Friday, October 26, 2007

Best Free Virtual Desktop Manager

I looked at a whole batch of free VDMs including VirtuaWin, Microdesk, Dexpot and Virtual Desktop Toolbox. VirtuaWin is a competent but basic product that depends on third-party modules for extra features but unfortunately there aren't many around.

Microdesk comes with more standard features such as 99 desktops, configurability of each desktop (name, password, wallpaper and icons), an attractive interface and a configurable transparent menu above the tray bar to navigate between desktops. However, there is no detailed FAQ and no forum.

Dexpot allows even more configurability for each of its 20 possible desktops with its well-organized interface and enables easy switching between desktops and quick movement of windows. However, the online documentation is very incomplete and the most active section of the online forum is in German.

Virtual Desktop Toolbox is loaded with features which the other three lack. The negative is that it takes a little longer to learn. However, the pain is eased by the very thorough user's guide and tips and tricks folder included in the installation and also available online at here and here.

Note that to unlock some time and feature restrictions to Virtual Desktop Toolbox's evaluation version you need to take out a free registration. The four VDMs I reviewed are all very capable products but I recommend Virtual Desktop Toolbox because of its outstanding features list and excellent support. Once you have learned how to use it you will improve your organization and productivity, perhaps drastically so.

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