windows 7 wednesday tip – desktops.exe

mark russinovich and bryce cogswell published desktops v1.0 just over a year ago.  i recently tested it on a non production windows 7 computer (my trusty netbook) and it worked well with a couple interesting exceptions:

1) the virtual desktops didn’t have the full aero effects (thumbnails were previewed using the windows basic scheme – although aero snap seemed to work ok)

2) alt + tab didn’t seem to be working

3) up to 3 virtual desktops are available

4) the program runs in the notification area but doesn’t have an “exit” function

other than these issues the program allowed me to organize various programs on separate virtual desktops and switch between them using configurable hotkeys.


right clicking on the desktops icon and clicking options allow some basic functions to be configured


hopefully a version that supports windows 7 will be released, but if you can’t wait and want to experiment it runs on windows 7 and is a single exe so it’s easy to remove (delete desktops.exe – that’s it!)

Comments (1)
  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m wondering if you read the documentation? The aero not being there is unfortunately by design since this is a full desktop (using windowStations and not like some other "virtual desktop" managers that simply use Window hiding functions. Unfortunately the design of Windows only allows Aero on one desktop. So the lack of Aero is the same on Vista and Windows 7. Also the "no exit" is by design. Since Windows doesn’t provide any functions to move windows between windowStations the program can’t let you exit since that would likely orphan some applications/windows that you would no longer be able to access.

    I’m not sure about the alt-tab, I would have thought that would work – but it has been about 6 months since I looked over the docs.

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