MS Virtual Desktop

MSVDM - thats Microsoft Virtual Desktop Manager is one kick ass Power Toy to install in XP. it is so KDE-ish. this is something i would like to see done in OS X. this is great, i have Dreamweaver in slot 1, Photoshop in slot 2 and now i dont have to minimize one to get to the other, its just a keystroke away.

i would suggest you turn off "Use Animations" this animates the 4 dekstops when you click the Preview button to see the 4 in a slit screen view. even on a ATI 9700 Pro this animation is kinda jumpy. if you turn it off the preview of all 4 show up with no slow delay because of the stupid animation.

turning off "Shared Desktops" also makes more sense than leaving that option on. with Shared Desktops off every desktop has its own seperate task bar buttons. if you leave it on and click on Photoshop for example, you will bring photoshop up on the current desktop, and it will no longer be maximized on the other virtual desktop.

with "Shared Desktops" turned off when you alt+tab through active programs, it will only show the apps in the virtual desktop you are in, not all 4 virtual desktops.

the default keyboard shortcuts to switch desktop, win+1,2,3,4 is great. i can tell i am really gonna use this MSVDM a lot now that i have it installed.

the only covet i have come accross so far is WebShots doesnt work with 4 desktop pictures, and the main Trillian also seems to show up on all 4 dekstops. oh well. i'll live.

Comments (7)

Hugh B:

MSVDM is largely great. Shame you can't move tasks from one desktop to another with Shared Desktops turned off.

But there is a SERIOUS bug with it when Shared Desktops are turned off that means I just can't use it any more...

Try opening a bunch of Internet Explorer windows on (e.g.) Desktop 1. Then go to Desktop 2 and open some more IE windows. Go back to Desktop 1 and - hey presto - the IE windows that were open before have vanished!!

Many people have reported this bug but no fix has been issued, STILL. MSVDM is definitely otherwise the most easy to use virtual desktop manager and most well integrated into the operating system, but because it "loses" windows as I describe, it's just no good for me.

How about Mozilla or Firefox. I doubt the shell MyIE2 would help your problem, but its worth a shot.

I only use IE/web browsers on one virtual desktop. So I do not see this as a problem.

chetan kumar:

Hi, I observed a bug with MSVDM that whenever a domain user logs off the desktop (all 4 virtual desktops) backgrounds are reverting back.

Please some one help on this, how can i have the desktop backgrounds retain.



I have observed a bug in MSVDM, but with excel. If you turn off shared desktops, and open an excel spreadsheet, it all works fine as usual. Then you go to another desktop, and return to the one with excel in it. The complete file menu has dissapeared in the excel window. You can't save-as, or do anything with freezing panes, solver, formatting cells, basically rips out half it's functionality. IS there going to be a patch for this? It really takes out all the functionality out of it, as it only works fine if you have the shared desktop.


I too have the IE bug. EXTREMELY frustrating, as I tend to have multiple windows open in multiple desktops for different purposes.

As for the excel bug, there is a work-around:

1) minimize excel

2) switch to a different VirtDT

3) switch back to the orig VirtDT with the excel window that has the problem

4) restore said excel window

Voila, your Excel window now has its menus back.


Overall, I found the MSVDM to be a nice tool to help save time with organizing my windows. However, the time necessary for bug work-arounds seems to outweigh the benfefits for me.

I personally didn't have any issues with IE since I mostly rely on Firefox. However, even firefox acted differently with MSVDM! The main annoyance for me was that my keyboard functionality in FF was limited. I could not pageup, pagedown, or use my arrow keys to scroll the window. As a person who uses a laptop primarily and depends mainly on the keyboard for navigation, I found this unacceptable.

Another problem I had was that some programs would stick (ie were in all desktops) when they were not supposed to. XMPlay is a prime example of this. Even HTMLkit had to have a minimized version of itself in all of the desktops.

In addition to all of these problems, the desktop images are stored in the temp folder, you can't move windows to another desktop unless in shared mode, and MS office products (such as excel) have issues.

It sound to me like MS should not have put this program in their list of Power Toys, but should have dumped it in a list of things labeled 'Good ideas not followed through with - (ie. utterly buggy)'.


I used MSVDM for a while, but then discovered a whole bunch of bugs connected to it and got frustrated. I think I've found a way to remove MSVDM completely:
1. Right-click on the "MSVDM" text on the toolbar.
2. Click "Configure desktop images"
3. Select "none" in desktop backgrounds
4. Click OK
5. Unlock the taskbar
6. Right-click on "MSVDM" and click "remove toolbar"
7. Right-click on desktop, click properties
8. Click desktop and select the desktop you want.

If you don't select "none" in the MSVDM background selector, the name "MSVDM background 0" or something like that will show up in the regular desktop background selector. Even if you remove the toolbar but don't select "none" for the background, if you use the shortcut keys, MSVDM will still work, switching your desktop background back to the one you selected with MSVDM.

Not sure if that made sense, but follow the instructions and it should work.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Warning: include(/home/meancode/public_html/breakingwindows/footer.php): failed to open stream: Permission denied in /home/breaking/public_html/2003/02/ms_virtual_desktop.php on line 379

Warning: include(): Failed opening '/home/meancode/public_html/breakingwindows/footer.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/lib/php:/usr/local/lib/php') in /home/breaking/public_html/2003/02/ms_virtual_desktop.php on line 379

Blogcritics Magazine

Social Networking

Mac Headlines

Read up-to-date headlines on everything Mac.

Content provided by prMac.

ESRB Search

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Enhanced with Snapshots