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Crisp your desktop with a window manager utility

Yaara Lancet | May 2, 2013
Whether you use one monitor or three, Windows XP or Windows 8, Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome, you're bound to have windows on your desktop. And you probably juggle several of them at once.

Mosaico's biggest weakness involves its imperfect state of Windows 8 compatibility. Though the program runs fine on Windows 8, I noticed some quirks, such as random display issues, and the program wouldn't let me set custom keyboard shortcuts. These issues don't occur on every Windows 8 system, however, and they should be fixed in the program's next update. As Mosaico offers a 14-day free trial, you can try the program out to see how it works on your system.

Chameleon Window Manager

Besides the ability to snap and tile windows, you may need more-advanced features in order to tame your desktop--such as windows that always open on a certain monitor or in a certain size, or easy access to transparency or always-on-top toggles, or program windows that snap automatically to one side of the screen whenever you open them.

Chameleon Window Manager offers these and other features, in one or more of three packages: a very limited free version; a $25 Standard version; and a $30 Pro version. Surprisingly, only the Pro version offers certain basic features such as drag-to-snap, while the Standard version, too, includes some more-advanced features.

Chameleon Window Manager gives you a multitude of options to apply to all of your windows, to specific programs, or even to specific windows within programs. Unfortunately, the interface is cluttered and confusing, so you could spend quite a while setting up everything. For each window, you can dedicate various title-bar buttons to performing actions such as basic snapping, monitor switching, and transparency toggling. Though the buttons are primitively designed, they work. You can save your configuration or create multiple ones and switch among them.

These features look great on paper, but in reality Chameleon Window Manager performed very inconsistently for me. My settings worked only some of the time, windows became transparent when they shouldn't have, and the title-bar buttons disappeared inexplicably. You could try the 30-day free trial and see how you fare, but competing programs in this roundup offer more-effective window management for the money.

WindowSpace

Instead of focusing on how a window behaves when it's opened, WindowSpace lets you control windows with dozens of customizable keyboard shortcuts. The operations involved range from regular window snapping and moving windows between monitors, to fine-tuning a window's position on the screen, resizing, rolling up, and toggling transparency.

Aside from letting you use keyboard shortcuts, WindowSpace can enhance each window's title bar with additional context menu items and mouse actions that you can use to specify which menu items you want to add, and even how you want them to appear in the context menu. You can also set title-bar buttons such as Close, Minimize, and Maximize to perform new actions when right-clicked or middle-clicked.

 

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