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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    I'm among the fans of the pan-and-scan virtual desktop which you can achieve in Windows XP with ATI video cards. A pan and scan virtual desktop is one where your desktop extends beyond the boundaries of your monitor -- move your cursor to the edge of the screen and the screen moves to reveal additional screen real estate. This enables you to open windows full size and just move your cursor to the edge of the screen to reveal additional screen real estate and rarely have to use scroll bars -- a great productivity enhancer!

    A utility called More Windows gave you that ability in Windows 98. And ATI's Catalyst Control Center made it possible in Windows XP (the process is described at http://www.planningcommunications.com/computers.htm -- see the links on the left side of the page).

    But somehow Windows 7 (and Vista) disables this ability (which is why I never switched to Vista). I'd really like to upgrade our computers to Windows 7, but we're all spoiled with this productivity enhancing pan-and-scan virtual desktop. Windows 7 just won't let you set one resolution for the desktop and another resolution under Monitor Properties in the Catalyst Control Center -- which is how you produce it.

    So I'm hoping that one of the creative minds here might have some ideas of how to get around this "disablement" (heck, I thought I'd coin a new word) in Windows 7. I've gotten no help from ATI or any Windows forum. ATI has long acknowledged the ability to set up the pan and scan virtual desktop, but has refused to officially support it.

    I suspect there must be something you can change in the registry or some setting to change that would re-enable the ability to set up the pan-and-scan virtual desktop.

    I have tried GiMeSpace Virtual Desktop Shareware on Windows 7 Release Candidate and it is simply an incredibly clunky, awful attempt.

    This is not the same as the term "virtual desktop" which gives you multiple desktops. So while I'm sure some well meaning folk may confuse the two, please don't. There is no similarity at all between a "virtual desktop" (producing multiple desktops) and the pan-and-scan virtual desktop (which extends the desktop real estate beyond the borders of your monitor).

    So any creative ideas out there? Thanks for any you can offer.

  2. #2
    5 Star Lounger
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    I use AltDesk for multiple desktops since I ran XP (currently running on Windows 7). It does cost a bit ($15) but I have received free updates for a number of years now. I also recently heard about Dexpot, another free multi-desktop utility; I tried it and like it fairly well, especially the 3-D rotating cube when switching desktops. I find it amazing that Windows does not ship with this capability (Linux has supported multiple desktops for years).

  3. #3
    New Lounger
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    Peter,

    Thanks so much for your suggestion. Unfortunately the "virtual desktop" of which you write is not the same as the "pan-and-scan virtual desktop" for which I'm seeking assistance.

    The "virtual desktop" (producing multiple desktops) and the pan-and-scan virtual desktop (which extends the desktop real estate beyond the borders of your monitor) are two very different animals. The pan-and-scan came first in the early 1990s as an add-on to Ventura Publisher, a desktop publishing program and then was available under Windows 98 via a utility called "More Windows."

    Thanks again for your kind suggestion.

  4. #4
    3 Star Lounger jockmullin's Avatar
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    Hi Daniel

    I've never seen the feature you describe, but it sounds a bit like the way Win 7's magnifier works in full screen magnify mode.

    So I wonder if you would be able to get something like what you are looking for by setting your monitor resolution to the highest possible number of pixels across and deep (which would make everything on the normal screen very tiny), and then kick in the magnifier by hitting Windows Key and +-sign until you get a desirable level of magnification.

    Then your physical screen is indeed the sort of window on a larger virtual screen much like you describe, and it scrolls across or up/down to follow the mouse cursor and keep it on-screen.

    You use windows-key and - sign to reduce it again or windows-ESC to terminate the magnifier.

    This feature is I believe only available when using an aero theme. I use it all the time and find it quite useful.

    Jock

  5. #5
    5 Star Lounger
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    Yes, I know they are different, I was merely suggesting an alternative.

    I recall another pan-and-scan utility that provided a circular desktop - if you scanned far enough you ended up back where you were. I don't recall it's name and I could never get used to it.

  6. #6
    5 Star Lounger
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    Found it: http://www.360desktop.com/
    Says it supports XP and Vista (32 and 64 bit). No word about 7, but probably worth a try.

  7. #7
    New Lounger
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    Peter and Jock,

    Thank you both Peter and Jock. I'll try both ideas and report back on the results.

    Peter,

    The Windows360 freeware does work in Windows 7 according to the website. And thanks for all the ideas. I guess I was kind of abrupt about the virtual desktop (multiple desktops) because it's been confused so many times with the pan and scan virtual desktop over the years. The Windows360 sounds like it does half the job, but that could be better than nothing. Who knows?

  8. #8
    New Lounger
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    Jock,

    One big questions regarding your promising approach. I'm afraid I'm still using a 20+ year old Northgate keyboard (those things were built like a tank) and it predates the creation of the "windows" key. By any wild chance do you know what key combination might substitute for the "windows" key since none of our Northgate keyboards has a "windows" key?

    Thanks very much.

  9. #9
    3 Star Lounger jockmullin's Avatar
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    Hi Daniel

    Know what you mean - I am still running a PS/2 keyboard (the old selectric layout) on a Win 98 print server box - love that clickety-clack touch. So much better than the current mushy stuff, but that keyboard cost more than an entire system does now. I also have a Northgate but the keys stick if the humidity is high so don`t use it anymore.

    In any case, the windows key is more or less equivalent to CTRL-ESC. Unfortunately it is not totally the same, and CTRL-ESC-+ does not invoke the magnifier, and obviously CTRL-ESC-ESC to exit will not work either. You could invoke the magnifieér via accessories and create a shortcut for easy use, but then you could not exit it or easily zoom in or out so it would be fairly useless, I`m afraid.

    Jock

  10. #10
    New Lounger
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    I haven't tested it yet, but I think what you want is GiMeSpace.

    http://sites.google.com/site/gimespace/home

    There's a free version, that allegedly provides infinite horizontal scrolling, and a (inexpensive) paid version that adds vertical scrolling to the mix.

    I'm about to try the latter. Wish me luck.
    -- tim

  11. #11
    New Lounger
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    Tim,

    Thanks for the suggestion. I have tried Gimespace and found it to be horrible. It was not smooth at all -- very jerky motion (my video card is an ATI Radeon 5700 with plenty of RAM; CPU AMD Phenom II X6 1055; 4 GB RAM). And it did not allow you to do one key thing the pan-and-scan virtual desktop does, namely, set your monitor at the lower resolution so that icons and labels are larger, while setting your desktop at the higher resolution giving you the much larger desktop.

    Now I tried Gimespace months ago and it is possible that newer versions run more smoothly. It has added a few features. So I guess I can install Windows 7 on a another drive and give it a whirl. But I honestly do not have high hopes.

    I have written to ATI tech support and they say they're researching the issue. I'll believe it when I see a solution or they admit nothing can be done.

    I strongly suspect there must be some setting in the Windows Registry that you can adjust to get the pan and scan virtual desktop. The last time I uninstalled my ATI Catalyst Control Center and drivers to install a new version, the pan and scan virtual desktop remained in place when I uninstalled the old CCC and rebooted. So the pan and scan was there even without an ATI video driver present. I would think that is the result of some setting in the registry, but I readily admit I do not have a clue what it could be.


    Should I ever learn of a solution, I will pass it on here. I very much appreciate everybody's efforts and suggestions.

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