In a recent post, I talked about the various applications I use while conducting online training. Over the years I’ve dabbled with virtual desktop software but never got very comfortable with the idea and thus it never “stuck”. Back in June I decided, once again, to look for virtual desktop software and one of my first searches lead me to this description which looked very promising:
VirtuaWin is a small, fast and easy to use virtual desktop manager for Windows9x/ME/NT/2000/XP with no unnecessary features.
Bingo! Exactly the kind of thing I was looking for and VirtuaWin has lived up to this description. While the above description doesn’t explicitly mention Vista I’ve had no problems (I wish I could say the same about Vista). I’ve been running it now for a month and a half and it’s worked pretty darn well. The current release is 4.0.1 from April of this year so it’s an Open Source project that’s very much alive and well. On of the best features is worked “out-of-the-box” and I’ve tweaked only a few settings so the overall experience as been very good.
At first, it took some time to get used to organizing multiple desktops but once acclimated having the extra space has been very nice. I use four desktops arranged horizontally with the first being my primary, one to the left for browsers, one to the right for email and fourth desktop for things like LaunchCAST for streaming music. My MacBook Pro runs at 1920×1200 and I use a second 20″ monitor running at 1600×1200 brining my virtual desktop size to a whopping 14,000×1200, although when connected to a second monitor I usually don’t use the virtual desktops much.
On thing I’ve discovered is that virtual desktops also work quite well for online training making it easy to switch between PowerPoint presentation and the application I’m training on. I guess you could call it an online version of a KVM switch!