DesktopCoral is a program that can reserve a part of the edge of your screen (on any of the 4 sides) such as to prevent applications and windows from maximizing over the reserved area. This allows the user to place some objects in the reserved space that will be visible at all times (and will not be maximized over by other windows).

When I first found this program I was attracted to its uniqueness and originality much more so than any practical applications of it. Having said that it is easy to imagine how a reserved area on any side of the screen can be the perfect spot to place some applications; however, unfortunately you cannot place all apps in this reserved space but rather those that do not use normal windows but rather a sort of ’floating window or icon(s)’ (the only way to be sure if the app you want will work is to try it). The following are examples:

  • A desktop sticky notes program such as Shock Sticker works (see first Desktop Coral Screenshotscreenshot).
  • A launcher such as RocketDock. Since a launcher can provide links to your favorite apps and folders it seems an especially good idea to be able to have access it at all times (see first screenshot).
  • A system monitoring app that might display a number of system indicators in real time; in fact, the initial impetus behind creating this program was to display system info from a program called Samurize without other windows covering it up (see 2nd screenshot).

More notes on this program:

  • You cannot place normal file or folder icons or shortcuts in the reserved area.
  • Although you can move normal windows such as the encroach on the reserved area, they always have to keep a toehold in the non-reserved desktop area. This is a significant handicap asDesktop Coral 2nd screenshot it prevents you from placing applications there that in theory would be ideal fits for this sort of thing: (e.g. I was not able to place Pidgin, my favorite IM client, into the area, nor Klipfolio, my favorite widgets program).
  • The reserve area can be as wide or tall as you like (you can set the value in pixels).
  • You can set values for the transparency or opaqueness; you can even use an image as background (i.e. the strip you create can have its own distinct wallpaper).
  • Includes a function for saving and restoring icon positions.

Wish list (or how this program can be even better)

  • Two things: (1) allow for the placement of normal file/folder icons and shortcuts in the reserved area, and (2) allow for the placement of normal windows in their entirety in that area. This would make DesktopCoral infinitely more useable.

The verdict: this is an interesting program that gets points for originality. Although its usefulness is limited by the issues mentioned in the wish list above, it might work very well for you, depending on what you need to use it for. Note that this program is registerware (i.e. you need to provide an email address in order to receive your free registration code).

Version tested: 1.00.07

Compatibility: Windows 2k/XP; no info on VISTA.

Go to the program page to get the latest version (approx 912K).

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Has been reviewing software since 2006 when he started
  • Fred Thompson

    I’d love to find something similar but it would limit the desktop area used when an app launches. IOW, a rectangular area base on two opposite points would define the portion of the desktop into which an app can launch. Some apps launch full-screen regardless of the “normal window” setting in their shortcut. The user would be able to manually enable fullscreen, I’m just talking about size during launch.

    It would also be nice to force the size. The recent Acrobat Reader, for example, will sometimes resize based on the PDF loaded.

  • Joe

    The improvement that I’d most like to see: since it’s based on having a “corral”, or fenced off area, on your desktop, having nothing to do with a marine invertebrate, it always kills me that they didn’t get the spelling right.

    I too thought this was a nifty idea when I came across it while fiddling with Samurize, but I never thought of a good use for it, other than in conjunction with Samurize. Most of the better versions of apps that you want to be able to see constantly or access quickly can be always-on-top or autohiding (docks, stickies), or docked (Pidgin has its own docking capability, why wouldn’t you just use that?)

  • Fred Thompson

    Proper grammar is always nice, too.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, I was thinking about using this as a way to prohibit windows expanding but it will only work for one rectangular area. What I’d really like is a little desktop space on the top, bottom and right edge and a larger area on the left edge where a few desktop icons live. This is because I run SideSlide and if windows are too close to the edge the user accidentally invokes the SideSlide menu too often. It’s been a while since I’ve poked through the snacks at DonationCoder. Maybe there is something which will do what I want.

  • I too could use something like this myself.
    I already have a lot of stuff in “MY Documents” that i keep as Need to know now!.

    I keep other stuff on my Desktop as in “NEED TO KNOW NOW!” This is a awesome app, but as you said it need work.

    I have friend working on a cool program now.
    I cam it a “Heads Up Display” He calls it “Side Slide.”
    Great Guy Great Program.

    I hope the programmer of ‘Desktop Coral’is as willing to work on making changes as Side Slides Programmer was.

    I think it makes for a better program.

  • I usually do not leave comments, but I spent more than hour on your site since it suits me – and DesktopCoral is my favorite article. Great post! Thanks.


  • Joshua

    Absolutely awesome tool which I’ve used to create a second taskbar in Windows 7 (with RocketDock and Rainmeter too).