> haven't found anything like that in VDM. Change one background, and it
> changes... but jump to another desktop with the original background,
> the original background is still there (sounds good so far) then jump
> back to the changed desktop... and the original background (that's on
> all the other virtual desktops) is back. I'll experiment a little
> but I think that's the way it is. Changing a photo background to a
> less-graphically-demanding single color requires doing so for each and
> every desktop.
> Furthermore, even with its additional capabilities, KDE seems to make
> more efficient use of video memory. VDM has been quite slow to
> the new desktop each time I jump. My video card has 256MB of its own
> memory, and I'm not doing anything graphically fancy with any
> application (no games or videos or 3D rendering on my system)..
> Some of these things that I've been highlighting as deficiencies might
> be just my lack of familiarity with the program, but the "Help" is
> three paragraphs, leading me to believe that I've seen all the
> capability and flexibility that exists to be seen.
> Anyway, if I hadn't been using the KDE/Linux implementation for years,
> perhaps I would not find the VDM implementation so clunky.
> Granted, KDE is a full desktop environment with all sorts of
> functions, and an open api and interface. VDM is a little add-on to
> Windows, created as a gift, in someone's part-time off hours. So, the
> comparison is not fair. VDM might be useful to Windows-only users who
> have never experienced "the real thing" and don't have a nagging
> comparison always at the back of their minds. On the third hand, KDE
> (and all of Linux) costs no more than did MSVDM - which is to say,
> gratis, zero - and KDE gets frequent updates. It also works on 64-bit
> machines running 64-bit OS, which MSVDM doesn't.
> Cheers,
> - Kevin

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[TOOLS] Review/user comments of MS Virtual Destop Manager powertoy: From: McLauchlan, Kevin

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