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|Vdesk (c) 2000-2006 Octatec|
|Vdesk is a Virtual Desktop Manager for WIN32 systems.
The installation also includes a sophisticated wallpaper changer, which
can be used stand-alone, or, as intended, in conjunction with vdesk.
Also included is an API so that you can add Virtual Desktop functionality
to your own applications if you wish.
Summary: Vdesk manages upto 8 virtual desktops, allowing access from the task/status-bar
preferences dialog, select 'position on taskbar', Vdesk will disappear, but a small vdesk icon will appear on the right had side of the task-bar (known as the status bar or system tray). If you left-click the icon, vdesk reappears with the grid display, giving full access to all its functionality; it will disappear when you click the icon again, or if you click the minimize-bar. If you right-click, you will get the virtual desktop list which shows all desktops and windows in the system. Double-clinking a virtual desk-top will switch to that virtual desktop and immediately hide the vdesk application again. To close vdesk, left-click the vdesk icon and click the close-box on the applications title-bar. If vdesk was on the task/status-bar when it closed, it will automatically be there again when you re-start it. While vdesk is on the task/status-bar, it's minimize button will, in fact, completely hide the application, just leaving the task/status-bar icon, and not the usual application icon.
Drage&Drop interface that allows windows to easily be moved from one Virtual Desktop to another. Different wallpaper can be set for each Virtual Desktop, or the wallpaper can remain unchanged. When Vdesk exits, it saves the placement of Windows so that when it re-starts, window placement is maintained. . Vdesk maintains a small grid display, where each square of the grid represents a Virtual Desktop; just clicking in a square activates a Virtual Desktop. Vdesk implements a series of 'virtual' desktops, it does not try to extend the surface of the real desktop and make the current desktop a view of a much larger desktop, but rather it creates several independent virtual desktops, rather like the pages in a book - they will each show only the iconic-applications that they have running on their task bar, but they will all show the same short-cut icons used for starting programs, and they will all show the same start menu structure. This approach allows vdesk to take a much more passive role when interacting with the system, and places little or no extra load on your computer.
Dark grey squares indicate that there are no windows on that virtual desktop, light grey indicates that there are windows on the virtual desktop, The currently active virtual desktop is indicated in blue (dark blue if there are no windows on the virtual desktop). If you select the Horizontal display option, the main display is presented in one row as opposed to two.
Right clicking on one of the squares invokes the following popup menu.
From the menu, the preferences dialog can be displayed. The Show all windows command lets you display all windows in the system on the current desk-top. If you then switch to a different desk-top normal service will be automatically resumed - you can also go back to showing just the windows on the current desktop by using the menu command again.
When vdesk exits, all winows are re-displayed on the desktop.
If you re-start vdesk, the location of windows on virtual desktops
will be restored provided the Save windows locations on close
menu option is selected (it is selected by default).
The only preference that needs explanation if the Hung process detection
timeout - it is basically what it says, if a window does not respond after
waiting this long, it is assumed to be hung.
If a window is dead, i.e. not responding to the system, it cannot be
moved to different virtual desktops. When you switch to a different virtual
desktop, dead windows will leave a 'ghost' image of themselves, other than
that, dead windows do not cause a problem. If a dead window comes-back-to-life
it should end up
Startup Strategy and Invisible WindowsWhen Vdesk starts, it finds all the 'system' windows and does not manage them - system windows are mostly defined by being invisible. If you have some applications running, but minimized, it may be that some invisible windows belong to the minimized applications and actually need managing or the application will not behave correctly. This is certainly the case with Visual Basic's IDE and some other applications. NB if you have a particular application that stays visible on all virtual Desktops, this is probably the problem - to verify this, check the list of non-displaying windows. To overcome this problem, either (1) always start Vdesk before all other applications, or (2) do not start Vdesk with the problem application minimized or (3) enter the title of the problem Window in the registry key-value HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Octatec\vdesk\1.00\NonSystemWindows - this key-value is a semi-colon separated list of window titles, that, if found to be invisible at startup will not be added to the list of non-managed windows. (In fact, the full title of the window is not required, just a string that occurs in the window title is all that is needed - by default there is just one entry, "Visual Basic" in this key-value).
The following dialog is displayed when changing the wallpaper...
As you can see, you can select a single file, or chose to automatically
cycle through files in a directory or listed in another file. The wallpaper
selection can be different for each virtual desktop. Vdesk uses the WPchanger
automation object to actually change the wallpaper. When vdesk exits, the
original system wallpaper is restored. Of course, you don't have to change
the wallpaper at if you don't want.
If you double-click an item, you will see this dialog which allows you to assign windows to a virtual desktop.
This facility can be useful if Windows Explorer (The Windows Shell)
crashes while vdesk is on the desktop task-bar (and not visible).
If this happens all you realy need to do is start vdesk again, it
should detect the already running instance and force it visible,
you can then manually close it, or remove it and and re-add it to the task
bar. Alternatively you could kill the running vdesk, then
start vdesk again and assign any lost windows to a virtual desktop
using a the dialog above, (then quit vdesk straight away).
[id(1)] long Open(BOOL hildeUI);
[id(2)] long Close();
[id(3)] long SetActiveDesktop(long n);
[id(4)] long GetActiveDesktop();
[id(5)] long ShowAllWindows();
[id(6)] long ShowCurrentDesktopOnly();
[id(7)] long HideUI();
[id(8)] long ShowUI();
[id(9)] long EnableWallpaperChanger(BOOL mode);
[id(10)]long SetDeadWindowTimeout(long timeout);
[id(12)] result SetVdeskNotificationSink(BSTR sinkObjectName);
[id(1)] boolean SetWallpaper(BSTR pathName);
Vdesk uses the above interface to change the wallpaper. The wallpaper can be in either .BMP, .JPG, .GIF or .PNG files, if the Active Desktop is not running, the .JPG, .GIF and .PNG files will be first converted to a BMP file before being displayed - if the Active Desktop is running this is not necessary. The object can interface with the Traditional Desktop or the Active Desktop to display the wallpaper. Note: becuase of the variability of jpeg-format files, the Wallpaper changer may not be able to display all .JPG files - if you have difficulty, try running the Active Desktop; NOTE if you start the Active Desktop while the Wallpaper Changer is running, (i.e. while vdesk is running) it will NOT detect this and will not be able to interface to the Active Desktop, and so will not be able to change the wallapaer.
The object maintains 3 log files in the system temp directory, where it reports its progress, wp_init.txt, wp_file.txt and wp_cycle.txt.