topbanner_forum
  *

avatar image

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
  • Saturday December 5, 2020, 6:54 am
  • Proudly celebrating 15+ years online.
  • Donate now to become a lifetime supporting member of the site and get a non-expiring license key for all of our programs.
  • donate

Author Topic: Virtual desktop tools?  (Read 555 times)

brotherS

  • Master of Good Ideas
  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • **
  • Posts: 2,229
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Virtual desktop tools?
« on: October 24, 2020, 11:40 AM »
Hi,

I've decided to use virtual desktops in Windows 10, kinda like a trial period to see how much I like it. I don't even know yet if Windows restores Chrome tabs to different desktops after a reboot, but I'm willing to find out.  8)

Are there any tools you can recommend? I've found this "5 best virtual desktop software for Windows 10" article but would like feedback here before I randomly start installing stuff, and I don't plan to spend money right away. To be able to use Win+Ctrl+Left/Right to move between desktops is a great start. :)

panzer

  • Participant
  • Joined in 2008
  • *
  • default avatar
  • Posts: 911
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Virtual desktop tools?
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2020, 11:51 AM »

brotherS

  • Master of Good Ideas
  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • **
  • Posts: 2,229
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Virtual desktop tools?
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2020, 01:27 PM »
https://github.com/octalmage/mDesktop
Thanks, the mDesktop description sounded good... I installed it - followed by near-instant regret: after trying a hotkey it minimized EVERYTHING (on all desktops) in a way that it looked like everything had crashed. But everything was minimized in a way that I couldn't access most programs anymore.  >:(

Had to reboot, then I uninstalled mDesktop.


I don't even know yet if Windows restores Chrome tabs to different desktops after a reboot, but I'm willing to find out.  8)
I just learned that Windows doesn't.

panzer

  • Participant
  • Joined in 2008
  • *
  • default avatar
  • Posts: 911
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Virtual desktop tools?
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2020, 01:46 PM »
I used mDesktop ages ago. Then it worked as it should.

wraith808

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • default avatar
  • Posts: 10,753
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Virtual desktop tools?
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2020, 01:46 PM »
I used AltDesk when I wanted to do it- http://www.astonshell.com/altdesk/

Hasn't been updated since 2010, but it still works.

Ath

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 3,489
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Virtual desktop tools?
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2020, 01:49 PM »
Sounds like you are using it for personal use, so Dexpot, as suggested in the link you provided, sounds like a very good candidate.

The last update for mDesktop was in 2018, and the support department hasn't been around/active since 2014, it seems :-\, so I'd not even have tried it, would I've been in your shoes...

Lintalist

  • Participant
  • Joined in 2015
  • *
  • Posts: 114
    • View Profile
    • Lintalist
    • Donate to Member
Re: Virtual desktop tools?
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2020, 01:55 PM »
I tried https://virtuawin.sourceforge.io/ in the past (Windows 7, worked well) - homepage says it works on Windows 10 so might be worth trying.

brotherS

  • Master of Good Ideas
  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • **
  • Posts: 2,229
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Virtual desktop tools?
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2020, 03:23 PM »
I used AltDesk when I wanted to do it- http://www.astonshell.com/altdesk/

Hasn't been updated since 2010, but it still works.
I'll skip this one, the UI doesn't look appealing to me.  8)


Sounds like you are using it for personal use, so Dexpot, as suggested in the link you provided, sounds like a very good candidate.
I thought so too, at first, but then I read that they acknowledged Windows 10 issues in 2016, promising an update... but the last available version is from 2014.  :down:


The last update for mDesktop was in 2018, and the support department hasn't been around/active since 2014, it seems :-\, so I'd not even have tried it, would I've been in your shoes...
Yeah, sometimes I'm adventurous/stupid like that...  8)


Thanks, Lintalist, I just tried VirtuaWin (the installer didn't mention Windows 10 and the UI looks like it hasn't received updates in years), but that resulted in a similarly negative experience as with mDesktop. Everything was suddenly hidden! At least I managed to unhide everything (but to only one desktop... weird!), but the UI isn't really self-explanatory. :(


So far this has been quite a frustrating experience. Did everyone more or less give up working on software in this category when Windows 10 came around?  :o

4wd

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 5,413
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Virtual desktop tools?
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2020, 04:06 PM »
There's also Desktops from SysInternals, (Microsoft), haven't used it in awhile, might be a bit minimalist though.

https://docs.microso...s/downloads/desktops

So far this has been quite a frustrating experience. Did everyone more or less give up working on software in this category when Windows 10 came around?

Most probably started going to multi-monitor, monitors became cheaper, which increased screen real estate allowing you to see it all at once rather than cycle through virtual desktops to the one you wanted.

wraith808

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • default avatar
  • Posts: 10,753
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Virtual desktop tools?
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2020, 04:14 PM »
Most probably started going to multi-monitor, monitors became cheaper, which increased screen real estate allowing you to see it all at once rather than cycle through virtual desktops to the one you wanted.

