Optimizing the Windows XP Desktop

Discussion in 'Windows XP Customization' started by archaem, Feb 3, 2021.

  1. archaem


    Feb 3, 2021
    Likes Received:

    I am relatively new to this forum and noticed that the topic of "virtual desktops" on Windows XP has not been discussed, apparently, for many years as identified by this post here:

    There is also a thread sharing some neat applications for XP, however this thread does not discuss virtual desktops either:

    As a result of the above points, I thought it worthwhile to share some tweaks that may benefit others who might be new to using Windows XP. I suspect those familiar with XP will be aware of these tweaks, but who knows, perhaps there will be something new here!

    Virtual Desktops
    Did you know that you can add "virtual desktops" to Windows XP? Virtual desktops have been a common Linux feature available in numerous Linux distributions, and it seems to have become a standard feature for many years. However, such a feature is not available in Windows XP as a standard feature. Fortunately, there are free software tweaks availble to download that will add virtual desktops to your Windows XP.

    Possibly the best way to access the virtual desktop feature is to download the "Power Toys" collection for Windows XP. Here is a link for the "Power Toys" from the Major Geeks website:

    I've attached a screenshot image demonstrating how the virtual desktops appear within Windows XP using the virutal desktop tool from the "Power Toys" collection. In other words, the attached screenshot from the virtual desktop program is available within the "Power Toys" package.

    Power Toys and "TweakUI"
    The "Power Toys" are a valuable addition to Windows XP considering this package also comes with a simple program to customize some of the Registry settings. The small software package includes a tool for quickly resizing images, creating thumbnails of images, and also a neat registry tweaking tool.

    Here is a description of the "Power Toys" registry tweaking tool, "TweakUI":
    "This PowerToy gives you access to system settings that are not exposed in the Windows XP default user interface; This includes mouse settings, Explorer settings, taskbar settings, and more."

    "TweakUI" is available from the "Power Toys" collection, and I've shared a link to the "Power Toys" from the majorgeeks.com website as one option. There are many other websites that still have the official "Power Toys" available to download.

    GridMove: using "hotkeys" or "shortcuts" to automatically size windows within a grid-like setting
    If you've used Windows 7 or Windows 10, you might be aware of the window grid shortcut. If I recall correctly, by enterting the [Windows key] + [left/right arrow key], windows can be automatically postitioned to the right or left of the screen. Fortunately, a developer has created a simple program that enables a similar feature within Windows XP.

    The program is called "GridMove" and here is a short description from the developer's website:
    "GridMove makes moving windows, resizing windows, displaying them on cascade or on mosaic, making them on top or anything you can think of as easy as drag and drop."

    The website for GridMove is here:

    I've attached a screenshot of "GridMove" to this thread, along with the screenshot of the "virtual desktop" program available within the "Power Toys" program collection.

    "SoftSea" for Windows XP tweaking programs
    While the Major Geeks website has a large variety of Windows XP applications available, along with some of the "retro" software websites, there is another website worth mentioning. This website is "SoftSea" and within this website is a large quantity of Windows XP applications -- many of which are free, some of which are shareware, and others which require payment -- that enhance the Windows XP user experience.

    For instance, here is a collection of virtual desktop programs for Windows XP available from the "SoftSea" website:

    As you can see, there a number of programs that provide the virtual desktop setting to Windows XP, not just the option from the "Power Toys". I mentioned the "Power Toys" option, however, because I've personally used it and thought it worthwhile to mention specficially.

    Screen Snipping: Cutout specific sections of the screen when taking a screenshot
    Again, the "SoftSea" website has a small, simple, and free program available which will enable the Windows XP user to take a "snip" or "cutout" a specific section of their screen when taking a screenshot. Here is the link:

    And here is a description:
    "XP Snipping Tool brings the basic functionality of Windows 7 Snipping Tool to Windows XP. Crop, resize, copy to clipboard are some of its screen shot features."

    Store and access mutliple items within the clipboard
    Another neat collection of Windows XP programs from the "SoftSea" website, are the clipboard programs. As you'll notice from the link below, many of these clipboards provide the user the option to store and access multiple items within the clipboard -- including images!

    Here is the link to the "SoftSea" collection of clipboard programs:

    IrfanView Image Editor and Screen Snipping
    Additionally, the "IrfanView" image editing application has an extension which will permit screen snipping. Here are some images demonstrating the capability of the IrfanView image editor as a screenshot/screen snipping tool:

    Please note that I do not have any affiliation with the websites or programs above. I just thought it worthwhile to share the above customization options in this forum for new and old users of Windws XP so that they can enhance their user experience and improve their productivity with their operating system, proving that Windows XP is *still* a capable operating system.


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    archaem, Feb 3, 2021
    Gregoryno6, Janice and canonstips like this.
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