Best Free Virtual Desktop Manager

 
Introduction

These are the best free virtual desktop managers you can get from this review. Check them out and see which one is elected to be the top pick that can be equivalent or even better than other commercial virtual desktop managers.

 
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Go to details...  Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide

 
Discussion

Dexpot allows even more configuration for each of its 20 possible desktops. It has a well organized interface that enables easy switching among desktops and quick movement of windows. The online documentation is slightly incomplete and the most active section of the online forum is in German. However, this should not prove to be much of a hindrance, owing to the ease of use of the application. Unfortunately, Dexpot's installer is bundled with OpenCandy, an advertising program which recommends other software when you install Dexpot. (See Gizmo's Freeware Policy on OpenCandy.)

 

VirtuaWin is a competent but basic product that depends on third-party modules for extra features but unfortunately, there aren't many around.

 

Next is Virtual Dimension. With a more minimalist and "straight to the point" approach, I found it to be fast and easy to install, configure and use.  Documentation seems to be lacking a bit, but once again, like Dexpot, it should not be much of a problem to begin using this little VDM.

 

Finally there is Microsoft Virtual Desktop Manager (MSVDM). I had a fairly pleasant experience with MSVDM. Although lacking in some of the features found in most of the other applications, it makes up by its small size and simplicity. If you've looking for just the basics in a VDM, MSVDM is a good choice.

The four Virtual Desktop Managers I reviewed are all very capable products but I have to recommend Dexpot due to its attractive interface, ease of use, various language versions and list of features.

 
Related Products and Links

You might want to check out these articles too:

 
Quick Selection Guide

Dexpot
4
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Attractive interface, ease of use, various language versions and features list.
Online documentation is slightly incomplete. The installer is bundled with adware OpenCandy.
1.6.9 build 2266
2.66 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Free for private use only
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows XP to 8

Dexpot is now bundled with OpenCandy, see above link in Discussion section for more information.
Dexpot 1.4 is also available for Windows 95/98/ME/NT4
Version history available here.

VirtuaWin
3.5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
VirtuaWin is a competent and basic product that depends on third-party modules for extra features.
Unfortunately, there aren't many third party modules around.
http://virtuawin.sourceforge.net/
4.4
426 KB
Open source freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows 9x to 7

View the changelog here

Virtual Dimension
3.5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Fast and easy to install, configure and use.
Documentation seems to be lacking a bit.
0..94
399.8 KB
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 95 to XP

v0.94 beta available 09 July, 2005
v0.95 alpha available 20 May, 2013

Microsoft Virtual Desktop Manager
3
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Small size and simplicity.
Lacking in some of the features found in most other applications.
1.0
550 KB
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows XP

 
Editor

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Tags

virtual desktop, free virtual desktop, virtual desktop program, freeware

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Comments

by Anonymous on 16. May 2008 - 16:48  (616)

Take a look at DM2.
http://dm2.sourceforge.net/

Only 152 KB in size.

by edward on 17. May 2008 - 20:40  (708)

Thanks, I sure will!

Edward A. Weissbard
Best Free Virtual Desktop Manager Editor

by Anonymous on 23. May 2008 - 23:45  (1035)
by edward on 26. May 2008 - 3:35  (1155)

Thanks for the suggestion, but it looks like they only offer an evaluation for download, then purchase would be necessary. I would really like to focus on "Free" based software. Thank you for the information, it does look nice visually.

Edward A. Weissbard
Best Free Virtual Desktop Manager & Best Free Instant Messaging Client Editor/Moderator

 

by Anonymous on 26. May 2008 - 4:23  (1163)

The best of all Dexpot, I agree with Edward, I have been using it two years, and tried to find an alternative, but none worked as fast and stable as Dexpot. Great choice. Although freeware for personal use, I bought a license because I think it is a great software.

by edward on 26. May 2008 - 19:42  (1199)

It's good to see that others have found the same benefits of using Dexpot, it is a good one!

Edward A. Weissbard
Best Free Virtual Desktop Manager & Best Free Instant Messaging Client Editor/Moderator

 

by Bob on 28. May 2008 - 1:35  (1256)

The last freeware version of Yod'm (now Deskspace) is available here: http://www.321download.com/LastFreeware/page34.html
And there's a brief Wikipedia article here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yod'm_3D

I tried Yod'm out some time back. I enjoyed the cube effect and the ability to keep four different wallpapers on hold to fit mood or situation (you can also insert a backdrop of your choice). But for me at least, it just wasn't KISS: when I changed desktop I kept forgetting that I'd opened things elsewhere :>\

by edward on 28. May 2008 - 3:54  (1260)

Bob,

Thanks for the information, I will surely check it out.

Edward A. Weissbard
Best Free Virtual Desktop Manager & Best Free Instant Messaging Client Editor/Moderator

 

by Anonymous on 31. May 2008 - 19:44  (1442)

Dexpot works pretty well. Another option for those who would like a lot of these types of utilities lumped into one package is PowerPro. It includes a desktop manager, sticky notes, and an abundance of other options.

by Anonymous on 4. June 2008 - 22:56  (1592)

From version 2.0, VirtuaWin is distributed under the GNU General Public License

by edward on 7. June 2008 - 0:06  (1690)

Thanks for the update.

