I’m a multi-window kinda guy, in GNOME you can have it raise the window when cycling throught them alt-tab style, Windows XP doesn’t do this, so when you’ve loads of windows from the same app open (say IE windows for OWA), it can be a pain finding the right window. Apple’s Mac OS X has a neat feature called expose which shows you all your windows at a glance at the press of a button, allowing you to select the one you want.
There are several expose style addons for windows available, Entbloess, WinPLOSION and WindowsExposer to name a few. At first glance Entbloess seemed to fit my needs, so I grabbed a copy to try & quickly bought a copy (a whole $9.99 I think, which is a price all simple software should be!).
It seems to work quite well, but it has some quirks that are getting annoying:
- If you minimise all your windows using the Quick Launch bar’s “Show Desktop”, it has to restore all windows before doing it’s thing, which if you have a dozen plus windows open can take time!
- It seems to just popup, completely unprompted every now & then!
I’ve since discovered that the random startups were due to the “Mouse Hotspots” activation method still being enabled, so that one was my fault. The restoring of minimised windows is also controllable, but only to the point where you can tell it to either show the caption bar or minimised them after they have been restored. Hmm, me thinks Apple’s OS X still has the edge on this..
Along the way I found a couple of Microsoft PowerToys that might also come some way to making life easier to find the right window, Alt-Tab Replacement, handily called TaskswitchPowertoysetup.exe, and Virtual Desktop Manager, also with another annoying name missmatch, DeskmanPowerToySetup.exe.
Taskswitch is pretty slick, given that it’s almost instant, but seems to suffer from the same kind of problem, if the window is minimised, that all you get to see is the window as it shows in the task bar, tres annoying!
Virtual Desktop Manager is strange, by default it will show all windows in the taskbar, which makes everything very cluttered, which is one of the points of these tools, to try and keep things tidy for us power users!
Update (Moday 14th February 2006): I got sick of the delays in showing all the windows in Entbloess, so I coughed up for WinPLOSION, and I’m much happier with its, configurable hot keys, I can disable the hot areas on the screen, the swicth to viewing all windows is fast and flowing.