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To Boldly Go Where no Desktop has Gone Before…

I thought I’d have a little fun and give my desktop a new look. This time I am going to go with a Star Trek Next Generation LCAR look. I have three monitors. One screen displays my project files and shortcuts, one is my work screen, and the other is my HDTV that I use for presentation and streaming media.

The primary and secondary monitors are on my desk, but the extended/media monitor is across the room. But this is the perspective I get from my desk.

There are a few things I want to do that Windows 7 (or Vista or XP) does not natively support. I want to have a different desktop background on each screen, and I want an independent task bar for each screen. For whatever reason, these options were not built into Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7. But as I understand it, Windows 8 will support both of these features. I also wanted an easy way to group and organize my desktop icons and files.

Ultramon to the Rescue!

In order to get a task bar across all my displays, I had to use a third-party program. I tried quite a few programs until I decided that Ultramon was the best choice for me. Ultramon runs beautifully in all current versions of Windows, and gives users the ability to have a task bar running across the bottom of all screens and gives users the  ability to have a different background on each screen. Ultramon costs $40, but I think it’s worth it.

There’s a full-featured 30 day trial version that you can download if you’d like to try Ultramon. There is a link at the bottom of this page. I feel should warn you though, once you experience the logic and pleasure of having a task bar across all your monitors, you’re probably not going to want to go back to Microsoft’s “One task bar to rule them all” approach. I like that Ultramon’s task bar looks, feels, and acts exactly like the Windows task bar, and whatever I have open on a monitor is linked to that monitor’s task bar.

I am also using  Ultramon to manage my desktop backgrounds. It’s as simple as selecting a monitor, and selecting a wallpaper for that monitor. Ultramon does a great job at sizing wallpapers when you have monitors of different sizes.

I downloaded a few Star Trek Next Generation LCAR panels (I always did like the computer consoles they used) and set up my desktops like this:

(It was about this time that my daughter rolled her eyes and started making that deflating tire sound. Aren’t kids great?)

Organizing my desktop icons and folders with Fences

In days of old, I would create a folder called “Projects”, and store all my current projects files in there. I would create folders for program shortcuts, drives, and personal files. And that’s how I kept my desktop clean and organized.

Then along comes Fences, a cute little program that takes desktop organization to a new level. I simply create a fence and drag it where I want it, and It will store any file I put in there nice and tidy. The fences are also customizable, so I can make them fit perfectly with my desktops. Another cool little feature of Fences is that I can make all the icons on my desktop disappear or reappear by double-clicking on the desktop. It’s a pretty cool way to keep your desktop clean and organized.

With the addition of Fences, my desktops now look like this.

Geek out!

 Links

Ultramon is available at RealTimeSoft.com

Fences is available at StarDock.com

Star Trek Next Generation LCAR desktop backgrounds: Hundreds of LCAR backgrounds can be found through Google Images

 

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