Windows is a remarkably robust piece of software. It sets the standard for desktop environments and what you can do on a computer. When people think of a computer, most people think of a PC running Windows. It’s that ubiquitous.
However, Windows isn’t perfect. Mac OS X and Linux users have long held that their respective operating systems are better for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons is that both OSes have desktop management software for enhanced productivity, and Windows doesn’t. OS X and Linux come with virtual desktops and a window manager baked into the OS (or Compiz.)
Thankfully, Windows users aren’t left out in the cold entirely. What Microsoft won’t do, Dexpot GbR will. The company is staffed by two German programmers and retro game enthusiasts named Sebastian Brands and Patrick Dubbert. In 2003, they created Dexpot, the most advanced piece of window-management software on Windows.
Ten years later, they still support the product. The results are nothing short of excellent. Here’s why you should immediately download Dexpot.
Concept: Virtual Desktop Manager
Dexpot adds features that Windows should have. It’s jam-packed with helpful tools and options for customization.
Brands said he and Dubbert built Dexpot out of necessity. “We were looking for a virtual desktop manager, but all we found on the internet was shareware, not very good, or both,” Brands said. “We thought we could do it better, and for free.”
Ten years’ worth of effort really shows. Dexpot is polished and nearly bug-free. It’s also free of cost and advertisements with no missing features. Freeware doesn’t get much better than this.
The feature list
The part of Dexpot we got the most mileage from was the virtual desktops. Dexpot creates a set of “desktops” which contain sets of windows which (usually) do not show up on other desktops.
The user can switch between them with handy keyboard shortcuts or by interacting with the Dexpot icon in the bottom right of the Start bar.
Virtual desktops are useful for handling multiple projects simultaneously. We like to keep our programs for free time, school, work and modding on different desktops.
It’s hard to overestimate how helpful virtual desktops are. Once we got used to them, we use them all the time, for everything.
Dexpot also comes with an interesting feature called “full-screen preview.” When triggered, it cascades all open windows on that desktop into smaller icons for the user to switch between. Think Exposé on OS X.
When you’re in full-screen preview, you can also drag windows to other virtual desktops. These two additions together make window management much, much easier.
There’s some extra icing as well. You can set nifty 3D effects for switching between desktops. It looks cool.
Dexpot impresses most with its capacity for customization. If you dig into the settings, you can change anything and everything. Every hotkey, every setting and every effect can be adjusted for perfect productivity.
You can change the number of virtual desktops, the effects when changing between them, keyboard shortcuts, mouse shortcuts and per-monitor desktop switching.
Finally, the program comes with support for backing up settings and an impressive grab bag of languages.
Dexpot is impressive, considering the technical work. “Using the Windows API to maintain the illusion of having more than just one desktop is a challenge,” Brands admits.
As far as Windows programs go, this is the goal to which everyone should aim. Everything is free: Free of bugs, free of cost and free of ads. These qualities have earned the program “overwhelmingly positive” reviews from Windows users.
In the future, Brands would like to “enhance DexControl and further advance the integration of Dexpot into Windows.”
As for Windows 8, Brands isn’t worried. “As long as there is a classic desktop, Dexpot will fit in just fine.”