Edward A. Weissbard
Best Free Virtual Desktop Manager & Best Free Instant Messaging Client Editor/Moderator

 

by Anonymous on 21. June 2008 - 0:16  (2755)

I loved Virtual Desktop Toolbox v2.80, particularly for its richness in terms of features plus desktops multi user logons. Unfortunately, the website R2D2-Software.com is no longer available.

by edward on 23. June 2008 - 1:48  (2929)

I agree, Virtual Desktop Toolbox was one of the best VDM's, but looks like they are longer active. It's unfortunate.

Thanks,

Edward A. Weissbard
Best Free Virtual Desktop Manager, Best Free Instant Messaging & Best Free Browser Protection Utility Editor/Moderator

 

by Anonymous on 26. June 2008 - 17:25  (3154)

I have been using Dexpot for a week now and like it except for the fact it takes about 2.5 seconds to switch between desktops. Anyone else see it being this slow? I have four desktops going, with a background screen for each. Does that bog it down? Win XP, Pentium 4, 3 GHz, 1 GB memory...

by edward on 28. June 2008 - 18:35  (3261)

I haven't noticed any delay but about 1 second delay between switching. Have you checked how much memory is being used from other programs in the background?

Edward A. Weissbard
Best Free Virtual Desktop Manager, Best Free Instant Messaging & Best Free Browser Protection Utility Editor/Moderator

 

by Anonymous on 9. July 2008 - 19:06  (3918)

I am back to using Dexpot now. But I have to make all four desktops have the same desktop picture (none of which were very big to begin with). Apparently having different background pictures is what caused the 2.5 second delay. When they're all the same, it switches instantaneously. I'm not sure if it's related to speed of a video card or not, but I would think all video cards these days should be able to handle something like this. Anyhow, I'm pleased with the program now that I found this work-around.

by edward on 9. July 2008 - 21:37  (3922)

That is interesting, I never actually used different backgrounds, so this is probably why I never experienced the delay. Thanks for letting me know about it.

Thanks,

Edward A. Weissbard
Best Free Virtual Desktop Manager, Best Free Instant Messaging Client & Best Free Browser Protection Utility Editor/Moderator

 

by Anonymous on 2. September 2008 - 11:23  (7200)

Dexpot was updated to version 1.4.1

Fully Vista support including 64 Bit. There is a portable version. Also more languages includet.

by Anonymous on 2. September 2008 - 14:57  (7211)

I've heard quite a bit about goScreen (http://www.goscreen.info/), could you take a look at it?

by Anonymous on 2. September 2008 - 21:11  (7236)

There is an update on 1.4.1 available at http://www.dexpot.de

by Anonymous on 3. September 2008 - 10:59  (7281)

I've tested some of the mentioned, but I like this one the best:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/cc817881.aspx
from the former 'sysinternals' as each desktop runs in it's own process 'explorer.exe'. No install required.

by edward on 3. September 2008 - 16:12  (7293)

Very Nice! Haven't tried this one yet, but looks good!

Thanks,

Edward A. Weissbard
Best Free Instant Messaging Client Moderator/Editor

 

by edward on 3. September 2008 - 16:13  (7294)

Thanks for the update!

Edward A. Weissbard
Best Free Instant Messaging Client Moderator/Editor

 

by edward on 3. September 2008 - 16:19  (7295)

Thanks for the lead, but it looks like this application is only shareware. I would like to only focus on freeware products at this time, especially for Virtual Desktop Managers.

Thank You,

Edward A. Weissbard
Best Free Instant Messaging Client & Best Free Virtual Desktop Moderator/Editor

 

by edward on 3. September 2008 - 16:19  (7296)

Thank for the update!

Edward A. Weissbard
Best Free Instant Messaging Client & Best Free Virtual Desktop Moderator/Editor

 

by Anonymous on 8. September 2008 - 5:26  (7498)

Hi Bob,

Would really like to know your opinion on Yodm3D. I've been a Dexpot user for quite some time now but that cube effect on Yodm3D is really really tempting.

Keep up the good work!

by edward on 9. September 2008 - 16:56  (7557)

Yodm3D is nice visually but unfortunately it looks as if it's only an evaluation, then would have to be purchased.

Edward A. Weissbard
Best Free Instant Messaging Client & Best Free Virtual Desktop Moderator/Editor

 

by Anonymous on 13. September 2008 - 18:56  (7697)

Could I get your opinion on PowerPro? It looks really good, if you're willing to go through all the options.

http://powerpro.webeddie.com/

Typhoeus

by edward on 15. September 2008 - 2:18  (7735)

Typhoeus,

Indeed an interesting program. This program is a little hard to categorize due to the many things it can do. I would really classify this as a Power User tool relating to the explorer GUI shell in windows. I don't know If I would feel comfortable yet in placing it here in the Virtual Desktop category, though it also could, because of the Virtual Desktop option. Very useful application overall!

Edward A. Weissbard
Best Free Instant Messaging Client & Best Free Virtual Desktop Moderator/Editor

 

by Anonymous on 9. October 2008 - 6:18  (8957)

Hello everybody,

Found this one just yesterday called "360 desktop". Haven't tried it myself yet. It should be panoramic/carousel kind of thing and might be convinient, although you probebly better be sober using it.
http://www.360desktop.com/
http://www.zdnet.be/downloads.cfm?id=88397

Greetings...

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