This is the exact situation for me.  I now only use it on Virtual Machines where I'm limited to one screen.  On my other machines, I have more screens than I really use.

Lintalist

  • Participant
  • Joined in 2015
  • *
  • Posts: 114
    • View Profile
    • Lintalist
    • Donate to Member
Re: Virtual desktop tools?
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2020, 04:18 PM »
I'm guessing various Win 10 updates makes it hard(er) to keep programs working correctly, combined with the fact the basic functionality is now available doesn't help with motivation.

If you are a AutoHotkey user: if you google around a bit you can find quite a few scripts to help manage the Windows 10 desktops, just found this for example so you can use hotkeys to switch desktops - https://www.computer....com/tips/tip224.htm - (haven't tried it so it may no longer work correctly if something has changed).

Anyway, have fun :)

Shades

  • Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 2,734
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Virtual desktop tools?
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2020, 08:12 PM »
Hasn't this become a standard function in Windows 10? Thought I read about that. But if you have the room and the funds for it, a dual monitor setup will be much more useful than a virtual desktop can ever be. For most people/use-cases a dual monitor setup gives you a huge performance boost. With a triple monitor setup, results diminish rather quickly. Still, it can be useful. Having 4 or even more monitors is definitely possible, but then it is more of niche inside another niche.

The standard functionality does not fulfill your needs? The only one I know about (and barely worked with) was: Dexpot. Then my boss decided to splurge on making each workstation a dual monitor setup. Haven't looked back at Virtual Desktops ever since. That was more than 10 years ago. So, unless you absolutely must have only one monitor on your desk, spend money on a new or second hand monitor. You'll get for the price of software license a second hand monitor. Doesn't have to be the same size or resolution either.

Although having 2 same size/same resolution/same height (stand) monitors is preferable, it is not a necessity. Any second monitor is better than a virtual desktop. Always.

There is an alternative way of seeing/testing if a second monitor is for you or not. This does require a separate computer or laptop on the same LAN network next to each other. Or at least in eye-shot.
Software like: Barrier  an open source alternative for the nowadays way too expensive Synergy  can be used to share keyboard/mouse/clipboard controls between computers that use these software.

Your main computer acts as the server, the others as clients. When the software is enabled, you can use one and the same keyboard/mouse to control all the connected computers. And yes, you can hook up Windows, Macs and Linux computers all together like this.

If you have the hardware laying around, it is an easy download/configuration and test to see if a dual monitor setup is for you, without spending any extra money. And if you are impressed by what such a setup helps you forward, fitting a second monitor to one computer is even better.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2020, 08:38 PM by Shades »

Deozaan

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Points: 1
  • Posts: 9,203
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Virtual desktop tools?
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2020, 09:22 PM »
This comes built-in to Windows 10. Just press Win+Tab or click on the Task Views icon (if you have it enabled) near the start bar. Then click the New Desktop button at the top left.

brotherS

  • Master of Good Ideas
  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • **
  • Posts: 2,229
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Virtual desktop tools?
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2020, 05:36 AM »
Yeah, I've considered going multi-monitor in the past, but couldn't justify it (yet?): hardware cost, desk space, energy usage...


This comes built-in to Windows 10. Just press Win+Tab or click on the Task Views icon (if you have it enabled) near the start bar. Then click the New Desktop button at the top left.
I should have mentioned that I already discovered that. Yes, having that is helpful, but I was looking for more. :)


If you are a AutoHotkey user: if you google around a bit you can find quite a few scripts to help manage the Windows 10 desktops, just found this for example so you can use hotkeys to switch desktops - https://www.computer....com/tips/tip224.htm - (haven't tried it so it may no longer work correctly if something has changed).
Thanks, that sounds promising! :)


So, unless you absolutely must have only one monitor on your desk, spend money on a new or second hand monitor. You'll get for the price of software license a second hand monitor. Doesn't have to be the same size or resolution either.
[...]
There is an alternative way of seeing/testing if a second monitor is for you or not. This does require a separate computer or laptop on the same LAN network next to each other. Or at least in eye-shot.
Software like: Barrier  an open source alternative for the nowadays way too expensive Synergy  can be used to share keyboard/mouse/clipboard controls between computers that use these software.

Your main computer acts as the server, the others as clients. When the software is enabled, you can use one and the same keyboard/mouse to control all the connected computers.
That sounds VERY interesting, I should try this! :)

4wd

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 5,413
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Virtual desktop tools?
« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2020, 06:27 AM »
Yeah, I've considered going multi-monitor in the past, but couldn't justify it (yet?): hardware cost, desk space, energy usage...

Normally don't even have to buy them if you're happy with monitors that are a few years old, I've been given monitors that are left over from upgrades that still work perfectly well.  They might not be FHD but they're still useful, don't even have them turned on most of the time.