Dexpot will allow you to set up and customize virtual desktops within Windows such that each can behave as a seperate workspace with its own icons and runnning apps. It offers powerful tools to customize and manage these virtual desktops in a nice intuitive graphical user interface.
Let’s say that you use your computer for work, and that you also use it, say, to edit personal videos, as well as to do a little bit of freelance web design on the side. With Dexpot you can keep all of your work icons, applications, files, and links on one desktop, all of your video editing icons/apps on another desktop, and all of the web design stuff on yet another virtual desktop.
You can also be running your web design app(s) so they’re only visible in the design desktop, your work applications in the work desktop, and so on.
Here’s what you need to know about this program:
- It creates up to 20 virtual desktops; you can navigate these through the system tray icon or using a number of cool looking gizmos that you can choose from.
- Dextop offers high customizability: each desktop can have its own name, icons/files/shortcuts, wallpaper, screen resolutions, running apps, transparency of windows, etc. You can also set rules for each desktop, e.g. to open a certain app when you enter a certain desktop for the first time or every single time, etc.
- These desktops are overlaid ‘virtually’ on top of your ‘real’ desktop. So, for example, although you only see the icons that belong to desktop#2 when you’re inside it, all of these are actually in your standard windows desktop folder.
I have installed and tested 2 other virtual desktop programs, Virtual Desktop Toolbox and VirtuaWin. Both were very good, (the former in particular was very powerful); still, Dextop is my clear favorite. The strength of this program lies in (a) the great sleek overall design, and (b) a very nice user interface which makes it really easy to customize and navigate.
However, I do have a wishlist:
- Icon management across different desktops could be more streamlined. As it is managing icons is a bit of a hassle, at least initially (you have to select the ‘Desktop Windows’ item on the menu then click the ‘icons’ tab to shuffle icons across desktops). Moreover, even after allocating the icons to the correct desktop(s), a few seemed to revert back inexplicably, but would work when I re-distributed them. It would be far more intuitive if the author had a right-click menu item that simply moved or copied the icon(s) to the desired desktop. See the comments section for a little trick that I use to distribute files/icons. Also ‘snap to grid’ for desktop icons doesn’t auto-refresh very well.
- The program should actively ask you if you want to save your profile upon exiting, and if you want this as default. This would have saved me from re-doing a lot of work when I exited the program only to find that my profile wasn’t saved when I re-opened it.
Once introduced to this app I was surprised and impressed; all I could think of was: why did Windows not ship with this functionality built in to begin with?. It is safe to say that this program is one of my ‘must-have’ titles and has made working on my computer a much better experience. I cannot recommend it more highly.
Version tested: 1.4.0 build 427
Compatibility: Windows 95/98/ME and NT4/2000/XP/2003/Vista.