Virtual Desktop Manager (VDM)

by Jeremy Stanley

v0.41 - 23 January 2002


To use Virtual desktop manager (VDM):

To switch desktops:

To move the active window to another desktop:

To exit VDM:

Command-line options:

-d nSet number of virtual desktops (1 <= n <= 9, the default is 4)
-hInitially hide tray icons
-aUse alternate window hiding method
The alternate window hiding method seems to be more compatible with some programs (such as Excel), but it requires you to watch windows being restored to their maximized or minimized state when you switch to a new desktop (unless you turn off window animation with TweakUI).
(You can run vdm -? for a list of these.)

Uninstalling VDM

Simply delete it. VDM doesn't modify the registry or hide any files in your Windows or System directories.


VDM should run under any 32-bit flavor of Windows. It has been tested with Windows 98, NT4, 2000, and XP.


VDM may be freely distributed provided it is unmodified and the documentation file (vdm.html) is included.


While I believe VDM to be stable (I use it myself), I can't guarantee that it won't crash and leave windows on other virtual desktops inaccessible. I assume no responsibility for lost work if this occurs. Use this program at your own risk.

Technical Information:

VDM is written in C++ and is a Win32 API application (non-MFC). It uses a simple algorithm: when switching to a new desktop, handles to all the windows on the current desktop are saved to a list and hidden. Next, the windows on the destination desktop are shown. VDM does not need to track the creation and destruction of windows--the "current" desktop's list isn't created until you switch away from it.

To hide windows, VDM calls the Win32 API function ShowWindow with the SW_HIDE parameter (primary method) or uses SetParent to set the window's parent to a hidden window owned by VDM (alternate method, selected with the -a command-line parameter). Some programs seem to agree more with one method than with the other--try both, and see what works best for you.