The ultimate Multiple-Desktop Switcher: Desktops vom Sysinternals

The new Desktops tool from Marc Russinovich’s excellent Sysinternals tool collection may be the best desktop switcher ever – and that with download of just 62kb.

It uses a completely different approach to switch desktops: “Unlike other virtual desktop utilities that implement their desktops by showing the windows that are active on a desktop and hiding the rest, Sysinternals Desktops uses a Windows desktop object for each desktop.

This results in an impressive seamless functionality with very little flickering and without any “lost windows” (which do occur with most other desktop switchers I have tried).

Russinovich explains: “Application windows are bound to a desktop object when they are created, so Windows maintains the connection between windows and desktops and knows which ones to show when you switch a desktop. That making Sysinternals Desktops very lightweight and free from bugs that the other approach is prone to where their view of active windows becomes inconsistent with the visible windows.

Because of this different technology two features of other tools are not available: 1. Moving an existing window onto another desktop; 2. Closing a desktop (simply log off to close all desktops)

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How to hibernate/shutdown/restart Windows XP via Remote Desktop

When controlling a computer with Windows XP via Remote Desktop I often had the problem that there only were “disconnect” and “Log off” links in the start menu. No way to restart, hibernate or shut down the computer…. Hm…

I have found tricks using psshutdown of the Sysinternals Tools or even VBScripts on the web (e.g. look at the top 10 of remote shutdown options), but there is one simple and elegant solution!

This trick does it well:

  • Click the Task Bar or the desktop
  • Press “ALT-F4” (which actually says you want to close Windows Explorer)
  • Choose “hibernate” or “restart” or “shutdown” from the popup

Vista: Quick Access to “Switch User” with an Icon in the Start Menu

For PCs that are used by several people Vista offers the “Switch User” option. But this is hidden somewhere in the “power off” options of the start menu.

Here is a trick how to have a “Switch User” icon in the start menu:

  • Use Windows Explorer to navigate to C:\Windows\System32\tsdiscon.exe
  • Right click the file and drag it to the desktop, choose “create shortcut”
  • Rename the shortcut to your liking (press F2)
  • Grab the shortcut and drag it ontop of the “start” icon

Voila, you have an icon in the start menu.

Online Tools to quickly create charts for webpages using the Google Chart API

Here
are a number of links to tools and API libraries and documentation that were posted in the group.

I personally liked tk Google Charter.

Google Picasa 3.0 (beta)

Google has a strong day today. Chrome was released today, now comes Picasa 3:

The Picasa 3.0 (beta) ReadMe tells about the new features in Picasa 3:

More editing tools
• New Retouching tool
• New Text tool
• New Smart Cropping tool
• Improved Photo Collage tool
New Movie Maker
• Create video slideshows with photos, videos, and music
• Direct upload of videos to Picasa Web Albums or YouTube
New Photo Viewer
• Picasa 3 includes a streamlined photo viewer for browsing photos via the Desktop or
Windows Explorer

Version 3 can be downloaded at: http://dl.google.com/picasa/picasa3-setup.exe

The beta runs find with my 80.000 photos and the new features are quite helpful.

Google Chrome – A Fresh New Approach to Surfing

Today Google has released the first beta version of their own new web browser “Google Chrome” (currently for Windows only). It seems to be a cross-over of Safari (is uses the Webkit rendering engine) and Firefox (some code is shared with Mozilla) plus a new-developed super-fast  Javascript engine.

My first tests with Chrome showed that it is already on an impressive level, I found only 2 pages that did not render correctly (compared to Firefox 2/3 and IE7).

For PRTG Network Monitor we make heavy use of context menus, something that works fine on FF and IE, but Apple Safari and Opera do not support it. Chrome passes this test perfectly. Also all Javascript functionalities (and we make heavy use of JS and AJAX in PRTG 7) works perfectly.

Judging with just a subjective eye (I did not do measurements) I would say that Chrome’s javascript functions are much faster than IE7’s and still at least as fast as <a href=https://hotware.wordpress.com/2008/08/24/firefox-to-get-massive-javascript-performance-boost/>Firefox 3.01 Beta</a> with the new JIT compiler enabled, actually it feels faster.

Google wants this browser to be the perfect engine for AJAX driven applications (it even includes Google”s Gears engine for offline apps). The result of my first look would is that Google has already gotten quite far on this trip!

DriverMax – Manages drivers (WinXP/Vista)

DriverMax Windows XP & Vista is a tool that allows you to download the latest driver updates for your computer. No more searching for rare drivers on discs or on the web or inserting one installation CD after the other. Just create a free account, log in, and start downloading the updates that you need.

You can also export all your current drivers (or just the ones that work ok) to a folder or a compressed file. After reinstalling Windows you will have everything in one place!