If you have an nVidia graphics card and are running Windows, you can easily set it up to have more than 1 desktop, similar to what the GNOME and KDE desktop managers do in Linux. This way you can easily manage many open windows by grouping them on different desktops. If you haven’t alredy done so, go to the nVidia website and download the drivers for your graphics card. You may need to restart your computer after performing this step.
- Go to Control Panel and look for the nView Desktop Manager icon. When you open it, you should see a window similar to the one at the start of this post.
- If the highlited button says Enable click it to enable the desktop manager functions. If it says Disable like in the above picture, it has already been enabled and you can proceed to the next step.
- Click the Desktops page at the top of the window, and select the Enable multiple desktops checkbox at the bottom. Then click the Add button to add a new desktop to the list. Just specify a name, and don’t worry about the other options. Add as many desktops as you like.
- Finally, from the Hot Keys page assign your favorite key combination for desktop switching. I have deleted the default hot keys and have added
Alt + 'for the desktop switching (next desktop) function.
You can also choose to have an icon in the system tray which you can use to change desktops. Using the pages at the top of the window, look at all the options available (most of them have a nice explanation of their function when you right-click them). Another useful function of the desktop manager is to keep a window on top of the others. Just go to User Interface and choose which options you want added to the system menus (right-click on the title-bar or the taskbar entry of a window). Leave only the ones you will use, so the others don’t get in your way.
As you might have noticed, I use the ‘Windows Classic style’ appearance in Windows XP. It looks cleaner and the title bars also use up less space. It also seems that my system runs a little faster, maybe just an impression because of the cleaner theme (however if you have an older computer it might benefit from this theme which uses less resources). To change it, just right-click on your Desktop and choose Properties, then go to Appearance and choose the style and color scheme. The only drawback of this style I have found is when I’m using a wider taskbar (so two rows of windows can fit in there). The ‘Windows XP’ style shows icons on three rows in the system tray and also shows the date under the clock and day of week. The ‘Windows Classic’ style only shows two rows of icons (which might make them a little wider) and doesn’t have space for the date. If I find a way to display only the date and the clock (so they fit on two rows) I might not have any reason to change the style again.