Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Q: Where are the workspaces, Microsoft? A: Freeware

Ok, so here's what I'm wondering: Workspaces have been around for literally decades now, since at least 1989. (cite) So what the crap Microsoft....after creating an OS that is clearly copying Mac in many ways, are you still neglecting to add workspaces? Macs got Spaces in 2006, so why are you holding off? Sure, in Windows XP you could download a Powertoy, a 3rd party freeware, or even an alternate shell (like bbLean) to do the same, but I'm talking about built in functionality: workspaces. (Or I guess "virtual desktops", but whatever.)
The answer, I guess, is either (a) the "geniuses" at Microsoft think that this isn't a feature that people use (because obviously the other two competitors agree.....NOT), (b) they're waiting to add it to a later version (which is kind of something Apple would do), or (c) they want to keep Windows "different" from the competitors in order to keep people from easily switching over. (Yeah, I'm cynical, and slightly insane.)

Fortunately, people aren't as stupid as Microsoft and decided to make their own. My old favorite was VirtuaWin, which I still love to death; it's just more suited for Windows XP, and since I've moved to W7, I feel as though I need to find one that "fits" more. One that I found is called WindowsPager, and it performs very well, even integrating into the taskbar wonderfully. The downside to this one is that it has 4 desktops exactly: no more, no less. On the plus side, it's got alwaysontop, and more importantly, it's open source, in fact, he gives you the source with every download! Another good one I've heard suggested is Dexpot, which is free for private use. It's pretty much amazing, and here's why.
  • 1-20 desktops
  • Desktop naming
  • Multiple interfaces (Taskbar icon, tray icon, taskbar pagers)
  • Other good stuff (Window Catalouge, Full screen Preview, even a cube!)
  • Rules
It's basically amazing. The only problem is that it's more of a power toy. Did I say problem? Not a problem. It just takes some getting used to. I'm not used to it yet, but then I've only used it for 30 minutes. I'd say that Windows Pager is good if you want straightforward Workspaces. Dexpot is good if you want absolute control, because I'm pretty sure you can get absolute control with it.

So the score is:
Freeware: ∞+1
Microsoft: 0
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