As a developer or even a normal user, has this ever happened to you? A couple of browser windows are open (Thankfully Firefox solved this one for me), your development environment open, database management system open, windows explorer open, notepad open and God knows whatever other apps that are sprawled all over the desktop. You need to switch between them pretty quickly, and yet trusty old ‘Alt-Tab’ just takes up more time because you now have to choose from tons of open windows, and the decision time needed is almost equal the time needed to look it up in the taskbar and just click it.
Well, I found a semi-solution for this. I was originally going to try the Virtual Desktop Manager from the Windows PowerToys for Windows XP, but turns out it only works for XP, and not 2000, so I looked around for similar things, and found an application called Virtual Dimension. The semi refers to the fact that you’d still need to manage which desktop/dimension apps are going to be put in, and use ‘Alt-Tab’ once in awhile, but it does clean up the clutter on the desktop quite a bit. The concept is to have a number of desktops that you can switch between by using an assignable key. You can put different groups of applications on different desktops, hence the ability to work on development on one desktop, graphics design on another, and possibly do file managment on another desktop.
I’ve used this for a couple of days now, and feel that it has been really helpful in organising my work area on the screen. Now I usually have my development environment (Visual Studio.NET, Enterprise Manager, Internet Services Manager, Computer Management) open in one desktop, while having Firefox, Outlook and any other apps in this desktop. It allows me to easily access my development tools, and when I need to check email and perform other tasks, to switch working environments at a punch of a key.
Highly recommended for people like me who tend to have an innate number of applications open at one time.